More often then we can imagine, God saves us from some unknown peril. We may initially not be very grateful because “the saving” may include an inconvenience…maybe even a major disruption in our life. So, at the time we may even be “bummed out” because things didn’t go our way.
I was reading a story the other day of a woman who was delayed and then prevented from traveling to the U.S. from Europe…it was a major disappointment …. yet a few days later she discovered that the ship she was to travel on had sank…it was the Titanic. (Magnificat Advent Companion, Dec. 17th ) I know people who had appointments inconveniently cancelled at the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. Generally we may not be aware of how the Lord used a particular “disappointment” to further his plan in our life… or to maybe save our life.
In truth, if we’ve placed our lives in the hands of the Lord, then we know that all things work for the good…even when we’re disappointed that our desires or prayers have not worked out the way we had hoped or planned. “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
As we approach Christmas, we have a great example of this truth in Joseph and Mary. I think it’s safe to say that both were planning and hoping for a much more conventional beginning to their marriage. They had to be “knocked back and overwhelmed” when the archangel Gabriel showed up with the new plan. While the grace enabled them to understand and respond and embrace it, nevertheless …. wow … let me catch my breath…gee, maybe it would have been better if…… . Yet at this moment in 2020 I think Joseph and Mary are pretty happy that God’s will was done in their lives.
Perhaps one day the Lord will show us how he guided our life, step by step, in order for us to be in his will. I’m sure it will include countless times that “our plans” were not “his plans”….. ie. the grades we did or didn’t get in school, the school we didn’t go to , the job we didn’t get, the trip we didn’t make, the person we didn’t marry, the sickness we didn’t get (or did get)….
How often do we say to ourselves, “wow, I really prayed for that and it didn’t happen, does God not answer prayers, did I not have enough faith?” I think more likely he is answering our fundamental prayer from the Our Father…”your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
I find that very comforting. God’s will is perfect and will stand the test of time. It will be the best outcome not only today but a thousand years from now into eternity. So, brothers and sisters, let’s continue to pray and ask God to help us and save us and hear our prayers, but at the same time, let’s leave how he answers them in his perfect hands and his perfect will.