S214P11 – The cry in faith: God unchanged by his answer

Psa. 22:29-31

All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

I think most childhoods are marked by regular begging and pleading for one thing or another from a parent or grandparent.  There are toys without which a child’s world would completely fall apart.  There are sneakers without which a kid simply cannot be cool.  These requests for the things that must be had seem critical at the time, and the child can misinterpret what the response to one of those requests means.  Some children might think that the mom who does not buy that toy also does not love them as much as they thought.  Others might think that the dad who does the same has gone from being nice to being mean.  All of a sudden, the answer to that request has determined the character of the one who gave the answer.

We serve a God of an unchanging character.  We know that David knew this because of how often he confesses the same truths about God.  God does not change regardless of what He allows us to endure or how He chooses to answer us.  The way God interacts with us surely tells us about his character, but we cannot decide what his character is by how we perceive or judge those interactions.  God’s word tells us of his character, and everything we experience with him must fit that truth.  If we know that God loves us, then we cannot begin to think that perhaps He does not love us because He does not give us what we request in prayer.  If we know that He provides, then we cannot doubt that truth even when we are in need.  If we allow the answers to our prayers to change what we know to be true of God, then we are not praying as those who actually know him.

David could have changed what he believed about God simply because he found himself in this critical situation.  Before he even prayed, before God even had a chance to answer a prayer, he could have redesigned God based on his circumstances.  When he prayed over and over for the same need without relief, he could have determined that God is different than He claims to be.  This would have been like putting the cart before the horse.  God’s character determines how He answers prayer; his answers do not determine his character.  If we have the wrong perspective, then the results of our interactions with God will do nothing more than lead us to redesigning him over and over.  Father, give us the wisdom to understand how every one of your answers to prayer is a perfect result of your unchanging character.