What if God’s answer to one of our prayers is “no”? We are given this answer at times. Sometimes when we are told “no” we easily accept the answer we are given, because what we are asking for is something that really did not matter that much. Occasionally, though, we find ourselves being told “no” when every part of our being wants the answer to be “yes.” What happens to our relationship with God then? Does our relationship with God completely fall apart? Does our entire relationship with God depend on God answering our prayers?
Jesus did not get the “yes” he begged for with every part of his being: “Let this cup pass away from me” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus knew, though, that his prayer was heard, he knew God could answer his prayer, and he knew his Father would be there with him no matter what. Jesus’ relationship with God the Father did not fall apart when his prayer was not answered, because his relationship with God did not depend on answered prayers.
We are invited into a similar relationship—a relationship with God that trusts that our prayers are heard yet does not demand our prayers be answered in the way we might ask. We are invited into a relationship of confidence that God can answer our prayers, yet at the same time, we are invited into a relationship that asks us for complete surrender to God’s way. The relationship we are invited into with God is not an insurance policy that guarantees we get what we want. However, we are promised that God hears us and will be with us every step of the way.
I know many of us seek certain things “to pass away from us” in our own lives or in the lives of those we love. When we get an answer of “no” to a prayer we fervently prayed, may we continue to turn to Jesus to help us surrender to God’s will, and may we have the courage to let God take us deeper.