All of us have prayers that haven’t been answered yet—at least, not in the way we want them to be. And for some of us, these unanswered prayers feel like the lynchpin of our lives: We feel like if God would just answer this one prayer, everything would finally lock in to place.
So what do we do when we’re in the limbo of waiting? How do we keep moving forward? Here are three things to remember:
1. God’s timing isn’t the same as ours.
We pray and ask God for something—healing, change, breakthrough—because we see our lives from our perspective (which is the only way we can see things!). But God’s perspective is much, much bigger—it’s eternal in its scope and wisdom. When we start praying for something and it doesn’t happen on our timeline, it’s easy to think that God has forgotten us or refuses to answer. But in truth, God is working out all things for our good (Romans 8:28). Sometimes that means that He is waiting on answering a particular prayer now because He can see down the road and He wants what is eternally and completely best for us. So even though God might seem slow sometimes, He’s never actually slow. He’s not even late. His sense of timing is just way, way better.
2. You won’t be waiting forever.
Some of us will have certain prayers answered here on earth, and we’re told to pray persistently about the things on our hearts (Luke 18:1-8). And yet, some of us will pray the same prayer for a lifetime and not see it answered in the way we want here on earth. But I can promise you that you won’t be waiting forever. There is a day coming when Christ will return and make all things new (Revelation 21:5). On that day, every prayer will be answered in its truest and best way, every sickness will disappear, and every trouble will fade. Even death will be swallowed up in life (2 Corinthians 5:4). Christ Himself will meet every longing and fulfill every dream, and all of our waiting will end.
3. God loves you wholeheartedly and without reservation.
Our culture constantly implies that love is the same as license—that loving someone means giving them what they want. But true love isn’t anything like that; true love means giving someone what they deeply need, even if it’s not what they immediately want. God loves us in this way, and that’s why He has given us Christ—His life, death, and resurrection—to secure the way for us to have right relationship with Him. This is the truest form of love: giving us a way to be redeemed when we’ve never deserved it and can’t earn it.
So, when it feels like our prayers keep going unanswered and it might feel like God isn’t loving us, the reality is that He loves us more than anyone else. He proved that love at the cross.