"That Which He Cannot Do"
One reason our prayers sometimes go unanswered is that we ask God to do things He cannot do. This may seem counterintuitive upon first consideration. Christians believe in an omnipotent Lord for whom nothing is too hard to accomplish.
"Be Thou exalted, LORD, in Thine own strength: so will we sing and praise Thy power" (Psalm 21:13).
We rightly extol the greatness of God's ability. Scripture, however, teaches that His actions are governed by His character and purposes. The Psalmist declared, "The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works" (Psalm 145:17). Moreover, the Apostle Paul wrote that "God cannot lie" (Titus 1:2). Our Lord will not and cannot do anything that conflicts with His character, nature, and eternal purpose in Christ. He exists as a being governed by internal realities of heart so pristinely pure that His hand does not move or act in any manner that fails to coincide with His perfect goodness. "The righteous Lord loveth righteousness" (Psalm 11:7).
Such sublime truth supplies the reason we seek to be guided by Scripture in our prayers and in our response to God's working in our lives. We "ask amiss" if we knowingly or inadvertently make request of our Lord to do anything that conflicts with the Biblical revelation of His character, nature, and way (James 4:3). We may also become discouraged when our prayers go unanswered if we fail to remember that our understanding of God's ways is far from perfect even when our intentions are good and we seek to pray in the light of His Word. Again, we may ask the Lord to do that which He cannot do, namely, to move His hand in a manner that conflicts with His heart.
Few truths should more lead us to our knees and face in awed and grateful adoration. Indeed, Somebody exists whose heart is comprised of a purity of love whereby He must always act in accordance with who He is. "Praise the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good" (Jeremiah 33:11). This may mean that times will come when our prayers go unanswered because God will not and cannot violate His character and purposes as He works for our best interests. Such times are not easy. However, unanswered prayers confirm rather than conflict with our Lord's perfect faithfulness. He must be who He is, and we desperately need Him to act accordingly. He will, and this moment provides opportunity to find that place on our knees to praise and thank the omnipotent God for that which He can and cannot do.
"The LORD liveth in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness."
"All His works are done in truth."
'The LORD our God is righteous in all His works which He doeth."
Weekly Memory Verse
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.