“Why, God?” is an age-old question. Maybe you know the experience of praying for something and the request was not answered the way you wanted. Sadly, some will assume God is cursing them for something they did wrong in the past. Even the disciples asked Jesus if the man born blind was the result of his sin or his parents’ sin (John 9:2).

First of all, our wrongs were covered by Jesus’ cross because He absorbed the sin of the world. Therefore, He took upon Himself any punishment coming our way; He died the death we should have died. This means “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

When our prayers go unanswered, some may say it’s from lack of faith. But if God was to answer every one of our prayers in the affirmative, He would be nothing more than a “Cosmic Santa,” making us God and Him our servant.

So, Jesus gave the disciples an intriguing answer, “This happened so the works of God might be displayed in Him” (John 9:3). This implies the Lord takes our situations and uses them to reveal Himself. Mark Batterson points out, there is a big difference between praying away and praying through a challenging circumstance. Sometimes prayer should be a request to get us through a situation rather than get us out of it. We are invited to lift up prayers of deliverance, but there are times we need to pray, “God, give me the grace to sustain and the strength to stand firm.”

God uses our trials to cultivate our spiritual lives. We’re so focused on God changing our troubles that we repeat our patterns and don’t allow God to change us. So instead of 10 or 20 years of experience, we have one year of experience 10 or 20 times.

Most of our prayers have personal comfort as the chief objective, rather than God’s glory. These are often near-sighted prayers that would short circuit God’s perfect plan. They are situations we need to simply pray through.

We can have peace when our prayers aren’t answered as desired because God promises to hear us. Even when the answer is “no,” praise Him. It probably means He has a better answer. Prayers can change our circumstances, but when they don’t, it is an indication God is changing us!