Another problem with the “name it and claim it” interpretation is that we are tempted to bail on God, to criticize ourselves for our “weak” faith, or to question Him when we don’t get the answers that we want or thought we would get. It confuses us, discourages us, and blows our understanding of God and His Word out of the water. And I think that God allows this helplessness and futility so that we can learn that it’s not about us, it’s all about Him! That He is God and we are not! And so that we dig deeper into the Word to see who God really is and what He has to say through all of it - and not just through the few passages that we are familiar with.
We want to lead and have control by our prayers, whereas true faith in God says, “Whatever happens, I still believe in You. And I will follow where You lead.” It’s not that the strength of our faith gets our prayers answered the way we want; it’s that our prayers get answered the way God wants when we put our tiny, weak faith squarely on Him and His glory. And many times, that means that He has to change and mold our prayers to be in line with His Will as we struggle with the wait and the “lack of answer.”
Our hope should not be in some future answer to our prayers, that God will eventually give us what we want if we just hang in there long enough and drum up enough confidence in Him to do it. (Oh, how many times I fall into that!) Our hope should be in the fact that God is here now and that He is working things out in His time and in His way, even if they don’t match our time and way. It’s not letting the darkness and confusion pull us away from God, but letting it draw us even nearer to Him.
When we get past the point of needing our way and our timing to keep our faith alive, when we give up the "need" to get the answer we want and we passionately cling to Him instead, then we have learned to humbly put our faith in God, and not in some idea of who we think God should be and how He should act.
When we get to the point where God - and not some particular answer - has become what we really need, then He has become God in all areas of our lives, even in the pain and unanswered prayer and confusion. And it is then that we find ourselves and our desires transformed. When we are no longer concerned with what we think we need, we are free to be concerned with God’s glory and our witness to other people.
Posts in this "Understanding God's Will" series:
3: His Will Is A Verb 4: Taking It Seriously 5: Prayer Matters 6: But God Can Read Minds 7: But God Knows Our Needs 8a: Pray Specifics? 8b: Three Keys For Next Step 8c: About Smaller Decisions 9a: Name It Claim It 9b: Help
9c: Verses 9d: Idolatry 9e: Unanswered 9f: Not Listening 9g: More Verses 9h: Effective Prayer 9i: Still Waiting 10: Bad Things Happen 11a: Happens For A Reason? 11b: Marriage Trouble 11c: Deliberate Ignorance 11d: Bad Things Beyond Us 12: God Works Good 13: Limiting God? 14/15: God Forcing Things? 16: Change God's Mind? 17: But God Can't Change? 18: Our Responsibilities