Reflections on the Daily Readings
from the Perspective of Creighton Students
February 21st, 2013
Bio | Email: KevinRyan@creighton.edu
Of all the confusing passages in the Bible, this passage has bothered me the most, even since I was young. When I was a kid, often I would pray to God as if he were Santa Claus, and if I were a good little boy he would bring me whatever I asked for, which mostly didn’t happen. Now that I am older, I still petition God for things, quite a lot actually, but my understanding of him has changed, and I no longer expect that I will necessarily get what I ask for, because, after all, God and Santa Claus are two different people. But in this passage, Jesus completely challenges that notion. He says that all we have to do is ask, and we will receive, and Jesus doesn’t lie right?
So why is it that we go to prayer asking, and sometimes even begging, for something—whether it be for healing of wounds, forgiveness, reconciliation with somebody, faith, patience, courage, deliverance from a serious sin we may struggle with, the list goes on and on—and yet somestimes God does not provide. After reading Jesus’s words in the Gospel, it doesn’t seem to make much sense at all.
But after discussing this reading with a close friend of mine (James Doyle who is also a reflector so check him out!) he told me about the Soldier’s Prayer, which goes something like this:
“I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all men, most richly blessed.”
This prayer sums it up. Asking God for strength, health, wealth, etc. are not, by any means, evil things to pray for. But through answering prayers in this way, we can recognize that God gives us exactly what we truly desire. God doesn’t give us strength, but the opportunities to be strong, God doesn’t give us health, but the opportunities live and do great things through our sickness, God doesn’t give us wealth, but opportunities to appreciate what he has given us. Through answering our prayers this way, God is trying to show us our own profound dependence on him in all aspects of our lives. Ask for strength, and you may not receive strength, but you will receive Christ who is stronger than we could ever imagine.
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