Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24
What if you could insert coins into a vending machine and receive anything you wanted? Well, it happened…
Several years ago we visited the Georgia Aquarium which was completely amazing and also happens to be next door to the Coca Cola Factory. We opted against the coke tour after our morning at GA and settled near some picnic tables between the two buildings and next to a public restroom. Several coke machines lined one side of the restrooms. We noticed groups of people seemed to be fascinated with the machines, enough to pique our curiosity. After a few moments, we scooted closer to see what the big deal was. A boy inserted his coins but instead of dispensing a cold drink, the machine spit out a soccer ball. And then a 2-liter coke. And then free passes to the Coca Cola Factory. Drink koozies. T-shirts. And finally, a cold, 16 oz Coca-cola.
This happened to every single person who deposited coins into the machine. What a fun machine!
So maybe they didn’t receive anything they wanted, but they got a lot more than they bargained for!
When a machine claims to hold a certain product, you expect a certain product to be dispensed into your waiting arms, right? Of course.
Years ago, I treated God as one of those vending machines. I thought I had every right to insert my prayers and receive the answer I expected. Every Sunday I graced the seat in my church, singing along with the worship, taking notes, and making it through to the next week. I loved people. I helped them. Even during the week, I had a personal quiet time with God.
I loved him and he loved me.
And then one day, he didn’t answer my prayer the way I asked. It was a really big prayer and needed a big answer.
You see, my mom had a heart attack and they said it didn’t look good. They didn’t think she’d make it. But I prayed, begging God to save her life. I knew he would because he loved me.
But he didn’t.
She died that day.
I have peace and know I’ll be reunited with her one day because she knew Jesus personally. Of course, that didn’t help the pain and my emotions fluctuated from being angry with God during the day and crying my eyes out at night, seeking comfort from my Bible. Grief is a long process, but I need you to know something I learned from it all.
God is still good. Even though my mom isn’t here anymore, he is still God and still good. All the time. And all the time, he is good.
If you’re alive, you’ll face hardship and you’ll hurt. It’s hard to understand why things don’t work in our favor sometimes, but I want you to know that God is always in control even when we don’t see what he sees. When you pray and God doesn’t answer your prayer the way you wanted, he is STILL GOOD.
He is still sovereign. And he loves you very much.
Have you too been guilty of treating God like a vending machine? The Bible says we should pray in faith, believing he will answer, but when the answer isn’t what we expect, remember—He is still good.
- Can you think of a time when God didn’t answer your prayer the way you expected?
- What was your response?
- Read Mark 11:19-26. In this context, what does verse 24 mean?