“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3 NIV)
When I was a freshman in high school I fell in love with a girl. She didn’t know it, of course. I never spoke to her and only admired her from afar. She was what you would call, “Out of my league.” She was a year older than me. She was also pretty, perky, and popular. Puberty on the other hand had hit me with the subtlety of a semi running over a possum. I was skinny, pimply, gangly, and gawky. I was also painfully shy around girls. I can remember that at the I time I didn’t pray much or even talk to God. There came a moment, though, when I asked God for the courage to speak to this girl. Then I walked up to where she was chatting with a group of friends, opened my mouth, and froze. My heart pounded in my chest, I couldn’t speak, I turned around fast and walked away. In my mind I was screaming, “Why God Why!” but I got no answer. I didn’t pray for a long time after that and never approached that girl again. After a while I moved on to the other agonies of adolescence and forgot about her.
The other day, however, that moment came back to me. The radio was playing the song where Garth Brooks thanks God for unanswered prayers and that memory popped into my mind. Looking back now I think God in His Love probably spared me the pure pain of being shot down in flames by that girl. Even if by some miracle she had liked me, talked to me, and dated me it might have thrown off the entire journey of my life. I might have gone to a different college. I might never have met my future wife or had the three wonderful children who have blessed my life with so much light and love. I might not have found the faith that I have today, learned what I have about Love, or helped the people I’ve helped. I might not even be writing this now.
In this life we get both answered and unanswered prayers. But through them both God shows us His Love. May we give thanks for them both and share our own Love all of our days here.
Joseph J. Mazzella