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Impasse

He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now,
if He takes pleasure in Him … (Matt. 27:43)

God didn’t deliver Jesus. He didn’t come through. To the bystanders who were watching, God did absolutely nothing. No deliverance came and the tragedy dragged out to the end. The logical conclusion? God did not "take pleasure in Him." Somehow, Jesus fell short of the requirements.

That’s still one of Satan’s most poisonous darts: "I trusted God and He didn’t answer my prayer." And the logical conclusions that the "voice of the stranger" will suggest to me? "He doesn’t care. I don’t know how to pray. It just isn’t fair. I try so hard. What do I have to do to meet His requirements? Why do others have these miraculous things happen and I don’t? He answers their prayers. I guess I’m just not the Christian that some other folks are. But I’ll just say this, God: ”If You came to give me abundant life, then one of us is completely off base. What am I doing wrong?”"

Life is full of disappointments and we do our best to meet them one way or the other. Usually, we tie a knot at the end of the rope and hold on for dear life–with oil-slick hands; or we tighten our belt a notch and stand tall; our head is "bloody, but unbowed." People let us down, a tenured job is unexpectedly terminated with severance pay, our beloved child is tragically maimed or killed–all kinds of circumstances beyond our control buffet us. But, when it seems that God has disappointed us, this is the ultimate, shattering disappointment.

Remember Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus? We trusted … and it didn’t work out like we had hoped. Our Messiah is gone. Their shoulders were bent. They were weary. They were sad. Disillusioned. Confused. Without hope.

Do you suppose Paul, entreating the Lord for deliverance from his affliction, might have wondered at the apparent deadlock as he prayed? I won’t put words in his mouth, but for some reason he asked three times. Paul, our mentor. Paul, who wrote the major portion of the New Testament. That Paul. Incredulous!

Jesus told his disciples, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death," as He agonized with God about intervening in the horrible torture, the humiliation, the heartbreaking rejection that loomed before Him. And who knows the mind of God? But He did ask three times. Have you ever really pondered that single event in His life? The Messiah. Jesus, the Christ. The Son of God. He knew the inevitable. He prayed. He prayed again. He understands what you and I experience. God said, No. He reached an impasse where no other choice was open to Him.

And when this impasse comes, the Deceiver begins his insidious, undermining process. I have listened to his wretched lies. Lies about Jesus and His love, His power, His fairness. Questions. Doubts about His integrity. Thoughts that invade my thinking processes and violate my innocence as this new creature in Christ Jesus.

What do I really know about this Deity to whom I have willfully submitted myself, acclaiming Him to be the Force that controls my world? I want to believe that He is the miraculous healer of the New Testament. That Jesus who made the lame to walk and the blind to see with just a word . But I do not have that kind of evidence of Jesus in my life.

The doctor spoke with unyielding authority when Mason’s final test was analyzed: "Your son is incurably ill and will be hopelessly retarded." Oh, how I prayed. I fasted. I asked others to pray and I prayed the prayer of faith … and it was still true. It really was hopeless … and it really was incurable. I trusted … but it didn’t work out the way I had planned.

And when they found they could save only pieces of each kidney in Wade…. Did I not pray "right" in the chapel when I asked the Lord to heal him? He made blind eyes to see. He could make kidneys work.

Unrelenting pain. Surgeries. One after another — unsuccessful. And with every tear the hurt is multiplied — how many times over?

In desperation I pleaded with Him. "What is it? I didn’t pray enough? My prayer wasn’t ”fervent”? Maybe I should have fasted for three weeks like Daniel did? I’m not praying according to Your regulations? The words were wrong? The posture? The place? My faith is not great enough? I must convince You to move on my behalf because of MY great and impressive faith? I must find the right combination that will cause You to do what I ask? Where is the miracle- working God of Elijah? Where?"

Haven’t most of us come to such an impasse? I trusted, and He didn’t deliver … and it seems that God has turned his back on us. That may seem to happen. But it does not happen. Never, never, never does it happen.

I do not believe that God is a God of "technicalities." Furthermore, I believe that God hears and answers every sincere prayer of the Christian. God heard Paul’s plaintive petitions. God heard Jesus cry out to Him. And those prayers were answered. Just as my prayers are answered. But there are those times when God says, "No. I have other plans that are far more wonderful than you can imagine. Plans you could not understand. Plans for good, not for evil. Plans to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 9: 11-13). We will go with My plans this time."

Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common
bush afire with God; and only he who sees takes off his shoes —
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Incurable. But they couldn’t see where they were going. They were blind. He made them see. They couldn’t hear and He took away their deafness. They were stumbling and falling. They were lame. He made them walk again with vigor and purpose and hope. For if a person is whole in spirit, even a damaged body will merely be the vessel through which others see His beauty.

So it is settled. It isn’t that I trusted. It is that I trust. I know my God. I have chosen to allow Him to face my circumstances, for every circumstance met in His power is a supernatural victory. I will pray, but I will accept this understanding: He has instructed me to present my needs to Him, to petition, to intercede, to ask for deliverance. I am being an obedient Christian as I tell Him what I would like for Him to do. But I do not have the prerogative — nor do I want the prerogative — of telling Him what to do. Such decisions are for an omniscient, infallible, kind and loving God to make. This thing I must remember: The battle is His — and I trust Him.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.