It was a popular country song when I was in high school. To tell the truth, I still like the song by Garth. The lyrics have caused me to think back to some of my own prayers and the answers I have received. But it was an Adventures in Odyssey episode that gave me a new perspective on the thanksgiving for "Unanswered Prayers."
The storyline of this AIO episode takes a character named Digger back in time to Jesus' death and resurrection. He is immersed into the historical happenings and even becomes a voice in the crowd. Being in the situation, Digger forgets the outcome of the events and fights to protect Jesus from an unfair fate. He joins the disciples and followers of Jesus as they fear for Jesus' life.
I have listened to the episode and have read the Easter story several times but suddenly it took on new meaning. Looking at the story through the eyes of Jesus' friends, I began wondering how they handled the situation and how they would have felt watching the situation play out. I imagined them praying, pleading with God, and begging for the truth to be known for their friend Jesus.
I imagine conversations going something like this:
Did you hear the latest?Sound familiar to a conversation that you have had lately? Maybe concerning someone who is sick or a situation where justice needs to occur?
Yes! It doesn't sound good! Can you believe it?
No! He needs a miracle! Please tell everyone you know and ask them to pray!
Thinking through these possible conversations, I realized that the very thing that Jesus' friends were praying for would have been the exact opposite of what they needed!
See, if God would have answered their prayers, Jesus would have never died, been buried, and risen again.
Let that sink in.
With this is mind, think to your last unanswered prayer.
For me, this is an easy question. I immediately think of my sister whom God decided not to heal on this side of Heaven. Her death is an "unanswered prayer" in my life.
But in light of what God showed me by way of a child radio drama, I have to trust that "no" was the best answer to our prayers. Trusting that once God allows me to see the whole picture, I will truly be able sing "I thank God for unanswered prayers."
The Adventures in Odyssey episode that I am referring to is found on Adventures in Odyssey: Daring Deeds, Sinister Schemes (Gold Audio Series #5) and is called "The Imagination Station, Part 1 and 2."