Don’t Get Bitter

Is it okay to be bitter when you have prayed to God and the answer seems to be ‘No’? How can we cope when we pray for something we feel we need and it seems as though God does not agree? 🤔 Let's discuss.

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Have you ever prayed to God for something and it seems as though it never comes?  We know we should be patient when waiting on God. We know that God’s timing is not our timing. We know that God hears all of our prayers.  

What do we do when it seems as though the answer is ‘No’?

Don’t Get Bitter!

Well, first let’s examine what our humanness reveals when we hear an answer of ‘No’ in our day-to-day lives.  Maybe we have asked our manager at work for a raise. Maybe we have submitted an application for a school and the application has been denied. Maybe you have asked someone you trust for a small favor, knowing you have provided favors for them countless times. The one time you need them, the answer is ‘No’.  In all of the above scenarios, if we are being honest, we may feel emotions of anger and even bitterness bubbling up.

When we want something, in fact, when we feel we need something, it can be very difficult to hear the word ‘No’.  

So, back to our walk with God.  How can we cope when it seems as though God is saying ‘No’?  If we are turning to God in desperation or we are turning to God for something we truly desire, it can be very difficult to accept that the answer is ‘No’. 

3 things to consider when it seems the answer is ‘No’

In the natural world, when it seems as though God is saying ‘No’, we should consider that in fact it may not appear as it seems.  Let’s look at 3 things to consider when it seems as though God is saying ‘No’.

#1 God knows what is best for you.  Let us consider that while we may feel we know exactly what we need, God’s will is always best.  Always. We can be quite naive in thinking that we have all the answers.  All of the answers are not typically what are available to us.  We can only see and hear what is around us.  Even in a digital age of instant access to almost anything, we still have limits on what we can actually perceive when it comes to our day-to-day circumstances.  Only God knows the web of connections between all the elements of our situation:  who is connected, who is impacted, and what the best timing is for all parties involved

#2 God’s answer may actually be ‘Not yet’.  Have you considered that God agrees with your request in prayer and has granted it already, but it is not yet time for the blessing to be revealed?  Have you prayed for a promotion for your job for the last 3 years and you are passed up every year?  Have you considered that while you may feel you are ready, God knows you are not? Perhaps God has given you a promotion in the exact way you seek and orchestrated the steps for you to be ready for that promotion to enter your life when He knows the time is right.

#3 God’s answer may actually be ‘Not what I had in mind’.  As we have touched on already,  we often feel as though we know what is best for us.  What if we do not? What if the very thing we ask for is not aligned with what our full potential is? God knows this very well.  In your prayer for what you think is perfect for you, what you perceive as ‘No’ may very well be ‘Not what I had in mind’.

In all three of these scenarios above, the most important thing we can do is ask for God’s will to be done.  God knows what is best, so let us seek God’s will.  God knows when we are not ready for what we ask in prayer, so let us seek God’s will to follow the timeline that He knows is best.  God knows when what we pray for is not aligned with our perfect path, so let us seek God’s will for what IS our best path.

3 things to do when we feel bitterness or anger towards God

We have discussed 3 things to consider when it seems the answer is ‘No’.  While we may consider these things, they may not completely address our emotions. Let’s explore 3 things we can do when we feel bitterness or anger towards God.

#1 Remember your blessings When we are angry or feeling frustrated, it can be easy to forget the things in life we should be thankful for.  When we feel as though God has said ‘No’ to a prayer, let us consider for a moment to remember all of the times God said ‘Yes’.  Let us be thankful for food and shelter.  Let us be thankful for the provisions we need each day.  In fact, let’s remember that we actually don’t know of all the times God has said ‘Yes’ to our circumstances.  Many times, God may bless us behind the scenes completely unbeknownst to us.  Let us be mindful to remember all of the blessings in our lives.

#2 Remember your actions – Have you considered that the thing for which you seek may require a change in you?  Put your bitterness and ego aside before God. Leave your arrogance and pride at the door.  Ask Him humbly for forgiveness for your bitterness. Perhaps in saying ‘No’, God is saying to us ‘You are not ready’.  If God has said ‘No’ to a prayer, is it possible that there are areas of your lifestyle or your personality that need to be changed? If we are honest, often we know what might be getting in the way of a blessing. If you sincerely don’t know, we can ask God to reveal the obstacles that are in the way of the request in our prayer, including the areas of our lifestyle and even personality that may need adjustments. 

#3 Ask God for guidance and direction – When we are feeling angry at God, we must humbly bring ourselves before Him, the Creator of all things, and ask Him for direction. Remember, God loves you more than you can possibly wrap your head around.  God understands that we have emotions and can feel frustration when things are not clear.  Trusting in God requires faith and sometimes faith can be hard to come by when we are feeling up against the wall in a situation.  What we must remember is that God is willing to lead and guide us.  As I have mentioned 1,000 times, God’s will is the most important thing.  We can trust God, knowing that if we are in difficult circumstances and still ask for His will to be done and His will to be revealed, we can be led on a path that is best for all parties involved.  This requires a posture of surrender from us and in doing so we can actually find freedom in surrender.

Wrap Up

In today’s message, we have discussed several things to consider if we are feeling anger or bitterness toward God.  We also discussed 3 tangible ways we can navigate through these feelings.  God’s love is so absolute, he understands that we have all sorts of emotions.  Joy and sadness, elation and misery, courage and fear. God also knows that we can experience anger when we feel frustrated and afraid. 

Remember, God’s will is what we should seek in all of our circumstances. If we find ourselves approaching anger and bitterness towards God, let us remember His unbounded love and His willingness to reveal His will in our circumstances.  If we can humble ourselves to seek and know God’s will, then we can allow ourselves an opportunity to transform our anger and bitterness into peace and contentment.

Are you interested in discovering more about the guidance offered in this message? Learn more in the companion article Going Deeper with the Word: Don’t Get Bitter


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