When Answered Prayers Don’t Look Like You Expected

When I was editing this post, Ruth came to mind. Imagine her as a young woman, before she married Mahlon. I’m sure she was full of hopes. She may have wanted a husband, a family, and a good place to call home. Though she did not know God, he still had a plan for her life. 

She married Mahlon, started a family, but all too soon it was taken away from her.

After her husband died, Ruth must have antagonized a lot, wondering what was to become of her life, and why God had not answered her prayers like she expected him to. We know what happens next. At this point, God was working a plan into action. He was answering Ruth’s prayers and hopes, but not in a way that Ruth expected.

Later on, Ruth followed Naomi back to Jerusalem. She married a wonderful man and started a beautiful home. Although she did not know it, Ruth became the great grandmother of David, from whose house, Christ was born.

A couple of days ago, I had a nostalgic moment. I was going through the blog posts I have written so far when a thought struck me. A younger version of me came to memory, and so did the dreams and aspirations I had back then.

Then I remembered a prayer I made when I was about ten. This was a time before I got saved, and before I dedicated my life to Christ. But I used to pray now and then because I was raised in a Christian home. You can read my salvation story over here.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: At ten years, I prayed that I would inspire and give hope to other people. Back then, inspiration for me did not necessarily have to be Christian-based. Now, so many years later, I can finally see that God answered that prayer.  

Does it look like I expected it to look? Not really. 

Did I recognize it immediately? Not at all. 

In fact, I am only recognizing that God has answered this prayer a year after it happened.

It’s not happening on a big stage as I expected. I’m not inspiring thousands of people like I thought I would. When I dig a little deeper, I can start to recognize how God has answered my prayer through this little ministry blog.

In all honesty, not a lot of people flock to this blog. Somedays all I hear is crickets. But now I see the answered prayer. Through this little blog, I know I am impacting a life or two. Somehow, through the articles I post, I am encouraging someone to hold on, to trust God, and be thirsty for his word.

It didn’t play out like I thought it would, but this answered prayer has taught me that God’s ways are not my own. His ways are higher than mine, and my life is his to direct. I can only trust, pray and get moving to where he calls me- however little it may look.

Now that I’ve come to see this revelation, I want to be intentional with the prayers I make. You can join me too if you like. Here is what I plan to do:

1) Keep a prayer journal.

I already have a bible study journal, but to make my prayer requests easier to access, I’ll add a prayer journal. This way, I can keep track of all y prayers (Not because God is Aladin’s Genie dishing out my requests), but because I want to remember to be grateful for answered prayers.

A prayer journal will also be a great way to remember patience, and thanksgiving even when God is yet to answer my prayers.

2) Carry the good forward

Again, I understand that all of God’s goodness is not a result of my own. God is still faithful, even when we are faithless. And even when we don’t deserve an inch of his love, he loves us still.

Just like God has been gracious to grant the desires of my heart, I would start carrying the good forward by fulfilling someone’s need as directed by God. It could be a simple call, a gift voucher, prayer, or whatever else God will guide me to.

What prayer did God answer, only for you to understand later on? I’m looking forward to hearing of your blessings.

Additional resources:

A short story on Ruth

Some leadership lessons from Ruth

when prayers are answered in an unexpected way, facebook banner

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