"For to me life is Christ and death is gain" (Phil 1:21)

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Do We Really Know What’s Best for Us? -By Msgr. Charles Pope

 

"All of us struggle with the great mystery of God’s providence and will. Sometimes it is our own struggle and sometimes we must commiserate with others who are in distress. One friend is losing her young daughter to cancer, another is struggling to find work, still another has a husband who is drinking. Some people will say to me, “I’ve been praying, Father, but nothing seems to happen.” I am not always sure how to respond. God doesn’t often explain why we must suffer, why he delays, or why he sometimes just says no.

Just think about how God answered Job. Job wanted answers as to why he was suffering. God spoke to him from the whirlwind, upbraiding him with provocative questions meant to humble him. But in the end, He gave him no real answer. He did, however, restore Job. In the midst of God’s mysterious ways, we do have to remember that if we are faithful God will more than restore us one day. But in the throes of trials, the promise of future restoration can seem pretty theoretical. In the midst of trials, often the best thing we can do is to be still; to breathe, sigh, and yearn; and to weep with those who weep. Scripture says, The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD (Lam 3:25).

Scripture does give some answers as to why God sometimes delays and why He sometimes says no. We often think that we know what is best for us. We want to have this job or we want that person to fall in love with us. We want to be delivered from a certain illness or to receive a financial blessing. We see these as good outcomes for us and are sure that God must also see them that way. But in fact God may not agree with our assessment. In such situations, no really is the best answer to our prayers.

For example, St. Paul prayed for deliverance from physical affliction in this passage: Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:7-10).

The fact is, we really don’t know what’s best for us or for someone else. We may think we know, but we don’t. God’s no to Paul actually helped to save him. It helped him to better understand the power of the cross in his life and to realize that he must learn to depend on God. So, too, for us. We may prefer certain outcomes, but God alone knows if our preference is truly good for us.”

Have a blessed week everyone!

In Christ,

Fr. Anthony