Beyond Answered Prayer

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.  (Psalms 16. 5  NRSV) 

I cry to you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’  (Psalms 142. 5  NRSV)

… and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  (Ephesians 3. 19  NRSV)

I made five specific supplications (prayers of request) yesterday, all of them deeply heartfelt and, morally speaking, good … well, just good, period. Of course, I put no time constraints upon God — as if we can do so anyway, and how silly to think this way — and did not necessarily expect those petitions to be answered that day. Guess what? God answered every single one of them!

I was amazed and overwhelmed. I was awestruck and deeply grateful. Naturally, I praised God and thanked Him, and I shared this testimony with my dear sister, who rejoiced with me. But something strange happened after all of this: As I came to the close of the day and readied myself for bed, I felt a kind of let-down, just a bit ‘blah’ inside. Mind you, I was still thankful and still rejoicing in answered prayer … but something seemed missing.

This morning as I was waking up, but still lying in bed, God showed me why I was not feeling as enthusiastic and fulfilled as I thought I should, given all of the answered prayers. In my soul the Spirit whispered and said, “I answered your petitions and you were glad, but those answers didn’t bring the level of satisfaction you expected when you made those requests. The answers failed to bring you the kind of deep joy you anticipated.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because the kind of deep joy and complete satisfaction for which your soul so desperately longs does not come in answered prayer, though answered prayer certainly brings joy; nevertheless, no amount of answered prayer, in and of itself, can ever bring you the joy for which you hunger and thirst. You see, it’s not in answered prayer, or ministry, or miracles, or even my gifts… It’s me! It is me and me alone. God must be your joy and satisfaction.”

Like the Psalmist, then, I have learned to say that God “is my chosen portion and my cup” of salvation and joy. The Lord is “my refuge” of peace and satisfaction, my all-satisfying “portion in the land of the living.” And so to “know the love of Christ that surpasses merely human knowledge” fills me “with all the fullness of God.” The Lord God has become my all-in-all, through all and in everything.

So answered prayer is wonderful, awesome, and certainly reason to give much thanks! But only God can fulfill the deepest longings of our heart; only God can fill and satisfy our souls; only God can be our ultimate and everlasting joy… It’s all about Him and our relationship with Him. Nothing else and no one else can or will even come close to fully satisfying us and bringing us complete love, joy, peace and contentment.

God bless you!


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