Our last full day on the Big Island in Hawaii taught me a great lesson. So we headed to this green sand beach on the southern part of the island, which by the way involved a 5 mile round trip hike to access. Despite the scorching heat and the distance, the beach and water proved to be well worth the effort for our little family of four. Our two boys did amazing on the trek there and back as they enjoyed the lava flow, sand, clay, and ocean wave landscape along the way.
Once we arrived at the beach, we descended down the rather steep but totally manageable path to the bay and beach below where amazing views rewarded us. After lathering on fresh sunscreen, I proceeded to wade out into the water and check on the intensity of the waves and undertow. Next I carried my younger son (9 years old) out to experience what real ocean waves feel like, and he did great jumping with me over each one.
Last I walked my 12 year old son out to experience the same thing. As we jumped over the waves, a guy on the shore drinking a beer kept shouting suggestions to us. His dark tanned skin and knowledge of the ocean made it seem obvious he was a local familiar with the conditions. The last suggestion I recalled him saying was to remove our glasses. Well although I heard him, we are both blind without our glasses, especially me!
Suddenly, here it came. A bigger wave began building and by the time it rolled near us, it’s size became evident. Now don’t think this was some massive rogue wave. It really wasn’t all that tall, but it was over our heads. Although I tried to get both of us to jump, swim, and float over the top, it crashed over our heads and took both of us under water. When we both were able to stand up, my other son shouted from the shore something like… “oh no your glasses!” Instantly I knew everything around me was blurry. I looked at Elias and the same realization came on his face. My mind raced with all sorts of worries about functioning with practically zero capable clear vision.
Instantly I prayed, God please please help us find our glasses! Right at that time there was another guy on a wakeboard a few feet further into the water than us. I felt God nudge me to ask him for help, and so I did. The dude looks at me kinda odd, but reluctantly agrees. Almost immediately as he keeps swimming, his hand grasps a pair of glasses! He turns back to me rather startled and says, “here are these the ones?” I was like praise God yes, those are mine!!
So I kept praying to now get a second miracle and find Elias’ glasses. Searching up and down the beach each time the waves crashed, I looked as intently as I could at each roll of sand churning in the waves. I asked just about half of the people in the water to help look for them as they swam around. We prayed hard, looked desperately, asked many for help, but in the end we never did find my son’s glasses. He was initially crushed and as a father I found myself willing to do anything to take his pain of loss and worry away.
Now why I am I sharing this story on here? Well I find it interesting how God answered one prayer in a certain way and the similar followup prayer differently. There is a passage in the New Testament where Jesus says that the Father will not give His son a scorpion if he asked Him for a fish. I prayed that passage all up and down that beach, but was honestly left with much frustration at why God had heard my prayer but seemingly left me and my son’s prayer for his glasses ignored.
On the 2.5 mile walk back, I vented frustration to my wife and she reminded me to trust God no matter what. I was like yeah I know, but I’m frustrated with Him honestly. I worked through my frustration as God reminded me of an important lesson regarding frustration and I was then able to use it as a great teaching opportunity.
Also in the New Testament, we see examples where prayers weren’t answered in the way they were prayed or where trials were allowed to meddle with people's lives. Yet, we are still taught in the Bible to place our trust in God no matter the circumstance. But how do we deal with the frustration and disappointment of unanswered prayer?
Answer: we keep trusting God no matter what. I may never know why God miraculously answered the prayer to find my glasses in those rolling waves but not my son’s pair. However, I do know that God is trustworthy regardless of what does or doesn’t happen. God’s ways are higher than our ways.
So no matter what you face right now, God can be trusted even in the frustration and the loss that isn't fixed. Does your loss of that relationship or that important thing you once owned or even a past life you see slipping away cause you great disappointment and frustration? Does the hard road of treatment, recovery, or supporting that loved on still suffering in addiction weigh your heart down? Why does God seem to answer that prayer for someone else only to see your prayer seem ignored?
It's at these moments, that we MUST keep praying and never giving up. God is good no matter what. You might find Him answering a prayer in a miraculous way, only to leave another very important prayer unanswered. Look for what He may be teaching you through the process. Trust Him and keep moving forward.
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