When I woke up this morning I was looking forward to treating myself to my weekly Starbucks coffee and breakfast snack. (Ok, I admit it; sometimes it is more than a weekly treat!) I rushed through getting ready for work, knowing that I would need to cut a few minutes in order to have enough time to get into the store, place my order, and then continue on my way. The anticipation of enjoying my foam-topped latte along with some smooth Greek Yogurt was building in my mind as I got into my car and headed down the road. My stomach was growling and I realized that this morning, I was actually looking forward to the yogurt more than the coffee!  Minutes later I walked into the store and cheerfully placed my order only to find that they were out of my favorite treat! Yes, they still had coffee, but I have to admit that I was fairly disappointed when I had to "settle" for pumpkin bread to go along with it. Though later, when I took my first bite of the bread and tasted the first sip of the coffee, I was strangely satisfied. In fact, the pumpkin bread was the perfect sweet complement to the bold Sumatran coffee!

As I pondered the change in my opinion about my breakfast, my thoughts turned to how God answers prayer. What happens when God answers prayers differently than we would like or expect? There have been many times in my life when I have excitedly looked forward to something only to have my hopes dashed when things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped. But does that mean God didn’t answer my prayers? No. On every one of those occasions I’ve discovered that God had other plans for me, and those other plans were always better than what I had designed for myself. I can say without a doubt that God always answers prayer. What I have learned, though, is that God doesn’t always answer it in the ways we expect. Sometimes I don’t even like His answer…at first. But that is where trust comes in. I know that God’s plan for me is far better than anything I could plan for myself, for He sees the entire picture. I only see a small snapshot of life.

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Sometimes God says, "No", because He knows what is best for us. Just like the loving parent, who denies their child the extra piece of candy is protecting them from a sore stomach; God is protecting us from things not yet seen. And often it is because He has something even better planned for us. I love the quote from Reverend Billy Graham’s late wife, Ruth, “If God had answered my prayers the way I had hoped, I would have married the wrong man several times!” God knew even before Ruth what was best for her. He was preparing the perfect match and partner in ministry for her. If Ruth had married her other suitors, the Graham’s life and legacy, would have been entirely different.

Sometimes God says, “Not that way”, because He’s taking us in a different, better direction. He knows the best path for our lives. Sometimes God says, “Not yet”, because His timing is perfect and he may want to develop patience in us. “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).  And Sometimes, God says, “Yes!” because our prayers are in line with His will for us. So, when praying, we need to ask ourselves - Are our motives wrong? Are we praying for God’s will or for our own? By letting God know our desires, but then trusting Him for His answers, and remembering that He has a reason for everything, we are demonstrating our faith in Him.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Yes, God always answers prayer, but thankfully, sometimes we get pumpkin bread.

Living for Him,


  1. Oh the smell of pumpkin bread makes my mouth water!

    Thanks for doing the happy dance with me today.

    happy day,

  2. I love how you take ordinary things in life and find a spiritual application. Coffee and pumpkin bread; love it!

    I love robust coffee too. My favorite occasional accompaniment is a lemon poppy seed muffin offered at Paradise Bakery in Arizona. I look forward to times when I can have my muffin fix.

    As far as answered prayers, I know that God knows what's best. I'm glad that some of my prayers from years ago weren't answered as I thought would be best. God knows what's best and I do trust Him on that.

    The one thing I sometimes struggle with though is myself. I know God hears my prayers. I know God knows my heart. He can see the beginning from the end. I just want to know that I am doing what is best in the midst of it all.

    I wish you lived closer as we could meet for that coffee and pumpkin bread. :)

    Blessings and hugs,

  3. Debbie - Well, the next time you're in one of your favorite places...just let me know! Carmel is only 2 hours from here...

    Sara - For some reason your comment didn't post...and I didn't get to read it! I'm going to refresh my page and hopefully it will be there!

  4. Great! It showed up once I refreshed! =)

  5. AnonymousJune 30, 2010

    This makes me think of the mental list I had for a husband in my single days.......on my 'list' he was going to be pastor. :) I married a business man and am so glad that God didn't answer my prayer. :) I couldn't be happier with His choice for me. Loving my 'pumpkin bread' husband! xo

  6. AnonymousJune 30, 2010

    Amen! That pumpkin bread is looking good!

  7. Just thinking about the pumpkin bread makes me hungry! :) And for me it would be a sugar free skinny hazelnut latte (with whipped cream on the top).

    I'm so thankful that God doesn't always answer our prayers in the way we want. He knows just what (and when) we need. I love the passage in Isaiah "my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither or your ways my ways."

    Have a joyful day.


  8. Wonderful application, Joan...and now I'm craving pumpkin bread. : ) Have a great 4th weekend.

  9. I wonder if I'll ever look at pumpkin bread again without thinking of this great truth?! It's not even "the season" for pumpkin bread, but my mouth is watering :)

  10. I have learned this lesson and yet need it hear it again! God's time is not my time and His plan for me is beyond my understanding. The Bible verses you shared are such wonderful lessons for life. It is better to relax and just rest in Him, than to try to make things happen when perhaps we shouldn't. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. Wonderful post and the way you have illustrated this.
    Thank you for sharing the bible verses and my favourite too-one I have clung to time and time again! Proverbs 3:5-6
    The pumpkin bread looks so delicious!! Now I am hungry!
    I have been so thankful that God did not answer all my prayers as a "yes" and that He is teaching me to wait and in His time!

  12. That's a fun comparison! I like pumpkin bread. Yes, when God gives us a different answer than we expect, it's often for something better. We just don't always realize it at the time.

  13. I had to put the Isaiah passages in my notebook. It totally struck a cord with me tonight - not sure why...
    You are right, Joan; we need to trust Him for His answers to our prayers. We may not like His answer, but He knows what is best for us.


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