So, what do we do when God does not grant us the favor we are seeking. I don’t want to be someone who tries to make you believe that being a christian is all sunshine and lollipops! That we will always get exactly what we want. Sometimes favor comes just because Jesus holds us through a situation or circumstance and we don’t get what we are earnestly praying for. Sometimes we have to accept that God has a reason for not answering our prayer in the way we wish.
In the book of 2 Samuel, chapter 12 there is a story about David that has always struck my heart. You remember him, David, the one who killed the giant of the Philistines with a stone. He was a mighty warrior of God, he was anointed king but didn’t take the throne for 15 years or so because he was hunted by the former king Saul, who wanted to take his life. David, the one that is called a man after God’s own heart. Well even though David was a man after God’s own heart, David was also a fallible man, aren’t we all! David stayed behind one time when his men had gone to war and found that he had idle time on his hands and well, he spotted Bathsheba and he desired her. He slept with her and she became pregnant. So to cover it up, our David had her husband killed. The beginning of this chapter is the prophet Nathan rebuking David and showing him that even when we think we may have gotten away with something, that God still sees it all. God told Nathan to let David know that as punishment for his sin, that his son would die. Now this is a bitter pill to swallow. I hate the fact that God struck the son down because of David and Bathsheba’s guilt. But the commentary I read pointed out, and it is true that sometimes the innocent will suffer because of the sin of the guilty. And we do know that to be true don’t we. We see innocent people lose their life all the time because of someone else’s sin. So we have to accept that is what is happening here.
But let’s look at what David does when his child became sick.
“David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.” 2 Samuel 12:16
I can just see it, can’t you? David did what any father would do for his sick child. He was distraught, he prayed hard! He sought God, he fasted, he cried, I am sure he begged God to heal his son. He probably even said God take me, instead of him. But God chose his son. The servants surrounding David were worried about what David would do once the child had died. So much that they were afraid to even tell him. When David saw them whispering, he perceived that he had gotten his answer from the Lord and that it was not what he had hoped. Let’s look at what David did next.
“Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.” 2 Samuel 12:20
It has always amazed me what David’s response was after his child died. It amazed his servants too. I believe in my human nature I would have had me a good old crying, stomp my foot session. I would probably be mad at God for not answering my prayer in the way I wanted Him too. But David actually pulled himself together and worshipped God! That is what our response should be. But I am not telling you I am spiritual enough that is what it would be. I hope so, but I am not sure I trust myself enough to think so. There was another man in the Bible who had lost his entire family and his fortune and his response was:
“And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’” Job 1:21
A very important lesson here too, comes when the servants questioned David as to his response. They were amazed at his response to the child’s death. David had pulled himself together, and he worshipped God and he ate in order to regain his own strength. The servants questioned David as to how he could pull himself together. David had a very comforting response to all of us who are christians when we lose someone we love but we know their salvation.
“But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12:23
David knew that he would see his son again in heaven one day. That was comfort to him. He still would have preferred that God would have answered his prayer by allowing his son to live. But David still knew God and he still trusted God and he knew that one day he too would die and go to heaven and he would be reunited with his son.
My friends I would love to tell you that God will always answer our prayers for healing just like we want him to. I can’t I know too many people who have prayed for it and their healing came in heaven instead of on earth. But what I do know is that when we lay it at his feet and we worship Him no matter the answer we receive that He will carry us and He will walk with us through, and He will strengthen us as we walk the path of this imperfect world.
May he hold you even when you don’t receive the favor you ask.