At the front of the sanctuary of our church stands a locked, small, dark brown trunk. In this trunk, as has been every year since December 31, 2006, the top prayer requests for people in our church. Specific requests that we are asking God to answer in 2009. The prayers are placed in there on the last Sunday of the year and are left there until November 1st when the trunk is opened and the prayer requests are sent back to each person. I have not seen them, but for some people it is the salvation of a loved one. For others it is a new job or a raise in their current job. Some are asking to find a spouse. All are requests that are near and dear to each person's heart.
I am no exception. On the last Sunday of 2008, I wrote down the top 8 or 9 requests that I had for 2009. In the past I had made them somewhat generic and not necessarily measurable. Requests like that my daughters grow closer to God or my husband and I grow closer together and to God. This year, however, I asked for some distinctive requests that it would be easy for me to see a yes or a no.
Now, I confess, I forgot to write them someplace other than the card, so I have to wait another 5 weeks before I can see them, but there are a couple that I remember and. Because I work at the church office, I have the distinct pleasure of writing down prayer requests and praises that come in for our prayer team, and I hear or see that God is answering request after request in the Time Capsule. I proceeded to get a tad melancholy (just call me Eeyore) and wondered why God had not answered, but one of mine.
That's when it hit me. The fundamental truth that I have known, probably as long as I have been a Christian, some 28 years, but consistently forget. The one God had to hit me upside the head with a 2x4 to remember. He has answered. He has not forgotten me or ignored me. He has answered, but some of His answers happen to be no.
How many times do we cry and lament that God has not heard me? We tear our sackcloth and wail as though we were King David in the Psalms that the Almighty God has forgotten poor, little ol' me. When He hasn't. He answered, but for some reason we think that the only answer that is truly an answer from God is a yes. However, like any loving parent, sometimes He has to say no to protect us, to correct us, to grow us in His image.
It's so nice to know that I have not been forgotten. I am still a loved and cherished child of the King. He loves me enough to not give me things that are not good for me. He loves me so much He is willing to incur my all-knowing human temper tantrum when I don't get my way, so that He can gently shape and refine my character so I can become even more like Him. How absolutely, unequivocally awesome is that! He loves me enough to say NO!