Let’s say you pray that your grandchildren will be protected but they have a terrible accident and great suffering occurs. God doesn’t make the bad thing happen, but he knows that through it all souls are in the making. He’s not always busy protecting us from bad things happening, but always working with us and through us to bring good out of evil, redemption out of suffering and glory out of disaster. It is in this difficult process that souls are strengthened and we ascend the mountain of purification.
Disappointment is invariably rooted in wrong expectations.
If we expect God to be our Sugar Daddy–always making us happy and always protecting us from harm, then we will be disappointed because that’s not the business he is in.
His plan is to bring us to perfection, and that might mean that he helps us through bad times so we enter into the path of our ultimate destiny–which is sanctity. If we study the lives of the saints we will see that this is precisely what happens. You will not find one saint who sails through life with everything peachy keen. All of them endure hardship, darkness, despair, rejection, misunderstanding and grief. If that is our destiny, then the lives of the saints should show us what we should expect.
Think of it like this. God is more like a coach or a drill sergeant than a grandfather. He loves us just the way we are, but he loves us too much to leave us that way.
Like a coach or drill sergeant he is going to put us through training and this might mean we have to run an extra lap or do some extra push ups. Life might be tough, but that makes us tough.
Our prayers then should be in line with this understanding of what God’s will is for us and for the world.
Once our prayers are aligned to this expectation we will be amazed how our prayers are answered.
When our will aligns with God’s and we come to understand more and more of the way he works in the world, then we become aware that “with God all things are possible.”
Jesus’ promises that God will answer our prayers are set in this larger context, and when we slowly learn these lessons prayer becomes a joy and answers to prayer an amazing reality.