A serious diagnosis, untimely death, brutal battles with cancer, and crushing difficulties in mental health, marriage, or finances are all crosses that 2019 brought into the lives of my closest friends and family. Of course, we have covered them in prayers, rallied to offer comfort, and held fast to a hope of healing and restoration, yet the prayers we have prayed don’t always bring the answers we long for.
I know, with every fiber of my being, that God can do anything. I know that his arm is not too short to save (Is. 59:1). So, why is he not choosing to extend his mighty arm now and rescue us? Where is God in all of this?
When we see financial, marital, physical, mental, or spiritual hardship, we often beg for a big check, a perfect spouse, a relationship, a cure, or a miracle of our own design. When we don’t receive what we are asking for, we may feel as if God is not interested in our crisis. Yet, there is nothing further from the truth. In fact, when he doesn’t give us the money, the cure, or the mended relationship we ask for, it is only because he wants to give us more than that. His rescue plan is not a temporary fix for the troubles of this day, his rescue plan is eternal and unchanging. His rescue plan is his very self!
Love himself is the answer to every longing, every desire, and every need of the human race. In our pain and sickness, he gives us his own passion that is redemptive, so that our sufferings, united to his, become incredibly valuable. When we are brokenhearted he draws close and offers us intimate friendship with himself. And every day he offers us his body and blood, his strength, his Spirit, his divine life, and his own Sacred Heart.
Yes, Jesus tells us to ask, seek, and knock unrelentingly, and some of the time, he grants a miracle. All of the time, though, he grants us himself. His ways are not our ways—that is certainly true! The all-powerful God of the universe became God-with-us by emptying himself to share in our humanity – our poverty, loneliness, betrayal, loss, misunderstandings, and pain. All this was part of his plan to bring us out of this valley of tears to our heavenly homeland!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for woe, to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).