Mercy of Unanswered Prayer (Oct. 11, 2015)

We never know where people are going to go in life, nor do where know where we will end up. The two brothers, James and John, had a pretty good idea where they wanted to be and it wasn’t at the back of the pack. So they go to Jesus and ask him for a favor” Jesus, we’ve been with you now for there years. We’ve left everything. Could you, just maybe, make it all worthwhile for us by giving us the honored places at your right and left hands?” I’m surprised that their request was so open-ended. After all the right hand position went to the one who was #2 in power, and the left went to #3. I wonder if they had a brotherly argument about that; after all, naked ambition knows no bounds.

Their request is not that much different from our prayers to Jesus. Give me a good job, help me get that promotion, keep me healthy, let me move to a better home, win me the lottery, etc etc. it’s like we want Jesus to be a genie who gives us three wishes and then disappears to let us enjoy our new way of life.

Jesus doesn’t work that way. Life isn’t like that. I believe there is such a thing as the blessing of unanswered prayer. Have you prayed and asked for something, and didn’t get it? Then you found out later that it was a real blessing that God didn’t answer your prayer in the way you wanted? I call that “The Mercy of Unanswered Prayer.” There’s an answer, but it’s not the one you expected. But it is gracious because Jesus looks ahead in our life and sees what we really need. You may think you want that promotion and deserve it, but who knows if you are ready to face the unseen difficulties that go along with it. Who knows how ready you are to be in authotiry, because Jesus made it very clear that for the Christian the desire for position and power should only be realized when one can submit to servant hood. God does not put us in positions over others so that we feel important. He does it so we can help and care for other people.

James and John are not ready for responsibility, because at this time they crave it for themselves. They will not be good servants if they only want a comfy position in the coming kingdom. Someday they will serve Jesus unselfishly, even to the point of giving their lives for Him, but at this point they need more training.

May God continue to train us to his ways!

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