This can be the scales on the eyes for even the Christian who’s been a follower for a long time. We may take a verse or principle we learnt of God’s character and look at it not knowingly in an immature way and when what we desire doesn’t come to fruition or things just get worse then our faith in God, our relationship with Him takes a hit.
What do you do when you are expecting an answer from God but what arrives isn’t what you wanted or expected?
There was a woman who worked for a large company in Auckland. She had diligently worked her way up in the firm doing extra hours her salary didn’t cover, taking the right training courses to further her development. Then she finds herself redundant due to an economic contraction. She has to sell her place she can no longer afford, work is hard to come by, and the doors in Auckland all close and she moves back home to her small rural town with her ageing parents. The next six months are spent in prayer and bewilderment about losing her livelihood and house she had worked so hard for.
This time however with her parents has been a blessing. She has reconnected with her aging parents that previously the pursuit of career had left her time poor to do. The time spent with her parents helps to heal old wounds and see them for the caring, loving but broken people they are too.
In this scenario, ask yourself, where was God in this? Was He in the unanswered prayer? The closed doors? Or the restoration of the relationship?
Often we can see God moving only in hindsight. We don’t always have answers to why God allows such things and why he doesn’t allow others.
The people who should have identified Jesus from the scriptures, the theologians of their day, the ‘Holy People’ the pharisees missed seeing God’s answer to the worlds problem through Jesus even after they had seen and had eyewitnesses of the miracles He performed. Eventually the Pharisees even avoided their own wise counsel from one of their own (Gamaliel Acts 5:38) and ended up on the wrong side of Gods plan. They missed it because their expectation was that God was going to do something and God answered in a completely different way that blessed so many more.
When we bring our desired outcomes to God, we need to recognize that His answer is what is best for us. It might not be what we are looking for, but He promises to meet our needs.
The Rolling Stones wrote a song with the line ‘You can’t always get what you want… but you get what you need’. There is a truth in this that God promises to provide for our needs (Philippians 4:19). When He does meet a need for you it may not always look like what we expect to see but it will meet our needs.
The simple antidote when our hearts don’t get what we were expecting, or when there is disappointment around unanswered prayer is to meditate upon the cross. When we look upon the sufferings of Christ to fulfill our most basic human need of forgiveness and mercy so we can be restored to our creator we find there that our Saviour is more than capable of meeting our needs above and beyond what we could hope or imagined and that He has our absolute best in mind, He wants great for us not just good.
One last question, why are you following Jesus today? Is it to have a need met? To have your faith revived? To witness a moving of His Spirit? Is it to be healed?
We all come with different motives for following Jesus, but lets not be put off when His answers to us challenge us, lets not be blind to the answer to prayer that seems to be an answer we weren’t expecting.
We need to be the ones who bend to His will, and not expect God to bend to ours.
 A right reason for falling away from faith (not that it is right) is if a person just cannot abide who Jesus said He was or finds offense in His teaching about being the only way. After thoroughly looking and searching who Jesus is and the scriptures does not open their heart to Him. God is a gentleman and does not force himself upon anyone.