Since I live in Nashville, I listen to country music. I've
noticed over the last few years that I have migrated to Celtic folk music,
acoustic remakes of rock standards and singer/songwriters. I think it is the
story, the lyrics that I am drawn to. Country has great hooks. I can think of
a dozen right off the top of my head. Here’s a quarter, call someone who
Garth Brooks has made popular some really great hooks. One in particular was a title cut, Thank God For Unanswered Prayer. It has a strong story line, great video and a memorable performance. You may remember the boyfriend praying earnestly for the love of his life to reciprocate his feelings, but alas it was not to be. Broken hearted, his life continues, he falls in love, marries and has a family. Then predictably, years later he runs into the “old flame” and after a brief encounter reflects on God’s unanswered prayer for that relationship. Great hook, nice story and sweet ending; they live happily ever after.
Well, here's an interesting observation. In reading all of the red letters in our Book, nowhere do I see God's Son mention “unanswered prayer”. There are many references to prayer, how to pray, when to pray and why to pray. It's almost as if God is giving us the very clear and simple message, I always answer prayer.
The rub comes when our expectations don't meet up with His answer. An answer can come loud and clear or soft as a whisper--or even in the silence of a still, quiet moment of solitude. Answers are hard to define at times. We set an expectation, a particular outcome and the situation is not resolved to our satisfaction. While intellectually we know that this lack of action is in and of itself a response, our denial does not allow us to accept this “answer”. It is the expectation, not the answer that creates our anxiety.
So the great hook sung by a great artist isn't really a truth, it's just a good hook. I’m sure that Garth will be OK with this disclosure--something about selling more units then anyone else in history. He did sing a lot of songs that have great truth though. I’m sure he has friends in low places…