Easter & Unanswered Prayers

I love Easter. Not because of the caramel-covered chocolate bunnies, even though they’re an added bonus, but due to the amazing historical event. A perfect man crucified – not a penalty for His wrongdoings, but for the world. Then, three days later … He beats all the odds. Good conquers evil. Victory over death.

I’m also interested by how this event unfolded and some of the life lessons learned along the way- the humility and servanthood when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, the last meal shared with friends, betrayal and one of my most favorite parts – the prayer.

Prayer has always been fascinating to me. When prayers are answered my way, I am content and happy. When prayers go unanswered or I don‘t get the response I want, I’m sad and doubtful. I question. Then, I’m reminded of the Easter story. Jesus himself prayed for God to take away the pain that was coming. He asked for a Plan B. He requested another path because He knew pain, torture and death were approaching. Jesus was the most perfect man that ever lived, yet His prayer was not answered the way He wanted. Even though He made the request, the wise Jesus also ended His prayer by saying … I want your will, not mine, to be done.[1]

I met a really cool guy this week who reminded me about this important life lesson. I was at Carter’s swimming practice on Monday when a middle-aged man in a wheelchair motioned for me to come over. I assumed he needed help, but he asked to share his story. I was curious and a little nervous about what I was about to hear. I leaned down to listen carefully because his speech was slurred. He had been a vibrant, healthy teenager and in his words – “dating lots of cute girls” – but then, he and his friend were in an auto accident. Drinking and driving after a night of partying. He was permanently paralyzed as a result. He didn’t blame God, he even acknowledged that it was because of a poor decision he had made. He took full responsibility for his own choice, which I admire greatly.

After the accident, this man’s prayers were never answered. He hasn’t been able to walk in years, yet he is telling his story about how much God loves him. He is using a bad situation to help others. Good over evil. He wanted me to share this with my children and I did. He ended by asking, “Can you please tell my story to your friends?”

If God had changed His plan because of Jesus‘ prayer, we would not have Easter to celebrate. Without the death, there would be no resurrection. No eternal life. Jesus says in John 22:16, “So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.”

So, the next time I question how God responds to my prayer, I’m going to remember that God’s plans are always better than mine. God knows the big picture, I don’t. His plan for my life may not be pain-free (until heaven), but it is always the right path. With God in charge, victory follows!


[1] Jesus said, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26:39

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