God is God. That is it. That is enough. I did a fascinating study of Hebrews 11 a few years back. You know the passage—the famous “faith chapter.” It’s an encouraging chapter, isn’t it? One sound byte after another of people who conquered and overcame through faith.
Then, the writer turns a corner. See if you can spot it:
“By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.
“But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground” (Hebrews 11:33-38).
Here’s my take-away from this passage: We cannot be certain that God will answer any particular prayer the way we have asked it, except for the prayer for the forgiveness of sins. Sometimes God says yes. Sometimes God says no. And sometimes God says “Wait.” Sometimes we pray that God takes this thorn in the flesh from us, and God responds only with “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:6). Jesus prayed, “let this cup of suffering be taken away from me” (Matthew 26:39). God didn’t take it away. Faith is not being certain that God will positively answer any particular prayer—only that his answer will be what’s best.
God is God. That is it. That is enough. We can’t be sure God will do this, or fix that. We can’t be sure that God will do any particular thing. We can be sure that he is God.
God is good. God is wise. God knows all things. God loves us. God’s ways are higher than our ways. We may not like the way God runs the universe at times, and we may not like the way he runs the circumstances of our lives at times. But God’s way is always the better way.
Josh Hunt. (2010). Make Your Group Grow.