When God Actually Answers

rainOur valley has been choked with thick, disheartening smoke for the better part of a month as our beloved Glacier National Park burns. It’s a difficult fire to fight; Lake McDonald is a bowl, collecting smoke and giving it nowhere to disperse. Aircraft have reported being unable to even find the fire, so concentrated is the smoke.

So, yesterday morning in church, we asked God to deliver the goods. We asked for rain.

He answered. That very afternoon, a cold front moved in, bringing a constant drizzle worthy of Seattle.

Today it not only continued, but turned into snow at the higher elevations. In August. Granted, August snow isn’t actually unusual in Glacier. But the timing and location could not have been better.

And I’m…kinda flabbergasted.

Disbelieving.

Happy, but disbelieving.

I feel the same way about God healing my knee during a recent hiking trip. It wasn’t the Advil. I know what my knee feels like on just Advil. This wasn’t that. There was no pain at all, not even 1/10. I could walk in total confidence.

And again I’m…disbelieving. Did that really happen?

This is revealing a lot in my soul. Maybe it’s just the uncomfortable questions of Why not all those other prayers back through…I dunno, my entire life?

Or maybe it’s something more.

So Peter was kept in prison, but prayer was being made earnestly to God for him by the church.

On the night before Herod was to bring him out for execution, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while the sentries in front of the door guarded the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell. Striking Peter on the side, he woke him up and said, “Quick, get up!” Then the chains fell off his wrists. “Get dressed,” the angel told him, “and put on your sandals.” And he did so. “Wrap your cloak around you,” he told him, “and follow me.” So he went out and followed, and he did not know that what took place through the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. After they passed the first and second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened to them by itself. They went outside and passed one street, and immediately the angel left him.

Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel and rescued me from Herod’s grasp and from all that the Jewish people expected.” When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many had assembled and were praying. He knocked at the door in the gateway, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer. She recognized Peter’s voice, and because of her joy, she did not open the gate but ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gateway.

“You’re crazy!” they told her. But she kept insisting that it was true. Then they said, “It’s his angel!” (Acts 12:5-15)

The disciples were gathered in earnest prayer. And unlike me, this was a group that had been around some amazing stuff. Lame men walking. Visions of angels and animals on a sheet. The death of Ananias and Sapphira. The resurrection of Tabitha.

Yet they were shocked to see God answer their prayer.

Yep. We never change.

There’s always that doubt in the back of our minds. What if God chooses not to deliver this time? He doesn’t have to, you know. Or…God doesn’t operate like that much anymore. He allows suffering to remain and teaches us how to grow through it. Or…The Christian life isn’t about this stuff. Quit talking about impending breakthrough all the time and start being obedient.

There’s a kernel of truth in each, for sure.

Yet Jesus also found both glory and opportunities for sanctification in answering prayers. How many times did he shake his head at his disciples as they stood there with their teeth in their mouth, years into his history of miracles, still wondering what it all meant?

It’s both humbling and comforting to know that I’m like those disciples. Humbling, because the human heart never changes. Comforting, because if there was hope for them in Christ, there is hope for me as well.

18 thoughts on “When God Actually Answers

  1. Such an honest review of the nature of ourselves and the early Jesus followers. Even as a kid I thought I’d have bigger faith if I were them, but you’re so right. Not much has changed! Thanks for the comfort and challenge!

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    • Oh right, because we’re so much more evolved and educated than those disciples who squabbled about who’d be greatest, right? Nope. 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Rachel, hope you stick around.

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  2. Thank you for putting this post together. We’ve always been like the disciples but recently, we like to use science and logic to explain every miracle instead of ascribing it to God. It is my prayer that we’ll identify miracles when they happen and acknowledge God too.

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  3. Miracles are all around us and when we believe in the One who sends them we see more and more of them. He has amazing plans for you, Brandon ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, we often don’t expect the miraculous. I wonder sometimes if that’s because we simply question God’s interest in our prayers, doubt God’s love for us or whether we doubt whether we are praying in His will… Food for thought, anyway. So thankful that God answered your recent prayers!! God bless you greatly!!

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  5. There’s a lot of truth in what you wrote Brandon and what is even more scary is that yesterday’s answered prayers fade in our memory and we seem to focus primarily on today’s needs. I think doubting is part of our fallen nature. Not so much doubting in God but doubting that His goodness actually extends to us, as an individual and also collectively. We’re a bit of a fickle lot. I sometimes wonder why He puts up with us, all things considered, but He does. That’s another miracle! Grace and blessings!

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  6. Brandon, it is good to hear of His goodness to you, and your amazement. “Now to HIm who is able to do exceeding abundantly more than we can ask or think.” Praying you continue to rack up through your years more and more of His abundance and blessings waiting for all of us. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart conceived what He has prepared for those who love Him.” Praying that our eyes, ears, and hearts be opened more and more to His goodness. Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31.

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