Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Prayer God Will Always Say Yes To (fourth in a series of ten)

I’ve been giving you prayers that God loves to answer, that He’ll answer every time, and with power – sometimes even before you’re finished praying them.

The first prayer was “God, please show me You are there.”

The second prayer was “God, please use me to help someone in need.” “God, please make me an instrument to carry out some important mission of mercy for you.”

The third prayer was “God, please give me courage.”

The fourth prayer is “God, please get me through this suffering.” Unfortunately there is no short and tidy answer for why you are suffering this morning. There is no formula for feeling better. Sometimes the ready made phrases we say to each other, when we mean well, actually make things seem worse –

“I know just what you’re going through” sounds empty sometimes, when what you’re going through is devastating. “Don’t worry, it’s all for the best” doesn’t help when it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. “It’s God’s will” makes you want to feel angry and bitter towards God, and “You’ve got to stop crying and start living again” doesn’t sound encouraging, it sounds kind of heartless, like there’s a statute of limitations on hurting.

Though all these things may be true, they just don’t help when you’re experiencing emotional agony. When you’ve been in a car accident, you don’t need your doctor to explain to you why you’re bleeding everywhere, or to assure you that you won’t miss that arm after a while. You need your doctor to stop the bleeding, sew you up and help you heal.

God understands. Very often the last thing God will do when you and I are suffering is to explain the reasons why we’re suffering. That’s something He saves for later, sometimes much later. What He will always do, however, is help us to endure the terrible pain, and make it through in one piece.

God says yes to all who come to Him for help and comfort, when they are in the middle of something hard. He may not stop the suffering, or prevent it from happening in the first place, or alleviate the situation in any way. This maybe is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to faith there is, but you and I need to face it head on – God allows a lot of terrible things to happen. Just look what happened to our Lord Jesus Christ. He knew very well the pain He was about to suffer, and prayed “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken away from Me.” At the eleventh hour, the Son pleased with the Father. But He also added “Yet not as I will, but as You will.”

No matter what kind of suffering you have to endure, God will give you a way through it. Not a way out of suffering itself, but out of the hopelessness that suffering often leads you to. The apostle Paul said God will not let you be tested beyond your strength. With your trial, He will also provide you with a means of escape, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Cor 10:13)

The Father sent His son an angel to help Him. God will also help you, and provide for you, to console you, help you and fortify you through whatever you are going through right now.

Death and suffering are not a normal part of life. They may be facts of life, but they are not “good” or “normal” in any way. Something went terribly wrong at the beginning of human history. Life was never meant to be this way, but because of what happened in the Garden of Eden, you and I suffer today.

But God, in the Lord Jesus Christ, suffered, too. He knows, intimately, what it’s like to experience what you’re experiencing, and because of the cross, He can make His power available to you, and to me. When you say “God, please get me through this suffering” He will actually walk with you through the pain and get you to the other side.


These thoughts on prayer are taken from the Catholic author Anthony DeStefano's delightful book, "Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To: Divine Answers To Life's Most Difficult Problems."

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