We, too, are called to seek Jesus when we need wisdom. Like the disciples, we should be excited to seek Him with our list of questions and want to spend time with Him. We need to soak up every opportunity to be with Our Lord, to talk to Him, and to listen to His response. We do this when we attend Mass, read the Scriptures on our own, spend time with our spiritual mentors, or engage in prayer. We need to actively seek out God’s advice like the disciples did back then.
God will give different kinds of answers to our questions, but rest assured He will ALWAYS answer you.
It may be a Yes, other times a No, sometimes Wait, and other times a New solution that you never imagined.
We’ve all had times when God answered our prayer just the way we asked. It feels wonderful when that happens and reaffirms our sense of direction and desire to be within God’s will. Then there are times when we don’t get what we asked for. That can hurt and leave us confused at first. Usually down the road we will realize that God had our best interests at heart in denying our requests. Often we see that something better was allowed to come along by not getting what we originally asked for.
An example of a time in the New Testament when God answered a prayer with a Yes was in the Gospel of John. After Jesus had fed 5,000 people at the end of a long day of preaching to them, filling them spiritually and physically, He disappeared. At nightfall the disciples wanted to also get away from the crowd, so they got in their boat and began to cross the Sea of Galilee back to Capernaum. As a “great wind” caused the boat to rock, certainly they were wishing Jesus was with them again and probably prayed for His Presence. Then, “they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; . . . they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going” (John 6:15-21).
In this case God saw the disciples in need, and He answered their prayer right away by sending Jesus to be with them. He did not give them a new direction to follow, but merely calmed them, reassured them on their current path, and pushed them to achieve their goal of getting to land. Sometimes God doesn’t want us to change the direction we are taking in life or take on a new ministry, He just wants to reassure us that we are going the right direction by giving us a little push along the path we are already on. Jesus’ presence on the boat gave the disciples hope and courage to just keep going toward Capernaum as they were intending.
There are other times when God Delays answering our prayers because the timing isn’t right or the question we are asking isn’t right. He will eventually answer the prayer, most likely in a way we hadn’t thought of or at a time much later than we wanted. That is because God knows what is best for us and His ways are bigger than we can imagine (Mark 19:26).
An example of God answering prayer with a New and unexpected way of handling a problem came soon after Jesus’ Ascension. The disciples were overworked with the growing number of followers needing baptized, preached to and meeting their physical needs. They came to God with concerns of how to handle this good problem. God answered their prayer by instructing them to do something new: name the very first deacons to assist the apostles (Acts 6:1-6). There are times when God gives us the inclination and opportunity to forge a new path in our lives. Whether it is a new way to serve Him, a new job or home, having another child, or other smaller new directions He will give the positive reassurance that He approves that avenue for us to take. There are times when God gives an answer that is even bigger and better than we could’ve ever imagined too; this happened in our family just recently!
Whenever we have big decisions, or even in everyday little decisions on how to be the best Christians we can be, it is important to seek God’s advice and look for His Presence around us. We need to ask our questions with the confidence that God WILL answer, then trust that His answer will be best for us.
Just as Jesus appeared suddenly in answer to the disciples’ prayer and got into their boat, Jesus is always at our side accompanying us, encouraging us, and pushing us along whether it’s on our current path or new paths. He just wants us to ask, listen, and act with hope, faith and gratitude.
Copyright 2018 Colleen Mallette