“Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find.”
Every holy book in the Universe has some variation on this theme. That if you pray and ask for something — believing in your heart that you already have it — it’s yours.
But how many times have you prayed for something, and believed in your heart that it’s yours, but it’s still nowhere in sight?
When I was 17, I met the man I thought was the love of my life. We were together for two wonderful years. Then one day, out of the blue, he broke up with me. For months, I prayed that he would come back.
“Come on, God, give him back to me already!” I kept praying, thinking that if I begged long enough God would feel sorry for me and give me back what I had lost.
It was during those times that a little voice inside my head reminded me that God’s delays are not God’s denials.
“Yeah, right. But I need him now, not later, God,” I insisted.
Everything is in Divine order, the little voice said.
“OK, God, I’d like to order that you honor your promise to give me whatever I want when I ask for it,” I answered.
The answer was always the same.
Wait. Things will happen when they are meant to happen. Not when you want them to.
And so it went, this constant back and forth with God until one day, my teenage angst subsided, I let go of the outcome, and my life went on.
Years passed. I met the true love of my life, and the thoughts of desperation about getting back my teenage love were replaced by a life that really was in Divine order.
The years that followed were filled with hundreds of things for which I was thankful — health, friends, family, wonderful jobs, travel and yes, many disappointments as well. But I was able to look back at my late teens with a smile, hoping that life for the former object of my affection had turned out as well.
During trying times, I still found myself desperately praying like I had in the past. It’s human nature to want things to happen the way we want, when we want. Sometimes my prayers were answered exactly the way I had wanted them to. Other times God seemed distant and disinterested.
So what about the promise that if we ask we shall receive? Is it just something to keep us hoping when all hope seems to be lost? Does God really keep His end of the bargain? Or is His promise an empty one?
We have to remember that praying is tapping into the Universal source of supply, a power that is looking out for our best interests. And sometimes God’s “No” is the best thing that can happen to us.
Case in point: The above-mentioned love of my life.
Years later I reconnected with him via Facebook and saw each other a couple of times. We talked about the past, and he admitted that after his divorce he’d wondered what could have been between us.
“I’ve followed your progress throughout the years,” he said.
I was flattered, but emotionally unaffected. Life had moved on and so had I, thanks to God’s wisdom — thanks to God’s better plan.
Today that former love of my life is serving a maximum of 7 1/2 years in prison for grand larceny.
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.