I asked God to take away my pain.
God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No. Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No. Patience is a by-product of tribulations. It isn’t granted, it is earned.
I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No. I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.
I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No. I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.
I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as he loves me.
God said… Ahhhh, finally you get the idea.
This short story uncovers the depth of wisdom captured in the relationship between human desires and the will of God. Often times when we pray, we have a whole list of items that we ask from God and expect Him to fulfil our list because we think that it’s what’s good for us.
Remember the idiom “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” In a similar way, our relationship with God should not be founded upon the fulfilment of our immediate desires, but rather it should be focused on our spiritual growth that is eternal.
Why Does God Say No?
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5:3-5
The story illustrates various requests made to God, each highlighting a different aspect of our human experience – pain, disability, impatience, the quest for happiness, the avoidance of suffering, spiritual growth, the enjoyment of life, and the desire to love. In each instance, God’s response seems like a rejection of our request for help, yet offers a much deeper meaning once we grasp its true understanding.
God’s “No” is not a rejection but a profound expression of His love, guiding us towards what is truly beneficial for us.
Suffering is not just an obstacle; it is a pathway to deeper understanding and spiritual growth. When we feel like God isn’t responding to our call to take away the pain, it may actually be an invitation to find strength and hope in the midst of our struggles.
God is loving and compassionate, and He will not let us suffer for no good reason. Rather than removing obstacles & challenges with a flick of the fingers, God encourages us to embrace them as opportunities for growth and spiritual deepening. This perspective aligns with the Catholic understanding that suffering and trials are not merely burdens but can be transformative experiences that bring us closer to God.
Do Not Lose Hope
No prayer goes unanswered. The answer just might not be what we expected.
When God tells us “No”, He knows that there is something better for us and He wants us to achieve that through our own efforts. But do not lose hope! This does not mean that He isn’t guiding and protecting you every step of the way.
In fact, sometimes the answer “No” may actually mean “Yes”. I know, it sounds a bit contradictory. But just because God declines to intervene directly it doesn’t mean that He is not planning for us to have that which we prayed for. It just means that there may be room for a better “Yes” in our lives!
The True Essence of Happiness & Patience
In the story, God reframes our understanding of happiness and patience. Happiness is not something God hands to us; rather it springs from how we respond to His blessings in our lives. In a similar way, patience is depicted not as a divine gift but as a virtue developed through enduring life’s difficulties.
The story culminates in the realization that personal growth and the ability to love others as God loves us are the keys to a fulfilled life.