We were driving to a family function one late afternoon, and the kids were already tired and impatient as we had been in the car for a while. What should have been an hour long journey seemed to take forever with the constant traffic and road works.
I too was getting a bit agitated as the kids were taking it in turns to ask “how long till we get there” “when would we get there” on and on they went.
At the time, my boys were almost 7 & 8 and my daughter was just 3 years old. We stopped at a service station and got some snacks, stretched our legs, got some sweets and started our journey.
I thought everyone would be okay and I was hoping the kids would fall asleep especially my daughter. Instead, she started screaming and crying in the car. SHE WANTED TO SIT ON MY LAP.
We were on the motorway, and I was driving the car. How did she think she could sit on my lap? There were times when we sat in the car and while we waited to pick up the boys from school and I had let her play with the steering wheel but this was not one of those times.
I said no and tried to ignore her whining and crying. But she just kept on screaming and asking to drive, asking to sit on my lap.
Her request was not only ridiculous, it was extremely unsafe for her and everyone else in the car, and as much as I tried to explain this to her, she was adamant on what she wanted. She just didn’t care.
Knowing what was best for her and us all, I point blank refused to allow her sit on my lap. She was so persistent, and I was getting frustrated by this because she had honestly been crying for a long time about something I was not going to do.
I began to pray for patience, and I actually said out loud, “God, please make her stop this crying.” And then I decided to just ignore her. I turned the radio up and just kept driving.
Then I realised something. I had been praying to God about a particular situation for a while, and I had not seen any change nor had any answers. God was quiet.
I was silently angry with God because I felt like He had been ignoring me and not listening to me; He was not giving me what I wanted. I had prayed, I had fasted, I had cried and begged God but still NOTHING!
It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I was behaving like my 3 year old. What if what I thought I wanted so desperately from God wasn’t what I needed at that time?
The truth is many times we think we know what’s best but we don’t always have the capacity to understand the implication of our demands. We can’t always see the big picture and the consequences that lay ahead.
What if God answered all our prayers? Can you see how dangerous that can be? As little kids ourselves in Gods eyes, we could be asking Him for things that would not only harm us, but could also harm the people around us.
Imagine if I let my daughter sit on my lap while driving on the motorway just because that was what she wanted and asked for? She could not comprehend the danger in her request but as her mother who loved her, I could so I said no.
The Holy Spirit reminded me of Proverbs 3:5 (NIV): “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Do you trust God? You should because He is a good God and He knows exactly what is best for us.
Sometimes His silence to our prayers and requests is for our own good. His response may not always be no, it may be a not now. His silence may mean wait a bit longer, be patient.
When I did get to my destination, I let my daughter sit on my lap like she wanted and she enjoyed her time with me, but it was at the right time.
If you feel like you have been praying without a result or asking God for something without the response you want, know this – God has heard you.
But God will not let you sit on His lap whilst He is driving no matter how long you ask and cry for it to happen. He loves you too much to let anything bad happen to you.
So the next time you are struggling with unanswered prayers, think about it with a new perspective. God is not being mean, God is not being silent, instead He may be preventing you from something that could harm you.