Faith not foolishness
There is a popular gospel song titled "He's an on-time God". The chorus has variations depending on who is singing but it basically states "He may not come when you want Him but He'll be there right on time". This is a presumptuous phrase that implies that if you just wait your every prayer will be answered but this is not true. I had a friend who for 7 years posted on social media about the husband God promised to send her but she died without a spouse. I prayed for my husband to be restored in the land of the living so we could enjoy more time together but he passed away so that prayer was not answered. I never prayed for him to go to heaven at this point. There is no way in either of these situations to say that God was right on time because what was being believed for did not manifest. The Christian church today has believers quoting phrases and slogans that are not biblical and when things do not work out the way they desire they try to redirect and insist the prayer was answered. Women and men who prayed for their marriages to work but ended up divorced did not have those prayers answered. I continue to be baffled by the way believers simply cannot acknowledge what is true and real. Quoting catchphrases is not being in faith and not honest. These slogans give Christians a way of saying what will give a false impression in order to fool people.
It's OK to accept that He did not answer a prayer
In some Christian circles, there is a phrase of "We win we always win" but that's not true. King David prayed and fasted for his baby to live but the child died. he acknowledged that he would one day see his son in eternity but he never lied that God answered his prayer. Think of all the people who were praying for loved ones with COVID to live but they died. Consider families who prayed for a miracle but ended up losing their homes and who did not get something better or double but are now struggling. Walking by faith is not about always getting your way and it's dangerous to lie when you don't. Accepting that prayer was not answered is a sign of maturity. Lying to people that He is always on time gives false hope of His giving them their every desire. There have been a number of celebrities who had worldwide prayer for them but they passed away. Instead of admitting that God moved in a different direction the catch phrase becomes "No more pain, no more suffering." As I have indicated in other articles we do not pray for someone to go to heaven. We pray for them to be healed in the land of the living. All believers should have testimonies where the Lord did come right on time because this boosts our faith. To say that He is always on time is not only a false statement, there is nothing in the Bible that backs it up.
I know of a number of ministries where the pastors said God told them they were going to grow and have a lot of members. These churches had intercessory prayer teams praying for every need to be met and for the Lord to send the people. In each case, the doors were shut because they did not have enough members and therefore did not have the money to stay afloat. Instead of being honest, these preachers blamed the congregants or said God told them to shut the doors because the people did not do what they were supposed to. If you pay attention to what is being prayed for and you look at the results you can see whether God answered the prayer or not. My husband was once told he would need a pacemaker and we prayed he would not and he did not. This is an example of answered prayer. If he had been given the pacemaker then God would not have answered the prayer and we would have been wrong to spin it and say the pacemaker was the answer. My grandmother had stomach cancer and after we prayed it disappeared. This is an example of answered prayer. My mother was diagnosed with cancer and died 5 weeks later so the prayer was not answered. The Lord came through on time to spare my grandma but not my mother and it really is that simple.
God is sovereign which means He has all authority and control. Scripture never promises that He operates like a Genie and grants our every wish. When He does move in our favor we should give the testimonies but when He does not we are not required to lie and imply that He did answer our prayer. If believers were taught by spiritual leadership to be honest instead of repeating slogans, catchphrases, and song lyrics things would be different. On the one hand, we say "Not my will but Thine be done" which indicates that His will is not necessarily what we desire. On the other hand, we say "Won't he do it" He always comes through and He's always on time. It's true that for some they may later get a better job, a spouse, or that house they dreamed of but this is not accurate for all Christians. Martha told Jesus that had He come earlier her brother would not have died. The Savior raised Lazarus from the dead so in that case, you can say that He did not come when Martha wanted but He was on time. We know we will see all our deceased saved loved ones when he returns but: If you prayed for them to recover from an illness and they died, seeing them in eternity is not the answer to the prayer but the blessed Hope of faith in Christ that's promised to us all.Be honest with yourself today even if no one else and simply admit that you had prayers that were not answered, it really is OK.
The Lord is always on time regarding His agenda because the Bible tells us that in the fullness. of time Jesus came. He will be on time when Christ returns because this is His plan. We get in trouble when we falsely claim that He is answering every prayer and always on time for our personal agendas. Humans make choices that do not always line up with what the Lord is doing and are being taught that it is spiritual to say He is doing something in their lives even when He is not. We walk by faith and trust Him even when we don't understand. It's time to stop lying on the Lord in order to appear spiritual or impress church leadership. My oldest son has a test he needs to pass in order to be certified as a special education teacher. We have prayed diligently and he has taken it but missed passing by 4 or 5 points on 6 occasions. Should he eventually pass we can say that God did not come when we wanted the prayer was answered. Should my son not take the test again or take it and fail, the song based slogan will not apply.
© 2021 Cheryl E Preston