It's easy to get frustrated as we wait for answers to our most fervent prayers. And sometimes we get so impatient that we try to take actions into our own hands, working diligently toward our own intended results — even if we're not sure it's what God wants.
This is exactly what happens to a high school student named Mandy Abernathy in episode three of "The Encounter." Mandy finds herself looking to date a fellow student named Cole.
We see Mandy seeking God's help throughout the episode, as she prays for assistance talking to Cole and, once she encounters "The Man" (Jesus), she pleads for Christ to grant her prayer: that Cole would ask her out and that the two could start dating.
Listen to this week's podcast devotional on why God sometimes says "No" to our prayers:
Unfortunately, Jesus says, "No" — a response Mandy simply isn't ready to accept. So, she takes matters into her own hands. We can likely relate to Mandy, and can take some powerful lessons away from her story as we live these truths out in our own lives:
Sometimes God's Answers Aren't What We Want to Hear
One of the lines from "The Encounter" that is quite pertinent is: "The best possible answers to [your] questions might also be the hardest to accept."
Sometimes, we don't want to hear that what we want isn't actually what's best for us. Sometimes, we take every possible step to work toward making something happen that might actually be to our detriment. Instead, we should take our cues from the Lord.
Jesus Helps People
We see Mandy's frustration as Jesus tells her he will not be helping her get Cole as a boyfriend. She responds with some skepticism and a stirring message we can likely all relate to in our lives at one point or another:
"I go to Bible study. I pray all the time and I even used to wear one of those 'What Would Jesus Do?' bracelets ... the real Jesus helps people."
It's easy to get frustrated and to assume that prayers not answered in the way we want are prayers that have simply gone unanswered.
It's also easy to blame God for not "helping" us get what we want.
But, again, if what we want will hurt us and an all-knowing Lord fully knows that, why in the world would he give it to us? Sometimes, "help" is a word that takes on the wrong meaning. Sometimes, we don't see the full picture and purpose of our joys and pains.
God's Thoughts Aren't Our Thoughts
Isaiah 55:8-9 is referenced in episode three of "The Encounter," and it's a verse that truly helps us see that the way God looks at the world differs greatly from the way in which human being see things. The scripture reads (NIV):
“'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Our vision is limited to what's before us, but God sees the full, 30,000-foot view. And since He sees the beginning, middle and end, He has the power to guide us to the right decisions — if we ask.
Since God is truly in control, we'd be smart to spend more time handing over the steering wheel to Him.
READ ALSO: 5 Faithful Tips On How To Pray To God
Our Feelings Aren't Our 'Lord'
Another important lesson worth noting is that our feelings can mislead us. Jesus asks Mandy a very powerful question in "The Encounter": "Who do you call Lord, me or your feelings?"
This is a question that we can all ask ourselves as well. Are we following scripture and truth, or are our feelings and our culture driving our decisions, viewpoints, perspectives, and actions?
There are consequences of ignoring God for our own whims. We see the chaos that unfolds with Mandy when she forges on and ignores Jesus. Then, we see his response: "You disobeyed me and made it happen."
Let's all work harder to seek God, listen and act as He wants us to, not as we see fit. Find healing through His love today.
Also, be sure to find out how Mandy's story unfolds by watching season two, episode three of "The Encounter" on PureFlix.com. You can see this incredible, original series along with thousands of other movies and shows with your free PureFlix.com trial.