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Trial by Prayer (3)
When we face unanswered prayer, we join the company of the Savior himself. Jesus - knowing that he was about to take the sins of the world upon his innocent self, anticipating the wrath of God that would be poured out on him as he hung upon the cross - pleaded with his Father, asking if there was any other way to accomplish the redemption of mankind. There was no other way, and Christ endured the utmost agony. Yet looking back on those events, Hebrews 5:7 can say, "In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence." Jesus prayed fervently to be spared the gruesome death on the cross, and his prayer was seemingly unanswered, but he was heard. He was saved from death, but that salvation took the form of resurrection after the cross, so that such salvation could extend to sinners like you and me. God the Father answered the prayers of God the Son, not specifically in the way that Jesus asked, but in an infinitely better way. What sweet solace, then, the gospel provides to us when our prayers seem to linger unanswered! The Savior, too, has cried loudly and wept deeply when his Father seemed to turn a deaf ear to him. He suffered the anguish of yearning and waiting and being denied, and he sympathizes with me when I petition over and over again. In fact, he now presents my petitions to the Father, intercedes on my behalf. I can trust that I too am heard, not because of my reverence but because of Christ's reverence. And I can rest assured that I too will receive an answer that far surpasses the best solution that I can imagine. In the midst of unanswered prayer, I have a blessed confidence in my Savior because "although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him" (Heb. 5:8-9). As I keep pleading for children, I hope to learn obedience through my suffering, and I know that God has already bestowed on me the best blessing in the hope of the gospel.