When Our Prayers Aren't Answered the Way We Hoped

By Carly Webber

God's Brave Women - Carly's Story


Have you ever begged God so hard for a thing that you thought it might just break you? If I just squeeze my eyes shut even tighter, clasp my hands as hard as I can grip them, add a thousand “please God’s” along with a thousand tears, maybe just maybe he will do this thing I am asking?


That thing I desperately begged God for was the healing of my first marriage. It seemed like a pretty worthy cause, as far as us Christians go. I mean, we know God intended for marriage to be for life, so why on earth, for what possible reason, would God not heal my marriage? Surely it was a request worthy of honoring?


I remember the day like it was yesterday. If I close my eyes I can still feel the pain of a fresh wound as though it occurred just seconds ago, despite the fact that years that have passed. Discovering my husband’s affair almost broke me. The pain of the rejection, the questions about my worth and value, all muddled and rolling around in my soul. It took whole years to even put them into words.


"Discovering my husband’s affair almost broke me. The pain of the rejection, the questions about my worth and value, all muddled and rolling around in my soul. It took whole years to even put them into words."

At the time, all I knew was that it hurt, more than anything had ever hurt before. Am I really that unlovable? Do I just ruin relationships? Maybe I’m abandonable, just not worth sticking around for? Boring is basically my middle name, fear my best friend. Why would anyone want to stick around for that?


All my begging and pleading to God didn’t work. It didn’t land me where I’d asked. He didn’t give the healing to my first marriage I so desperately begged him for. I couldn’t tell you if the reason He didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted him to was because of man’s free will, or because of God’s divine sovereignty or maybe a little of both. Maybe that’s exactly what the word sovereignty means, if any of us can ever fully grasp the concept. Maybe that’s close to what it looks like?


I am not sure I’ll ever have a full answer in this life, to that question or to the reason why God didn’t answer my pleadings that day. I can’t tell you I understand it all now or that I got all the answers I’m searching for, but I did get some answers. They weren’t necessarily the answers I was looking for, but apparently the answers God wanted to give. Answers to questions, I didn’t even know I was asking.


I thought the brave choice was the choice to stay and, in the end, it turned out the bravest (and scariest choice) was the choice to leave.


"I thought the brave choice was the choice to stay and, in the end, it turned out the bravest (and scariest choice) was the choice to leave."

The choice to leave left me without my good Christian girl identity, the one I’d had since birth. It left me face to face with all the idols I’d placed my hope in, namely the good Christian marriage. It left me alone, holding my scarlet D, trying to figure out who I was and where I belonged now.


I am not saying that is always the choice one must make in this circumstance, or even that it is always the bravest choice, but for me it was. Amongst the church, it's not always the popular choice, and it was the choice I knew I had to make. I learned quickly that strong opinions abound on this subject, particularly if you aren’t the one facing the choice. And I had to choose if I was going to live for the opinion of people, or for the opinion of God.


"I learned quickly that strong opinions abound on this subject, particularly if you aren’t the one facing the choice. And I had to choose if I was going to live for the opinion of people, or for the opinion of God."

While I still don’t understand it all - free will and God’s sovereignty, there is one thing I do understand. That question I had asked God, the one about saving my marriage. He didn't give me the answer I was looking for. But all those other questions...the ones I didn’t even realize I was asking at the time. He answered those. And he has been answering them ever since.


His answer to every one of them was the same. Jesus. Just Jesus.


"That question I had asked God, the one about saving my marriage. He didn't give me the answer I was looking for. But all those other questions... the ones I didn’t even realize I was asking at the time. He answered those... His answer to every one of them was the same. Jesus."

My hope is in Jesus, (I Peter 3:15). My salvation, my glory, my refuge, is in Him alone. (Psalm 62:7-9). I am valuable and worthy of love because he loved me and he chose me as his child (John 1:12, Eph. 1:5). He told me that I don’t have to be afraid anymore because he has given me a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind (Tim.1:7). He may not have answered the question I was desperately seeking an answer to, but he answered all the questions he knew my heart really needed to hear.


"He may not have answered the question I was desperately seeking an answer to, but he answered all the questions he knew my heart really needed to hear."


If you are facing a scary choice today, and you are asking all the questions, I am here to tell you he has your answers. Maybe you already know what choice you need to make. Maybe you are still deciding whose voice it is you are going to listen to. Maybe the thing you are begging for, isn’t really the thing you need an answer to. He has the answers. To all the questions you didn’t even know you needed answers for. He has the answers. And his answer is always Jesus.


Brave Woman Manifesto