If God Hears Me, Why Doesn’t He Answer?
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
“Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” - Psalm 116:2 NLT
“Mama! God won’t do what I told Him to!” was the complaint I got from my recently turned five-year-old as we were getting ready for bed recently. She explained that she told God to stop the ceiling fan from spinning so she could count how many “things” were on there going around. And He didn’t. She was quite annoyed and couldn’t understand why He wouldn’t make it stop. And, oh goodness, I knew I had a teachable moment on my hands.
You know those moments when your kids do something or say something and your heart thinks, “I should really have a deep talk about this and take advantage of this moment.” But your mind and body are saying, “We are way too tired to tackle this issue right now. Give the short answer and move on.” That’s where I was on this one. But...I knew this was a biggie, and so, I “put on my big girl panties” and tried my best.
Y’all, one of the hardest things to explain...and understand...is why God answers, or doesn’t answer, or delays his answers, or answers in a different way to our requests. But it’s really simple. God is God. And we’re not. We don’t have to understand. We don’t need to understand. And we aren’t supposed to understand all the time. We are just supposed to trust.
But explaining that to a five-year-old who totally gets that God is real and is talking to Him like a person and thinks He is being rude if He doesn’t respond is difficult. I stress so much that God is with her that she has come to think of Him like any one of us. And while that’s wonderful and precious to my soul, I am doing a disservice if I don’t also teach her that God is not our equal. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and His decisions are best.
My little one had a few explanations for why the Lord wasn’t doing what she said, and I decided to go to scripture to show her they were just not accurate. I’m sharing them here in case your babies or friends or co-workers or anyone come to you with the same predicament... that God won’t do what they told Him to. I hope these will give you encouragement and a starting point for discussion with those you love.
1. If He doesn’t do what I said, then He can’t hear me.
“Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Psalm 116:2 NLT
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14
“The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil." 1 Peter 3:12
2. If He doesn’t do what I said, that means He isn’t powerful enough to do it.
“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16
“‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” Jer. 32:17
3. I’m the boss of Him, so He should do what I say.
“Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth…” - Matthew 28:18
“Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”Ecc. 7:13-14
Oh, y’all, there are no easy answers when your heart longs for something so badly, and you just want to see the power of God at work in your life or the lives of those you love. But hopefully these scriptures will help us all remember who God really is and find comfort in the fact that He hears us, He is powerful enough to do more than we could ask or imagine, and He is the final authority.
Don’t for one minute doubt that He is in absolute control and holds you and those you love in the palm of His hand. Whether it’s a bossy little five-year-old or a middle-aged mama or a seasoned older gentleman, we all long to see God work in our lives. Stay close to Him, read His word, keep praying. And tell others about His goodness.
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years of experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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