Dothan (Not Alabama) is where two men of God prayed. Both prayed to the same God. Both were in trouble when they prayed. One was delievered, the other was not.
Genesis 37:17-24 with Genesis 42:21-22. When Joseph was stripped by his brothers of all his clothes and thrown into a pit in Dothan, they ignored him. It seemed that God ignored him too because he was not delivered from the pit, but sold into slavery… thus began about a two decade span of difficulty for Joseph.
2 Kings 6:13-18. Elisha and his servant were surrounded by a large army. The servant was afraid so Elisha prayed for God to open his eyes. All around him there were angels in chariots of fire. Then Elisha prayed and the army was blinded, thus Elisha and his servant were delivered.
Two men… two prayers prayed to the same God… one is answered, the other is denied. Elisha was delivered, Joseph was not delivered but rather sold into slavery.
Something similar occurred in the New Testament. The Church was praying for Peter to be delivered from prison (Acts 12:5-11) and he was. Another time John The Baptist was in prision and his followers prayed for him. But John was not delivered (In the way they expected) because he was beheadded.
Two men in prison… both faithful servants of God… one is delievered, the other is killed.
The answer? God is God and we aren’t. Just because we don’t see how something can be good doesn’t mean it isn’t good (Tim Keller). God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts.
When we pray we are saying to God… “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” whether we realize it or not. The Spirit prays for us with groanings too deep for words and when He prays it is always according to the will of God (Ro 8:26-27). We don’t know how to pray… we don’t know what to ask for… we always pray selfishly. But God is sovereign and will bring about His will… every time… in every situation.
That doesn’t mean we will always understand. But it does mean that Jesus has promised never to leave or forsake us in the midst of our difficulty. One day we will understand… we will see as God sees. Till then we live by faith. Till then we continue to pray.
As David said about his prayer for his child to be delivered from death (The child died) in 2 Samuel 12:21-23, “Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?‘ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” ESV
THAT is why we keep praying… we don’t know God’s will. Thus we pray… we hope… we believe… we have faith… and we trust God for WHATEVER the outcome is that it will glorify Him and be for our ultimate good!