Saturday, May 7, 2016

"Ask and You Will Receive"... But WHEN? How Long, O Lord?

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whatever you ask the Father in my name

he will give you.
Until now you have not asked anything

in my name;
ask and you will receive,

so that your joy may be complete"
(John 16:23-24).

But wait, Jesus. It doesn't seem to work quite like You seem to be saying here. I've asked for tons of things that I haven't gotten, at least not according to the specifications implied by "whatever you ask...He will give you."

I understand, of course, and I'm grateful that He hasn't given me everything I've asked for, because I've asked for things in the past that I now know were pretty dumb. In fact, the Father answered my prayers more deeply by protecting me from my own stupidity. Thank you, Father! Thank you!

Really, seriously, thank You!

Thank You for doing Your will and not mine. You know what truly corresponds to my needs and what will really fulfill me. You have saved me from disasters that I would have gotten into if You had given me my own way.

And yet, there are still things that I don't understand. Sometimes it seems like the deepest begging, the most ardent cries of my heart to Him, the most fundamental and desperate prayers are met by... Silence.

What is this awesome, agonizing, mysterious Silence?

I want to know God's will. Silence. I want to understand. Silence. I want to grow in faith and virtue and witness and good deeds. I want to build up the good in the world, be a peacemaker, bring people to salvation and the fullness of the faith in Him. Silence, Silence, Silence.

Where are you, O God? Why have you forsaken me?

And here is where I begin to really learn what it means to pray "in the name of Jesus." Invoking His name is not some conjuring trick to get God to do my will. It means uniting my prayer to the heart of Jesus and letting Him take over my hopes and desires and sufferings, letting Him find me and carry me from within the silence of my own helplessness to the Silence of His Love.

He wants to shape me through the cross to the resurrection of that Love which answers all my needs beyond the boundaries of my own asking. To ask "in His name" is to ask all the way to the depths of everything and my own self, and to receive Him for whom I have been created and who sums up all things in Himself.

The road to the fullness of joy is a road of unconquerable hope, because Jesus has promised that He is with us in the deepest darkness and the greatest silence. He is transforming our suffering through His own suffering into the joy that can never be taken from us.

Lord I believe! Help my unbelief! Jesus, help me. I don't understand. I am so broken, so much in need of healing. Father I beg you to carry me in Jesus, in His name, in His heart, in the Holy Spirit who awakens joy.

With all I have been given, why do I so often feel so terribly alone? Why, O God?

You are in the depths of the depths, in the Silence beyond all things and myself and everyone, You. And so I hurt and endure and wait... in hope, in trust, in the name of Jesus.