God's Gift: Unanswered Prayer
This article is written by The Rural Sisterhood contributor Richelle Barrett
"Sometimes, I thank God
For unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talking
To the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers..."
That song. One of my very favorite Garth Brooks songs, it always makes me tear up and stop and really think about the power of prayer.
I believe that prayer works, even when those of us involved in agriculture constantly send up a lot of prayers that seemingly go unanswered.
Prayers for rain in a drought; prayers for sunshine in a flood. Prayers for warmer weather after weeks of below- zero temps in winter; prayers for a cold front to move in when July days just hover in the 90’s. Our prayers for grain markets to go up, for cattle prices to increase, for the dairy industry to stabilize, appear to fall on deaf ears.
Those unanswered prayers stress us out. Make us fret. They eat at our sense of comfort and security. They make us doubt He even cares at all. We know better, but it is so hard to keep believing when times get tough.
How do you keep the faith?
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6
How does He expect us to go on? How does He expect us to get up, morning after morning, to just keep going deeper and deeper into debt? Why does God do this to us? He could just send some rain. I mean, why does he have to flood out one part of the country and starve the rest of the land without water? It just isn’t fair.
The Bible doesn’t say anything about God making life fair.
There are no passages about how if you just believe enough, pray enough, be good enough, that God will grant our every prayer and keep all hardships at bay. We all know it, but dang it, it is so hard to understand.
As if the agriculture industry isn’t stressful enough, it seems like we have to be ready to defend our livelihood at every turn. I wish animal activists and vegetarians could be respectful of our choice to raise cattle and other livestock for food, just as they want us to be respectful of their desire not to eat meat. I send a prayer or two up everyday for the Lord to keep a steady hand on my shoulder while checking social media, because I have learned you can’t argue with hateful people. Just be respectful, and choose battles wisely. Those prayers feel like they are never heard either, with all the internet trolls and the like out there. But I still pray them, and keep moving on.
So just how do I keep the faith when it seems like we can rarely get in a small win against weather that just won’t cooperate?
How do I force myself to get up everyday and keep fighting the battle against a foe I can’t always see coming?
Why do I defend myself, my life, and our contribution to the world when it feels like the world is against us at every turn?
Why do you do it?
The truth is, we keep doing it because we love it. I keep sending up prayers, even when I know that so many will go seemingly unanswered. Sometimes, we lose sight of living for the long haul. We live on auto-pilot, just trying to survive from day to day.
Here’s the catch: maybe He doesn’t send rain, to remind us to manage our finances in the bad years. Maybe He sends fire to help heal his fields, even though it may hurt us in the short term. Maybe He doesn’t stop the trolls from attacking us, because He knows that there is evil in each and every one of us, and is trying to teach us to turn the other cheek. I don’t know this for sure, but when you stop and think about it, this theory might not be too far off from the truth.
God placed us in the ag industry because He needs people to tend to His land and His flock.
He has a plan, and even though He isn’t always going to answer our prayers for good markets, seasonal weather, or for the chance to buy more land, I know it isn’t because He doesn’t hear or doesn’t care.
He wants us to keep the faith, to keep praying, and to understand that some of His greatest gifts, truly are, unanswered prayers.
Richelle is a busy mom of two little girls and wife to a city-boy turned cowboy- rancher- trucker. She works at a local telephone cooperative, along with managing the books for her family truck business, and operating a small cake & cupcake business out of her house. She is a blogger, amateur photographer, beef producer, and cowgirl. She love horses, good books, spring wildflowers, country music, and scratch-made meals. She is excited for the opportunity to share a bit of her heart with all her rural sisters!
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