Do you ever wonder when we have an injury to our bodies or we have an illness that comes upon us and it doesn’t ever seem to get healed even though we’ve prayed for deliverance? We might say, “Doesn’t Jesus say that ‘whatever you ask in my name you shall receive.’” So what’s up with not receiving the healing that we ask for? Most of us has experienced, at one time or another, the frustrating answer to our prayer of healing with what seems like dead silence from God, right? So, how do we make sense of it.
Well, fortunately scripture deals with this. St. Paul speaks about the “thorn in his flesh” in chapter 12 of his second letter to the Corinthians. “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).”
St. Paul speaks about this “thorn in the flesh” by saying, “I can’t handle this thorn anymore, this is too much!” Now, we don’t know what that thorn was, but it was very burdensome to him, and so Paul pleaded with God to take it away. And God answered him by saying, “my grace is sufficient for you.”
And so, while God answers the prayer of faith, we have to take a look at the whole scripture to understand how that plays out in our lives. Someone once said, “God has 3 answers to prayers: yes, not yet and I have a better plan.” It is also a teaching of the faith that God allows suffering in our lives because he desires to bring out of them a greater good. Many times we may not become aware of that greater good immediately, or for a long time or perhaps forever. And yet we are called to trust in God’s providence.
We are to believe God loves us, that he intends our good and that we be conformed to the life of Jesus Christ. For we know from the prophet Isaiah that Jesus was a man of sorrows and a man of sufferings. And because of that, we are also challenged to pick up our own crosses and follow him. So, when we suffer physically, emotionally and otherwise, we can ask God for relief, but always trust in God’s providence knowing that he can make something beautiful out of it. We can also offer that suffering up and join it with the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. God can make that suffering “spiritually fruitful” in ways beyond our imaginations.
Until next time, God bless.