Dear God, Where Are You?

Dear God, Where Are You?

January 9, 2017

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

Devotion Graphic

“Mom, I didn’t make it. Please pray for me. I just feel confused about God.”

My heart sank. I felt my daughter’s deep hurt. I felt it as clearly as if it were my own.

I know what it feels like to want something so badly and have that dream shut down. That door close. That opportunity slip away.

She’d been talking about going for this special achievement at summer camp for three years. Every time we talked about camp, she talked about going for this achievement. But she wasn’t old enough to try until her fourth year at camp.

Finally, this was going to be her year.

She met every challenge and could see the goal in sight … until the fire. She was supposed to light a campfire with nothing but three matches, one small square of newspaper and a few sticks of wood.

She struck the first match and held it up to the newspaper. It didn’t ignite. She struck the second match and held it up to the newspaper. It still didn’t ignite.

She stared at the third and final match. Knowing that a big part of the challenge was teaching the kids how to communicate with God and fully rely on Him, she’d been praying through every stage of the challenge. But now, she didn’t just pray — she cried out to God.

“Please help me, God. Please,” she mouthed as she struck the third match. She held the flame up to the paper once again and watched in complete disbelief. The matchstick burned, but the paper did not.

As soon as the final match burned out, she lowered her head in defeat, and gave all her wood to the girls still in the challenge.

When I arrived at camp to pick her up a week later, she asked if we could go sit by ourselves and process this situation.

The fact that she didn’t get the camp honor was not what was bothering her the most. What was bothering her the most was not experiencing God’s power like the other girls had. They all had stories of God answering their cries for help in amazing ways that carried them all the way through the challenge.

“Mom, I didn’t get that with God. Why?”

This was a tough question. One of those questions as a mom that you don’t want to mess up in answering.

I asked her to help me recall every step of her challenge so we could intentionally look for God’s hand. As she recalled every part, I listened intently for anything unusual and unexplainable.

And when she got to the fire, I found it. There was no reason her newspaper shouldn’t light. None at all. Everyone else’s paper lit. Hers should have. But it didn’t.

“Honey, that can only be explained by God intervening. He was there. He was listening. And we just have to trust that there was some reason you shouldn’t have continued that challenge. We may not know that reason, but we can certainly trust God was right there … protecting you … loving you … revealing His power to you.”

She put her head on my shoulder, “You really think so, Mom?”

I whispered, “I know so.”

I know so because I trust the truth God has given me. Truths like these are anchors that hold me to the reality of who God is:

He is the One in whom I find comfort and reassurance: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).

He is right here with me in the midst of my trouble, and I am not alone: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Yes, I know deep hurt. But I also know deep hope. So, I whispered it again, “Yes, sweetheart, I know so.”

Sometimes God’s power is shown as much in preventing things as it is in making them happen. We may never know why. But we can always know and trust the Who.

Dear Lord, thank You for knowing what I need and what I don’t — even when I don’t agree. Help me see Your “yes” and “no” as protection and guidance. Today, I choose to trust You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
When deep hurts threaten to shipwreck us, God’s Word is able to anchor us. That’s why we want to share “3 Truths You Need to Process Your Pain.” This FREE resource from Lysa TerKeurst will help you keep truth close in the midst of devastating seasons. You can download your copy here today.

Trade feelings of emptiness and depletion for a more personal fulfillment from knowing who Jesus is with Lysa’s new Bible study, Finding I Am. Find out more here.

CONNECT:
Find real life encouragement when you connect with Lysa here on Instagram.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Look back at a situation where you felt God didn’t answer your prayers. Can you see His power in not allowing your prayer to be answered?

© 2017 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Pretty Flamingo says:

    I don’t know why God didn’t heal my beautiful cat. She became ill with an infection in October and died early November. She was only 6. God could have healed her, but he didn’t. It makes no sense and it broke my heart. I can’t see the sense in this, I am afraid. I do have a new kitten and she brings such joy, but I see no sense in losing my cat.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is like losing a family member that we’re closest to sometimes. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Unfortunately for us all, there are two ways that God heals those we love, either fixing/healing their body or taking them home! Maybe the infection was just the first step of a much more difficult life for your pet and God brought your cat home to prevent that difficult life of illness from you and your cat! Our family, I hate to specify church it feels like a division on my family, recently has lost two loved one’s and this has been the message for the New Year. I pray that this sends you comfort or understanding instead of sounding harsh, just think of the MANSION your cat has and rejoice they will greet you when you arrive! Btw I will also be devastated when I lose my son, dog!

    • Anonymous says:

      As humans, we tend to think of healimg as the ultimate gift. As Christians, we can view Heaven as the ultimate gift. The Lord gave your cat a greater gift than simply healing her body; He took her into His home to care for her every single second for the rest of eternity. Praise Him! And maybe His doing so affords you an opportunity to rescue another of his creatures to love and care for until He decides to bring him or her home to be with Him.

      • I have been struggling with trying to reconcile with my ex-husband for the past 5 yrs. Each time it seems like we are mending and restoring our relationship, it turns horrible wrong. Now he is dating someone else and it hurts extremely bad. I have been praying and asking God to not allowing his relationship to be my focus and i am praying for the strength to let go. I want to trust Him that He has better in store for me and my children.

        • Anonymous says:

          I am so sorry that you are hurting. I pray for reconciliation as well. My divorce was in August and I already feel like at times, I cannot bear not knowing what the future holds…if we will be together or not. And I am the one who pursued the divorce and messed up. He said he would never put himself in that situation again, and that we both need to move on as we know we can never have back what we once had. One thing I remind myself is that God is in control and sees the big picture, whereas we can only see what’s right in front of our eyes. We can worry about what “could” happen, but WE do not know. Only one does and he tells us to not worry, today has enough troubles of its own. He also tells us that ALL things work together for good for us (not just the good, even the bad…ALL things). He can be your husband while you do not have one, and he delights in you just the way you are right now and in the situation you are in right now. Everything that has happened, he already knew would happen and he knows what will happen next, but that’s not meant for us to know. We are mean to trust in the truths he has told us and have hope about our future, which although there will be trials (he promises that) he will carry us through them and he will take care of our enemies! I pray that you can find joy in growing closer to God and learning more of his word, so that you can find comfort in his truths and fulfill his will for you and enjoy your beautiful children. I would continue to show your husband unconditional love. I know the desire of your heart not being fulfilled right now may hurt… I was told by a friend when I complained about how bad it hurt to not have that desire met that the closer we grow to God, the more the desires of our heart will align with his will for us…whatever that may be 🙂 I pray for everyone in this situation, so know that there is someone out there praying for you <3

    • Dear Pretty Flamingo,

      I too lost a precious cat. It has been over a year now and I still question why. I cried out to God like I never have before and to be honest I do feel like he has abandoned me. I know he loves me and I know he healed in his own way but there is no comfort that I feel and no peace. It a tough spot to be in without any insight as to why. My heart aches for you.

    • Cindy Lynn Baker says:

      I know your pain so well. All I can think of is JOB remember he lost all his family and didn’t know why. But he stayed strong and believed God was in control. Sometimes in life that is ALL we can do, trust and ask for peace in our lives. Hugs , love and Meows !

    • Sorry for your lost. I understand what you are saying. One Monday at the end of March 2016, my puppy (she was 6.5 years), was fine. On Tuesday the next morning she was not herself, on Wednesday morning less than 24 hours later, our beloved puppy had died. We prayed hard for her. The pain was deep and no sense was made as to the why. We all were in such shock. I still do not understand why God decided to take her from us, but in late Oct 2016, my dad blessed me for my birthday with a puppy, that came with a bonus, her sister. Never imagined I would have two puppies, but we do. They are such loves! The day we picked them up to take to their forever home, we experienced a beautiful spiritual moment. The bonus puppy loved on my daughter (her heart was deeply broken from the lost of our other pup that passed) as if to say Precious our pup that had passed, sent a message it was ok to love these new puppies, be happy and not sad nor feel guilt for taking new ones home. That moment in the car, we cried at the experience we were given, what a beautiful blessing. Precious also left a gift for my granddaughters the night before she passed away. My granddaughters were scared of dogs. But that night none of us knew that’s would be her last night with us, she approached the little ones and let them pet her. Even tho she was not feeling well. She was very gentle with them. I still don’t understand the why or the reason she had to die, other than Gods word says there is a season for everything. This just may have been her season. She did what she came to do, gave us love and allowed my granddaughters to not be afraid of dogs. The oldest that just turned 5, use to say she didnt like dogs. But she loves our new puppies and they love her. God does know best, so trying to figure it all out just hurts us, trusting God and seeing the blessings helps us. Take care!

    • I just wanted to share a word of encouragement with you today- It takes genuine faith to continue to do what God is calling you to do, EVEN WHEN you don’t see Him at work and don’t understand the events of your life. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

      I understand how you feel, I have kitties that I love more than most humans! I pray that the Lord is your comfort during this hard time, and that you sense His presence. I pray that your faith remains strong- Reading this devotional and seeking encouragement from others shows that you are continuing the path of faithfulness. Keep it up!! You rock, sister!!

  2. tammy mercer says:

    Recently I have been struggling with a relationship in my life. I begged God to fix it. I begged God to make it right, to restore it. I even went so far as to claim restoration by adding Bible study to our friendship all for myself in hopes that God would definitely not remove Bible study. Well God did. He has shown me through counseling that my codependency on the friendship made it so I couldn’t depend on God. I have held onto the rope connecting us for so long and through many rope burns. My counselor finally said that it is when I let go of the rope that God will move in and heal. He could only begin healing by my letting go and accepting his no.

    • Tom Thumb says:

      🙂 Thanks. This very issue is why i found this site today. And these words and that counselors advice are what i was looking for.

    • Think God may be nudging be to pull away from a friendship as well. It has been very one sided for a while and yesterday I was attacked viciously out of unrelated frustration. Going to start by taking a break and praying for discernment regarding next steps…

    • Thank you for sharing your experience. It gave me comfort as I have and am experiencing the same thing.
      Lysa’s Uninvited book, chapter 6, Friendship Breakups really helped me a lot. Although I am still in pain, I tear and miss my friend everyday and pray dor reconciliation that seems impossible to happen. I cannot fight for her. Not that I don’t want to, just the thought of her, makes me sad.
      I didn’t understand why God would talk to both of us in different messages. But He is God and I’ve learned to be humble and give Him authority.

      I did losf my faith in prayer because I was confused. But last night I read this verse and I realized, God loves me, Jesus prayed for me before my fall so that I will not lose my faith in Him.

      Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.
      ‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:31-32.

    • I totally can relate to this. I tend to get to attached to friends due to trauma as a child and so on. Last year I went through a healing class a church was doing in my area and all of that came to light. When we cling to friend’s to tight, God gets pushed out. The friend becomes God. When that goes wrong, I associated that with God letting me down and or wanting me to be lonely. He never wants that for his children. The more I begin to keep him first the more he shows me that we have good gifts. It all comes from us being best friend’s with him first. He gives us all of that as a healthy gift. Relationships are so hard especially if you have been through some crazy ones like myself. Keep clinging to the giver of life.

  3. Sonya Ponds says:

    Great mind shift. I am not being punished! I am being spared so I can do new things. Now, I just need patience to wait on the new thing, the chosen path.

    I need to learn that God is the ultimate author.

    • He is the ultimate author and He always knows what we need! Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Nothing can separate you from His love.

  4. As I read your story, Lysa, I too saw God’s hand in the newspaper. In my grandmotherly rear-view mirror, I see more spiritual growth in the slow trudge through the valleys than in the glorious God-moments of the mountaintops. When our culture scrams, “If God were so great, there would never be suffering,” God says, “when you walk through the valley of suffering, I am right there with you.”

    Blessed is the woman who learns this at a young age, for she will know how to fall into God’s arms.

    • AMEN! I wish I had grasped that in my 20s!!!… when making the absolute most important life-changing decisions of my life!!!!

    • I pray that i can trust God in my current situation to let go of my hopes of restoration with my ex.

  5. Wow….this is powerful! My husband and I wanted children really bad. We are both teachers and love our students. We tried to conceive for about 10 years without any success. I tried all the things the doctors suggested to only be disappointed. It was an emotional roller coaster.

    Then we decided to try the adoption route and was met with much disappointment. I would often ask, “Why not, Lord. You know we would make great parents.” Then one day my husband reminded me that He may be protecting us from a greater loss or tragedy.

    He knows the best plan for our lives. Sometimes it is hard to understand but I began looking at the blessings of children in our lives. I have 850 children at my school that I love and enjoy. My husband is blessed with the same. We have grown to accept God’s plan. We have 5 nephews and one niece who we enjoy. I won’t say I don’t have moments of despair but I can find comfort in His word. He is always there to comfort us and remind us that He has this!

    • Don’t give up hope. Continue to keep your eyes on Jesus and submit yourselves to his will. He will never fail you. Our journey to parenthood sounded like yours. We’ve been married for 17+ years and our oldest of two is 6 years old. Our blessings came after three miscarriages including a set of twins and a surgery that removed a cyst the size of a grapefruit. That is my short story. So I can tell you that God is faithful and just. So continue to make you body a temple and your home a haven while studying to show your self approved. Please be sure to return with your praise story.

      • Alicia
        Thank you for sharing this story. I ask you to pray for me to have hope. I’m 38 with 3 surgeries married 11 years and wish God would grant me my petition to be a mother. I am loosing hope in his plans and need to be drawn back to his grace.

    • My 6th grade teacher and his wife were in this exact situation. And let me assure you they touched more lives than they could EVER imagine. They treated each child they came in contact with as their own. I used to feel bad for them that they couldn’t have children of their own but, now I wonder how many might’ve missed out on their love if they had other responsibilities. Its good to hear you trust the Lord because I can see so many kids being touched by your lives that you will never know the impact youre going to have. God bless you both!!😊

  6. Being a single mom of 2 young boys, patience is hard for me when it comes to my current relationship with a wonderful man that I truly believe God sent into my life. We met in one of those “it’s not odd, it’s God” situations and life has been a true joyride for both us and the three children involved. However, as we are approaching the 4 year mark and I hear of other friends getting engaged, getting married, and starting families it is painful for me because I have wanted this for so long but due to past hurts, my boyfriend is very hesitant about marriage.
    While reading Lysa’s story I couldn’t help but wonder the dangers or trials that God is protecting me and my children from by making me wait for the relationship to become a true family. I have prayed many many times that He would move in my and my boyfriend’s life in such a way that it was clearly time to move forward but yet I wait. While waiting, I have realized that God promises that He has the plan for my life and I need to stop trying to make Him fit in my box because His ways are higher and far better for me than anything I could ever dream of. What was/sometimes still is painful, I now look at as an opportunity to completely rely on Him and look for His handiwork in the process not just in the prize.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for sharing 🙂 Waits are an opportunity to rely on him and look for and appreciate the handiwork in the process! My goodness, how unfortunate to worry so much that you miss out on thanking him for the small blessings in your day-to-day life?!

  7. This devotional reminds me to focus on God’s sovereignty in every situation. At times we go through various things and don’t understand or choose to accept the outcome. But God’s will is best and his timing is perfect even when we are impatient.

    Thank Lisa for sharing your heart through this devotional.

  8. I have a hard time when God says no. In fact there are times He said no and I was like I will do it my way and let me be the first to tell you, those ways dont work and you end up in more heartache and pain than if you would have listened to God.

    My husband doesnt believe in God. While thats hard for alot of people to swallow for me it has allowed me to grow closer to God, it has given me peace, of course its had its rough moments but its allowed me to grow closer. I used to think in my marriage it was him and his unbelief causing the issues in our marriage but then I realized I had alot to do with it as well. That was the beginning of my path to healing and growing in Christ and the beginning of praying for my husband. I dont pray for his salvation specifically but I pray for his job, his PTSD, his alcoholism, his issues and our marriage. One thing I have been learning is that God can take a situation even a bad one and turn it for His glory.

    • Traci, I’m curious why you do not pray for your husband’s salvation? His eternal destiny is of much greater importance than earthly blessings. “The Lord is not…wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. As his wife God has placed you alongside him – if you aren’t praying for his salvation, who will??

  9. Wendy Thompson says:

    I have been praying to God to give me the wisdom to speak with my youngest son. He has experienced hurt and rejection from an early age(he’s multiracial and my family did not approve).

    This past Friday he had to plead guilty to a DUI charge from almost 3 years ago that we had been fighting(if we lived in a different state, he would have not been charged). He has been trying so hard to live a better life and naturally experienced some disappointment and feeling as if it didn’t matter how hard he tried. He’s struggling with his feelings toward God right now and honestly this did not help.

    But your words today has given insight on how to encourage him and push him closer to walking with God again. I know God has great things in store for him and will not let Satan have him.

    Thank you God for allowing Proverbs 31 to give me Your words and thank you Proverbs 31 for following God’s directions.

    • Wendy, I don’t know your son’s situation exactly, but when I read your comment I was reminded of a time in my life when I longed for the past that I repented of to leave me behind. Instead, it reared its head and every bit of it was exposed, requiring consequences to be dealt with. It was hard, I just wanted to move forward instead of battling with the past. But now, I see that God’s way was so much better than what I had wanted to happen. Because I had to deal with the consequences of all my past actions, it enabled me to walk into complete freedom knowing that not only was I forgiven and washed clean, but that I had dealt with the past and accepted the consequences of my mistakes. This has given me freedom that I would not have fully had if indeed God had brushed aside my actions and let them go when He forgave me. This situation has taught me that God’s way is always best, no matter what I myself think, and my faith is better and stronger for it. I would encourage your son to try to see if this way. That God wants your son to experience complete freedom. Many blessings x

  10. I just lost my sister (my only sibling), who was my best friend in the world, to cancer. She had just turned 40 and leaves behind a loving husband, who is devastated, and a 7 yr old son. I have been through many trials before and been blessed to be able to know that God knew what was best in those situations. Now i am struggling to understand why, with so many praying for her, He didn’t see fit to heal her. I really believed up until she took her last breath and i sat with her holding her hand as her body grew cold that He could heal her. I just can’t understand why He didnt. I’m struggling with understanding why this had to happen.

    • Anonymous says:

      If she was saved, He gave her the ultimate gift. Rejoice in her eternity in Heaven.

    • Praying for you Melissa that God will give you peace and comfort. Death is a difficult thing to explain and understand, especially when the person is young. You may not understand the “why” in this but know that God is with you and her family every step of the way. Look to him for peace and comfort as you grieve the loss of your sister. It won’t be easy at times but I promise you it will help you come to terms with your loss.

    • Kathy Fauver says:

      I lost our oldest son while I was in prayer during my morning devotional asking God for my families protection in the day. “To think that God would take a child from his mother while she prayed, is appalling” That was 15 years ago. I don’t see His reason, I don’t believe that I will, but I have accepted that the God of the universe, who stops the sea at the shore and knows how many particles of sand there are on the beach, knows what’s best. I know that I can trust God with my life. I may not ever know the reason, but I choose to trust His promises of His unfailing love. The day our son’s boat went down at sea, I said to God, make us better through this, not bitter. As the song goes, “this is what it is to be HELD”.

      • Kathy Fauver, your statement is beautifully written. You sound like someone who has quieted her soul and is resting in Jesus. I lost my dad to suicide 10 years ago. His act was way out of character for the dad I knew. I don’t know if I will ever know or understand exactly why this was allowed to happen. The event shook me deeply, but God comforted me through that season, and at a Christian gathering just recently, I felt God lift a heavy weight of grief off me that I didn’t even know I was carrying. God is good always. I trust him.

    • I too lost my sister to cancer 5 years ago and was absolutely devastated by it. A lot of people were praying for healing but God took her to be with Him instead. I spent 2 1/2 years questioning God and wondering where He was. All I would say is keep holding onto God and trust Him but it will be very hard.

  11. My son is an exceptional golfer, while in high school he won several tournaments and traveled to state competitions, even placing 12th in the state as a team. During his senior year, a wonderful Christian college offered my son a golf scholarship. An answered prayer!! As he anxiously worked toward graduation, things seemed perfect – his hard work had paid off! Then 8 weeks before graduation, the college golf coach withdrew the scholarship, no explanation. My son was crushed, questioning what he had done wrong. After lots of prayer and tear-filled discussions, he concluded to trust where God was leading him – to a college closer to home and a better scholarship. After a few weeks into the first semester, we learned the golf coach had been fired. Never before had God revealed to my son so loudly and clearly, I have other plans for you. As parents, we try so intently to prepare, teach and guide our children, but there is only so much we can do. I felt like such a failure – “How did I not see this coming?”, “What did I not do right?”. Yet God was in control the whole time. Since my son has been closer to home, he has taken on more adult roles in our church, presented devotions at community meetings and encouraged our younger daughter through high school. God is always good and I thank Him in every prayer for His wisdom and guidance, especially when it comes to parenting! Thank you Lysa for a precious devotion!

    • Blessings to you and your son, Amy. Keep encouraging him. Your story made me cry, as I have a 24-year-old son and can relate. There is nothing like the positive encouragement and guidance of loving parents.

      • Thank you willie – being parents is tough, but a treasure. I am thankful for God’s guiding hand. Blessings and prayers to you and your family!

    • Pretty Flamingo says:

      Wow that really is the Lord in action.

  12. This is a message that is just as much about trusting God as it is about letting go of the world. If all that we have can be taken away at any point in time, then we need to learn to hold onto God’s blessings with open palms instead of closed fists. We need to develop an ear for listening to God instead of focusing on our own goals and desires. If we do this, we can take and accept things as they come. Loss will always be hard, but since tomorrow isn’t promised to us, doesn’t it make sense to cherish what we have today? I do think it’s a spiritual discipline to always have an attitude of gratitude towards all that God has given us.

    • Thank you, Julie!!! Your response spoke to me. 😊

    • This was wonderfully spoken Julie, thank you! I often struggle with this, and lately, it’s been very difficult for me. Lysa’s devotional, and your words, have really spoken to me today.

  13. I see God’s hand in so many things when it comes to what we pray for. As old as I am, and the years I have walked with the Lord, I can say with confidence… He sets our path knowing what is best for us. We have to trust Him. I can confidently say that to my children and friends when praying and trusting God for answers. Because I believe it with all my heart.

  14. There is a no in my life the past few days that is breaking my heart. I was weepy all day yesterday and during the night. I want God to bless my wants. I know that’s not the way this works. Acceptance is so hard in this.

    • We feel you Karen! Now that you are not alone and women will be praying for you. It’s hard to not get what we want, but we have to focus on our Father instead of our desire. It reminds me when we are kids, our parents or grandparents don’t allow us to have certain things because they want to teach us, they want us to live a long life, and to prosper. Just like those situations we may have struggled with family because we didn’t get what we want, it’s pretty similar to God too. He is our Father and He knows whats best for us and when. Remember that it might be hard to accept now, but later on down the road you will understand why that want turned into a ‘no’ answer, or maybe a ‘not right now’ answer. Keep looking to Him. We can’t lean on our own understanding. Be blessed, xoxo.

  15. Trust in the Lord ….(even when God seems distant or absent when called upon)
    With all of your heart ….(not influenced by any earthly pull. Purposeful. 100% leaves no room for any dependency on any person or thing to fulfill me)
    And lean not to your own understanding ….( our earthly perspective is so short sighted and temporal! Yes, God your thoughts , intellect and foresight far surpass mine!)
    In all your ways ….(from the moment your feet touch the morning floor till you wrap again in the bed covers… my words, my thoughts, my behavior, my travel, my work, my mama and grand mama role, my worship and my play.
    Acknowledge Him ….( affirm my belief mentally and audibly that ALL He has promised in caring for me and looking out for my best interests is absolute truth! Meditate on all the adjectives of his wonderful name… his character is so multi leveled and eternal!)
    And He shall direct your path….(Lynn’s walk through the good times, the bad times all steps in between! His steering is for my absolute and seamless protection and happiness!
    Thank you Lord for Proverbs 3:5,6

  16. There was a situation I remember looking back on where I felt God didn’t answer a prayer I had been praying and fasting upon, until I realized He did now. Just because we don’t think God answered a prayer since we didn’t get our “yes” answer we were looking for, doesn’t mean He didn’t answer. He did. Sometimes that answer is “no” and or “not now.” Where I am in this walk with Lord, I see that even though thats what my heart desired, it was not the time. I see His power in not allowing my prayer to be answered because He was protecting, teaching, and bringing me to a place where I would be ready for it. I will continue to keep this prayer close to my heart and seek God for the Way, but we just have to remember to keep our eyes on Him instead of focus on the desire of our prayer being answered.

  17. I have a terminally ill daughter and sometimes sit there and I wonder why God would give her this? I’ve been cheated on by my husband I’ve been dealing with a husband that is an addict but yet i still go on because of God ,I wonder when the trials will stop. It just seems like God shuts the door on everything that makes me happy but maybe it’s him trying to make me content with what I do have and that will actually make me happy in the long run. God has blessed me over the years…. But it seems like more trials then blessings. But Psalms 46:1 is a comfort to my soul.

    • My heart aches for you while my inner most woman desires to be as strong as you. God’s purpose for you is by far trails alone. Your courage alone is contagious. I begged my sister in law of nine years to leave my brother while he led a life of addiction and walked in and out of her life and the life of my then 3 year old nephew. Whom at the time was a heart transplant recipient at the age of 9 months old. I had watched as my best friend for 25 years slipped into someone I didn’t know, destroying his family, my family, our family, and every friendship along the way. I had begged, pleaded, and done everything I’m sure you know the story, I thought, God wanted to hear. God, as He always does, clearly revealed Himself to me one day, and made it very clear, I was in His way. He had my brother, and had had him always and I was continuously intervening. In that moment, I made my peace with my brother, and let him know, until he was truly ready for a different life and ready to be a difference maker, our relationship could be no more. Three months later my brother checked into a faith base treatment facility where he stayed for 7 months. He has now been clean and sober for 4 years, he and his wife are still married (no thanks to me), and my precious nephew is a vibracous almost 8 year old miracle! God is a promise maker and a promise keeper and He can and will do immeasurably more!

  18. I too have had a recent disappointment. There was a job opening that I really wanted and I surely felt I was qualified for. I prayed for the position and felt I came close to getting it as I was called for a second interview. I truly felt everything in my work history was leading me to getting this position. But of course, someone else got the job. And of course, I was very surprised and upset at first. I just didn’t understand but I know I have to trust that this wasn’t the career I thought it would be and God must have something better for my future.

  19. BECKY Bandstra says:

    Lying in hospital. Life threatenig issues.Very discouraged.I needed this today!!!

    • Prayers, Becky! I have spent my time in the hospital as well and it is tough- 40 consecutive days once and multiple other shorter days including 8 days that included Christmas this year. I have had to shift my focus from all my “Whys” to God’s “What’s”. Praying since you mentioned that this situation is life threatening that you are making sure you are at peace with God and your eternity is settled. Praying God will give you glimpses of Himself throughout your situation. May He give you opportunities to pray and share Him with medical staff and others. One of my favs was one particular housekeeper who seemed drawn to talk. God bless and keep you! ❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼 Deborah

  20. I never really thought of God’s “no(s) being a way of guiding and protecting me. I now have a different perspective on how I will respond to God when He tells me NO!
    Thank you!
    #NomorejustpoutingwhenGodsaysno

  21. I so needed these words this morning. Discouragement has become my daily companion, and I can’t find God anywhere. Thanks for the devotional, as well as the 3 Truths download. I will carry them with me today.

  22. Betsy Heller says:

    Lisa, thank you for this devotion. God’s timing is always perfect. I care for my mom (88) and my disabled husband. I provide for the family by selling real estate. I have never felt God say “no” so much. We need money to make ends meet, but nothing has come through yet. I don’t know why, but He does. Been feeling discouraged, but realized like your daughter that God is closing doors.

  23. Lysa,
    I also needed this message today. I believe trusting God is a decision, one I made long ago. And in addition to trusting him, I believe there will be challenges I’ll face. For me, it’s been difficult as I’ve lost so many loved ones. But my decision was already made, I will trust him. And I won’t expect to understand here with this finite mind I have. One day I will understand, till then, I’m gonna trust.

  24. Pam Knight says:

    Funny, age never seems to negate the need for God’s Word and Truth in our lives! Thank you!

  25. How I need help! This happens to us no matter what age. I get so discouraged from praying and praying but the answer is continually a “NO”. Just this morning we got another denial on a situation we’ve been dealing with. I’ll honestly say it’s very challenging to keep walking with such a heavy spirit. I know we can’t see what He’s working but I’ll keep fighting the fight of faith. Help me Lord Jesus.

  26. I struggle so badly with God doing what I think is blocking me from situations specifically men I shouldn’t be with and give my heart to. I have been divorced for 3 years and while I have a wonderful set of friends, beautiful daughters, a family, and a great job, I just get lonely. I long for there to be someone special in my life, but for whatever reason, it just doesn’t happen.

    I do want to share a story with others who may be struggling too-sometimes we don’t get to see why the door was shut and God said no, but others times we do and we have no doubt that God hands are involved. 20 years ago I was unhappy at work. I loved my job, but my pay was dissatisfying as well as my job title and job description. I applied for more jobs than I could count, some I was even way overqualified for. This went on for months and months and I didn’t get any of the jobs. Finally, there was an offer and I was going to move to another department in a different part of the hospital for like 50 cents more per hour. I accepted the job and was ready to make the move, and one of the physicians I worked with went to the VP and said “we can’t afford to lose her”. Long story short, I got a new title, new job description, and quite a bit more money, and got to keep the job I enjoyed. But how I see God’s hands SO CLEARLY, is that my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer maybe a month after all of this transpired. I worked in Oncology. Because I stayed in the job I loved, I was able to be in the same building she was in 2 floors apart. I was able to go check on her throughout the day, and most importantly I was able to be with her and hold her hand and tell her how much I loved her as she died 10 days later ; much earlier than we anticipated. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that that was God’s blessing to me. There is no other coincidence or explanation for why I couldn’t find a job ANYWHERE else. And I was going to leave for 50 cents an hour, but ended up getting a raise of $3.00 an hour!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing… You should remind yourself of that story each time you find yourself wondering why God still hasn’t delivered you a husband yet – there’s one out there, and he’s way better than what you’ve met so far! I believe that.

  27. I so needed this today! My son didn’t make the high school basketball team a couple of months ago. Our hearts are still hurting over it. He was one of the best and clearly should have made it. Through all the hurt, all the tears, I have stood firm in my hope and faith. Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that God was and is in it. He has such great big plans from this great big disappointment.

    • Oh, my…I am so sorry and feel your pain. A few years ago when my son had transferred to a private school, I encouraged him to try out for the basketball team. He and one other boy were the only ones who did not make the team. It hurt so badly to see him hurt and excluded. After all this time, I still cannot say I understand why the coach could not make room for two more boys.

  28. Amen!

  29. Cindy Lynn Baker says:

    I stay in confusion and concern over my career. I have moments thinking I know what God wants me to do but those moments seem to loose power as the days go on. Decision making is difficult for me. I have prayed and listened and sought out Gods guidance for my career but I always come back to frustration and no answer. Why? this has been life long for me. I am blessed in so many ways in life but when it comes to a career using my talents and being able to be in a good financial income bracket – it never happens. Is it me or is it God?

  30. Darlene Debty says:

    My daughter and I recently went through something similar with her college major – not once but twice! She did what she was supposed to do and everyone else did their part. Twice there were unforeseen glitches that kept her from the major she thought God wanted her to pursue. It didn’t make logical sense for the glitches. We realized God was closing that door she was trying so hard to open. He showed her a different major that we did not know existed and is much better suited for her. I am so glad those doors closed and she will still be following God’s path for her.

  31. I am trying to finish my bachelors degree. I am struggling with balancing family, a full-time job, elderly parents and school. My children are all teenagers and I am constantly reminding them to look for God in all aspects of life. Some days I get through to them and some days it doesn’t seem so. And I’m feeling so stressed out and stretched thin and, at times, inept. I cry out to the Lord but don’t hear Him or fail to see Him actively in “that moment” I need Him. Then I beat myself up for feeling like I’m done my this whole “daughter of The King” thing wrong. I’m sorry. I just needed to vent. God bless you Lysa for your blogs and faith because you are blessing and I definitely see the Holy Spirit working through you!

    • Very similar story here. I have a house full of kids, a job that keeps me on my toes, and I’m trying to finish my bachelors degree. I am totally overwhelmed. There is some comfort in just knowing there is someone else facing the same challenges. May God bless you.

  32. I feel stuck in a rut. I am waiting on God and waiting for his purpose to be revealed for my life. I am blessed beyond measure, but there are answers I keep asking for but do not get. I am exhausted and depressed, and I don’t have time for either one of those things. My motivation is drowning. This post was encouraging. Thank you.

  33. sometimes, “It’s just not your turn”

  34. Sanita Ioapo says:

    Wooow Jesus !! Thank you for such a powerful article, as i was reading i felt like God was talking to me because I asked the same questions your daughter asked. Towards the end of last year i got bad news, i lost a scholarship to the University of my dreams and i remember a Prophet from America prophesied over me and he wasnt the first that the Lord will send me to finish my studies, this was my dream. By that time the opportunity was secured or so i thought, towards the end almost Christmas time a committee in the University mailed that they couldn’t support my application because they wanted a research degree not a full course Masters like my offer letter. everyone knew i was leaving according to the approval from my boss and my workplace who was part of the process but only one final saying and i felt like , Lord where are you? why me? why do you have to take away this one thing i always talk about n wanted? Why Lord why?
    i saw my dreams shattered and i was this close to giving up, but this article is a reminder of what he said when i took time to spend with God in the midst of my troubles, in the midst of my confusion, in the midst of my questions. Surely he knows best 🙂
    so thank you for sharing it blesses my heart and it resonates with some unfinished business in my heart regarding what happened. Thank you Lord Jesus 🙂 Blessed day Lysa !

  35. I feel stuck in a rut. I am waiting on God and waiting for his purpose to be revealed for my life. I am blessed beyond measure, but there are answers I keep asking for but do not get. I am exhausted and depressed, and I don’t have time for either one of those things. My motivation is drowning. This post was encouraging. Thank you. – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/dear-god-where-are-you-3/#sthash.bTBQmD41.dpuf

  36. Sarah Taylor says:

    I just lost my husband of 42 years. As I face a lot of debt and possibly no income I keep being reminded of this verse. I must trust in the Lord and not lean on my understanding of things because this event in my life isn’t a surprise to God. Please pray for me. Thank you.💞

  37. Kathy Jenkins says:

    How I ache for your daughter and yet, I can’t begin to tell you how many times God has intervened to protect me in ways I couldn’t have imagined . . . When I take time to reflect on His goodness and grace, He often shows me just how He protects me in particular situations. He’s an amazing God who keeps me in awe. As an example, I was an achiever.In 6th grade I had earned every award possible at school. Well, before the awards ceremony, my teacher took me aside and told me that I wouldn’t be receiving some of those awards (which I had earned) because they needed to encourage other kids too. It hurt at the time. But I learned compassion and more importantly, to work to improve myself, not to get a piece of paper. God made the right decision. Now, I compete only against myself and I don’t feel like I have to be perfect. Those are real gifts!

  38. JESSICA HANNIVIG says:

    Please help guide me. I too have a teenager. He is at that stage where he too questions God and the “things he let’s happen”, or why there is suffering in the world. Where is God? Why does he allow these things to happen? I breaks my heart because I feel as a parent I may say the wrong things and that he will drift away from God. Is there a book or something to help me answer these tough questions for him. Thank you.

  39. Kathy McDaniel says:

    I could picture God as Christ bending over and whispering in my ear John 16:33…especially the part about His having “overcome the world”…almost as if it is a grand secret, which it is not! Something I must always remember!

  40. Thank you for writing this and all of the Proverbs 31 posts….they are truly inspiring. This one, however has really hit me….not only for empathy for your daughter and what she was experiencing….but because of the scripture…..”you have not because you ask not”…..”ask and you shall receive”. I do believe and trust God….and I do want His will in my life rather than my will….as I’m sure your daughter does too….I also think clearly God was behind the fire not starting….just having trouble with the ask…..and then discerning ….

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