DOES GOD ANSWER
Bernard - Publisher
And so I tell you, keep on
asking, and you will receive
what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and
you will find.
Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who
to everyone who knocks, the door will
be opened. Luke 11: 9-10
So many of us
have walked the tightrope of fear and worry, not knowing if certain problems of health,
heartbreak, money, discord and misery could be turned around solely by ourselves. When we
fail in our efforts, we turn to God through prayer, asking for intervention, deliverance
and mercy. Through the darkness of pain, we strain to hear His voice but it remains
silent to our fervent pleas. In our deepest miseries, there appears to be no answer, no
aid coming forth and we begin to get a little shaky in our faith. Why, after being so
steadfast, does He ignore us?
are You, Lord?
What can we do when
God doesnt seem to answer us? We pray but we cannot hear, we plead but cannot gain.
We want and need to believe in a God who answers the prayers of the hurting with right now
deliverance. In John 16:23 we are told, whatever we ask in Jesus Name, it would
be given to us. How then, does
faith play out in these circumstances? Isnt this the very objection those who do not
believe throw out to us who do have faith?
When God Says No the Mystery of Suffering and the
Dynamics of Prayer", is a book authored by Father Daniel Lanahan. O.F.M, which states, suffering is an ordinary
part of human life, whatever its cause may be. The Director of the Franciscan
Ministry of the World team of Holy Name Province, New York, Father Lanahan has a doctorate
in moral theology from the Alphonsian Institute in Rome and has taught for many years at
Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure University and in East Aurora, New York.
Besides preaching parish missions and retreats, he is the Religious Assistant to eleven
monasteries of Poor Clare sisters. He resides at St. Anthony Friary in Ho-Ho-Kus, New
The goal of prayer is not to change God, but to allow
God to transform us, he writes. Through
the enlightening pages of Father Lanahan's book, we are able to understand more clearly that there are no easy fixes; nonetheless
we are still able to experience God's
unconditional love in spite of the suffering, trials and refusals we face in our lives.
It is through our own "little crucifixions" that we are lifted closer to
God as Apostles of Christ.
reminds us that Jesus also felt the pangs of abandonment in His human form even though He
was the Son of God. In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed
that the 'cup be taken from him,' if
it be Gods will. God answered no. Three times St. Paul begged God to remove the
"thorn from his side." Three times God said no. When, says Father
Lanahan, my family prayed desperately for my brother Neil to be cured of melanoma,
God said no. When we prayed for our twenty-five-year-old niece to survive a car accident,
God said no. When the victims of war in the former Yugoslavia, or in any of the hundred
places war is being waged at any given time prayed; when people afflicted with cancer,
alcoholism, or AIDS prayed for deliverance; when the victims of physical, sexual, or
emotional abuse prayed to be spared, sometimes the answer
would an all-loving God say No to the people who worship Him?
After his brothers death, Father Lanahan searched for and provided the
mold for these difficult answers. Like us, he too, looked for answers to
the prayer he prayed for his brother to be
spared. Like us, he wanted an intercession from the God he faithfully serves.
After careful examination, he gives us his conclusions. His book informs us that we too must come to the realization that though
God hears each and every prayer, through His "silence" He sometimes is
saying no to us. It is through His eternal
never changes, is never amended, that He is telling us we must wait and rely on His wisdom,
that we are part of His Master Plan and whether it is in this life or the next, He will
one day make known that plan to us.
God says no that no will end when we reach Heaven, face to face with God. In this
life we are not given the answer to the question 'why' that no theology, no book, not even
the Bible, no dogma, no authority, not even that of the Church, has ever answered during
this lifetime. But God promises
that someday we will have all
things made known and we will be blessed
with the fullness of salvation and healing. We
will be with the Answer, and in love forever.
So how should we as
Christians deal with Gods "silence" as we stumble forward in trials and
sufferings? We see those around us pleading
for answers to prayers because of disease, starvation, blindness, cruelty and the whole
spectrum of human misery. We watch
people dying from illnesses that during the time of Christ were cured by love and
compassion when He walked the earth. Why not
When Jesus came, He was establishing His Father's plan for this earth. Today,
we are experiencing that plan in its fullness. Romans
8:28 says: And we know that God causes everything to work together for
the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. As humans we are unable to analyze,
or know what or
how God is using that plan. We can only see the rocky road filled
and tribulations. As Christians, we are asked to
trust Him, understanding His blueprint for
the good of this world comes forth from
our earthly ordeals. For
example, Jesus died and through His suffering on the cross, salvation was made evident for
all who believe in His dying on a cross and ultimately his resurrection, which promises
our own resurrection someday.
François Fénelon, a 18th-century French Roman Catholic theologian,
poet and writer, once prayed, "Lord, we know not what
we ought to ask of you. You alone know what we need. . . .We have no other desire than to
accomplish Your will. Teach us to pray! Pray Yourself in us."
In about 1675, when
he would have been 24 years old, Fénelon was ordained a priest and he tells us in
one of his writings, Pray
simply from the heart, from pure love, and not from the head, from the intellect alone. If you would truly derive profit from the
discovery of your imperfections, neither justify nor condemn on their account, but quietly
lay them before God, conforming your will to His in all things that you cannot understand,
and remaining at peace; for peace is the order of God for every condition whatever. There
is, in fact, a peace of conscience which sinners themselves should enjoy when awakened to
repentance. Their suffering should be
peaceful and mingled with consolation. Remember the beautiful word which once delighted
you, that the Lord was not in noise and confusion, but in the still, small voice.
It is that small voice which lives in our hearts and souls that we must listen for
in times of despair.
bad thing that has ever happened in this life
will be transformed into something good. Gods
answers are often vehicles for others to learn
from and follow. It is also a way to
bring those who do not believe to attention, pulling forth the plug of awareness that is
imbedded in the soul of each human being.
a believer in Jesus Christ, I know I am loved. At the height of my troubles, He is
there in the mix, walking through the darkness with me. I also know Gods concern is for me to live forever. As God watched the indignities of Judas'
betrayal, the verdict of His Son's enemies, the nailing of His hands, and the final shame
of the cross, God had a plan, a plan for victory at the end, a victory that encompasses
all of us today. This has become our victory.
answer our prayers? Will He give the desires we ask for? The answer is yes, if those
things are according to the plan He has for us. His love for us is endless. Because
of this, we are beneficiaries of the limitless comfort He gives us through the gifts of
the Holy Spirit and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
2:18 reads: Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy
Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. Like
those who came before us, we are part of Gods master purpose. We are part of His plan, not ours. God looks at the big picture much like we look at
the big puzzles we buy for our children. God looks at each of us as a unique piece in the
puzzle of this temporary life as we, on an earthly scale, look at our cardboard puzzles
and carefully fit the pieces together to make a whole.
Each piece is vital for completeness and beauty.
God has an eternal master design for mankind.
We are His living pieces which will ultimately comprise His ultimate design. Each of us, seemingly small in the scheme of
things comprise an eternal importance to God, and as He continues His skillful
architecture, He hears and listens to each cry, each plea as He continues to join us all
together in His massive whole where each of our names and images are set in a kaleidoscope
of beauty that will last for eternity.
Someday, God will
wipe away each tear we shed. No hurting wound
will be allowed to fester. Can you accept
and believe this? Each burden, each
trial, each unfair humiliation, each failure, each time of suffering, will be transformed
The bible tells us ...God
will wipe away every tear from (our) their eyes;
there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the
former things have passed away. Rev
Continue to pray,
for Jesus tells us to bring all things to Him. Be faithful always, with trust and worship. Keep asking and believing. Stand
firm, knowing in your heart that you are loved. He does what is best for you and through you for the
salvation of the world as a whole. Even with His nos He hones us according to the
supreme and final goal He has for all who persevere.
Someday we will know He carried you, and you, and me through all the dangers and toils with answers to our prayers, whether visible or not.
In the height of each trial He is right there, offering a cooling drink of faith, handing us a golden gift of trust and courage. One day
we will see with supreme clarity that He is always right on target and right on
time and we will know that He never lets those who trusted in Him fall down in shame.
the heavens are higher than the earth, "
so are My ways higher than your ways, And My
thoughts than your thoughts.
- Isaiah 55:9
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