Day 023: Moving On When the Answer is “No”
Sometimes we pray and pray and pray about something and still don’t get it. We want something good. We desire something we know is in God’s plan for His people. We see other people doing less to “earn” that goodness, but the answer we get is still a big fat, “No.” This comes in any number of examples. It comes through tears and requests for the Great Physician to heal a broken Marriage. It comes from begging the All Good, All the Time Father to give you a baby to carry close to your heart after so many disappointments. It comes through asking the Merciful Savior to heal a loved one and prevent death that lurks and steals life.
Sometimes, even when we want good, we get what we believe is bad. The broken Marriage ends in unwanted divorce. Only one pink line shows on the end of the pregnancy stick so many times you’ve lost count. The doctor’s news turns out to be true even though you were sure he was wrong and now you wish you could take back those words you should not have said or get one last hug, one last time.
Sometimes, no matter what you want and what you do, the answer is simply, “No.” You can find no explanation. There seems to be no fairness. Good people get hard no’s and bad people get celebratory yes’s. There appears to be no rhyme or reason to the rules. There is just the soul crushing pain of the arbitrary, “NO.”
How you handle life’s grave disappointments says a lot about you, the kind of person you are and who you will become. In fact, how you handle bad situations may be more important than how you handle getting what you pray for. When everything goes right, you are untested. You do not receive the opportunity to be proven trustworthy. You cannot become an example to others because you never learn what you are capable of so neither can they.
May people take matters into their own hands. They are lonely in Marriage so begin an affair. They justify it by leaving the spouse to “marry” the affair partner in the misguided pursuit of happiness. Abandoned or divorced spouses then turn to dating and improper relationships rather than stand as silent witnesses to their vow of “for better or for worse.” Infertile couples turn to artificially manufactured children. These children are always precious and loved and valued and wonderful, but the souls of the little ones who will never grow are ignored and “destroyed.” The loss of a loved one through death causes depression or anger at God for taking away someone so precious.
In countless examples, the common denominator is a lack of obedience to God and a failure to trust in His plans over our own. We think if we don’t get this thing (or worse, this person) we will never be happy. We put a lot of hope in that thing or that person fulfilling us. The thing or the person becomes a means to an end to our happiness rather than appreciated for its or her own blessing.
The pain felt in these circumstances is very real. Wanting to end that pain is understandable and even good, but how we move on is important. Taking matters into our own hands by defying God’s Laws has effects that may not be felt for decades or even until we pass on but disobedience and mistrust are always felt eventually.
How to Move On in God’s Plan
It is possible to move on without breaking God’s plan for your Salvation. It is not easy or instant, but it is good and comes without guilt, doubt, or confusion.
First, as Saint Ignatius tells us in his Spiritual Exercises that we must think and act on a Presupposition of Good. We must give God the benefit of the doubt. When we are quick to think God doesn’t care or that He wouldn’t let this happen, know the answer to both is yes. He does know and He does care. He also lets your hardship happen because He Loves you, and desires an eternity with you.
God Loves You and wants an eternity with you.
Read that line again as many times as needed. God Loves you and wants an eternity with you. He is your Creator and as such He knows more about you than even your parents, spouse, children, and bff rolled into one! He knows what you need to get to Heaven. He sees where your soul needs refinement and is willing to let you struggle and discover hidden strengths and powers to attain perfection you are created to enjoy. It is exceedingly difficult to watch someone you love suffer. God watches you do so, not because He enjoys denying your desires or seeing you hurt, but because He knows that hurt will help you attain Heaven and avoid Hell if you choose to let it. The pain and deprivation we feel here is a blink in the eye of pain and deprivation of an eternity in Hell or the glory and Love in Heaven.
The mindset switch, from assuming that to “move on” you have to take control to understanding that “moving on” means letting God take control, is the greatest mindset switch ever.
Contrary to modern belief, the best way to move on is ancient and simple but humbly and difficult. It is to hand your life over to God and trusting in Him especially when things don’t go as you pray they will. That’s when it’s time to put down the pen and let God be the author of your story. Let Him pick and choose what happens next.
It is in life’s heartbreaks that our story is written. That is where we choose to become a wilting mess or stand straight and walk into and out of our storms. It is where we submit and find new avenues and open ourselves up to what else God has in mind for us or where we demand what we want and take the ordinary path of breaking with God to get what will give us temporary relief from our deprivation mindsets.
Gratitude Journal – May 3, 2023
Thank you Lord for…
- My most recent heartbreaks
- The sun and the clouds and the stunning contrasts!
- The game being rained out
- The video working
- Chicken nuggets
- Collapsing on the couch
- A classroom alone.
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