Skip to content

Solid Food, Part 3

April 10, 2022

Statue of the Good Shepherd by Sebastian Santos Rojas, Church of Socorro de Ronda, Malaga, Spain, Author Jl FilpoC (CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

All of us have experienced prayers denied. How is this to be reconciled with Jesus’ promise, “ ‘[A]sk, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened for you’ ”(Luke 11: 9)?

Doesn’t belief in God guarantee us our legitimate desires?  Well, not exactly.

  • The first Jewish temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  The Babylonian Captivity lasted 70 years, and began the Jewish diaspora.
  • The second temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The Arch of Titus still stands in Rome portraying the enslaved Jews and booty from the sack of the temple.  Archaeological evidence supports a conclusion that temple treasure funded the building of the Roman Colosseum.
  • Devout Christians throughout history have been persecuted and martyred.
  • Injustice persists to the present day.  Any attorney, anywhere, has come in contact with it.

On the surface, these events would appear to contradict the promise of answered prayer.  Jesus, Himself, in the garden of Gethsemane asked that the cup be taken away.

He …fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will’ ” (Matt. 26: 39).

Those last eight words are key. God’s will is always paramount.  That is not merely a reflection of His supreme power, but His supreme righteousness.  And God’s purposes may not be our own.

We may, for instance, desire success – an entirely acceptable goal. But success for Christians is not measured in worldly terms, by readership or dollars in a bank.

We were created to know, love, and serve an all holy God.  Success in that endeavor is measured by the quality of our faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13: 13) – in other words, by degree of sanctification.

Sanctification is the progressive maturation by which the Holy Spirit shapes us to become holier and more Christlike.  Suffering is an essential tool in the process.  It is not something God “inflicts”, but rather something He can and does use toward His good purposes (Rom. 8: 28) [1].

If we have a sense of justice, it is derived from God. His knowledge of past, present, and future allows for perfect justice on a scale we cannot imagine.  In the near term, however, we battle injustice.  Indeed, it is a part of His plan that those of us called to the law do that.

Of course, inequity is not limited to the courtroom.  Some are born into poverty; some into wealth.  Some endure lifelong disability; others are rarely ill in their lives.  Some are exposed to the ravages of war at an early age; others are never called upon to defend their country.  God alone knows each one’s heart.

Psalm 23 can be read as the author’s testament to answered prayer.  It alludes to conditions beyond the control of the author, but not outside the control of God:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures…He restores my soulYea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me…You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…My cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23: 1-6).

We may long for pleasant lives, from time to time. But God knew before He made us the circumstances we would have to face.  He equipped us with that in mind.

Let us pray that His will for our lives be fulfilled…one more morsel of what Paul would call solid food (Heb. 5: 13-14).

[1]  Christians differ about whether Satan must ask God’s permission to attack us.  Job 1 and 2 show Satan requesting such permission.  And Jesus said before Peter’s denials of Him, ” ‘Simon, Simon,  Satan has asked to shift you as wheat’ ” (Luke 22: 31).  However, Satan is, also, described in Scripture as prowling the earth “like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5: 8).

Originally posted 5/23/12


  1. Powerful post Anna, one that resonates deeply with me. In about 2 hours I will be teaching on the call of Jeremiah, and it is a source of great encouragement to me that God called Jeremiah as a prophet to the nations before he was even born.
    I have no doubt that the Lord is still calling people to His service for such a time as this. I believe you to be in that number, for it is plain to see that you have a message to share with the world.
    Blessings to you, my friend, may God continue to pour into you words of encouragement, wisdom, and even rebuke when needed. We surely need them.

  2. Thanks for this balanced perspective, Anna. It makes all the difference.

  3. Anna you have touched on an area with great perspective and depth. At the well in Samaria the disciples asked Jesus if he was hungry and his reply “my meat is to do the will of the one who sent me”
    The table set for me in the presence of my enemies in psalm 23 may well contain food for us our enemies would laugh at us for having to “eat that”. Yet, “that” is what causes endurance, The same species of endurance Christ had “who for the joy set before him ENDURED the cross,…” and we know the result…
    “that” food. Wonderful post Anna. Quite different food I suspect here than at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

  4. Linda Lee Adams/Lady Quixote permalink

    This is so beautiful, Anna. As I read this, I began to hear the words of my favorite old hymn in my mind:
    When peace like a river attendeth my way
    When sorrows like sea billows roll
    Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
    It is well, it is well with my soul!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: