A few weeks ago, the father of one of my best friends had a heart attack. In one instant, it was as if all time had stopped. Nothing else mattered but the safety of our loved ones; their peace, their future. In moments like that, you can do nothing but drop all priorities of the moment and make a desperate plea to God that His will is an increase of health for your loved one. Sometimes, though, as in the case of my friend, God answers our prayers in a way we don’t ask for. God’s answer to our prayers radically changed the lives of my friend’s family permanently.
Living merely moment by moment, we can be so quick to blame God for ruining our perfect plans. We must remember, that God, in His all-knowing, omniscient goodness, sees a much greater picture than we do. Since before we were born, He’s planned every instant, every happy moment, every sad moment, every tragedy, every success. So often, we tend to accuse God for making a poor decision for us, thinking we could have ordered our lives better.
I have personally fallen into this mindset many times. But sure enough, in time I have seen why God puts me through certain challenges. I’ve been left wondering how I could have ever doubted our all knowing, all loving, merciful God.
Many times we hear the phrase “God gives, and God takes away.” This idea doesn’t sell it for me. To accept God’s will, we must believe that God only gives. He gives us opportunities to grow, to heal past wounds, to strengthen our love for Him and for each other. He allows things to happen in our lives in order for us to better ourselves, put others first, and show our unconditional love for Him.
Of course, this is easier said than done. We must train ourselves to find God in the smallest disappointments, so that we can be strong enough to thank Him when we are faced with bigger challenges.
We may not find out why God suddenly took the life of my friend’s dad until we reach Heaven. But already we can see small fruits growing because of it. People are coming back to the faith, learning how to pray, families are coming together, his own family has shown remarkable strength and faith in God, and so much more.
Thank God for the challenges He has sent your way. Thank Him for giving you what you need, for showing you how to live, and ask Him for the grace to overcome the challenges He sends. During our times of trouble, may we remember the words of Mother Teresa when she said, “Now I rejoice when things do not go as I wish, because I see that He wants our trust.” 1
1 Teresa, and Brian Kolodiejchuk. Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light : the Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta” New York: Doubleday, 2007. Print.