God Knows What Is Best

Tuesday of Week 1 in Lent

Is. 55:10-11 & Mt. 6:7-15

God speaks to us through the readings of the Mass. Today's passage from Isaiah points out the importance and usefulness of His word that comes down like the rain and the snow from the heavens, and waters the earth to give growth to the seed that the sower has sown. If we are eager to receive God’s word, as when we long to read the letter from someone we love, and prepare our hearts to receive God’s word, we can be certain that it will bear abundant fruit in our lives. He assures us of this (Isaiah 55, 11) “The words that goes from My mouth does not return to Me empty, without carrying our My will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.”

Jesus says, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” This is true for God is a wise and loving Father Who knows more about our needs than we know ourselves. He is more willing to meet our needs, too, than we are prepared to ask. If God already knows our needs, and if He really cares as He does, then what is the point of asking? The reason is that we often don't know what are our real needs. We confuse them with our wants. Every Wednesday and Saturday I wonder how many people who do the lottery pray to God to win the big prize that day - my guess is that there are many. Yet what is it that Jesus asks us to pray for on those days? It is something as simple as our daily bread. What a difference there is between millions of pounds and our daily bread! This shows how there can be a tendency to ask for the wrong things, even things that are not good for us. This is why Jesus through the Our Father teaches us to recognise that the necessary things for which we should be praying are our daily bread, the forgiveness of our sins, deliverance from evil and strength in time of temptation.

But if these things are good and necessary, why should we have to ask for them? God, like any wise father, would never spoil his children. Think of a man who has a prosperous business and whose children don't need to go to work because he can give them everything. But if they never had to make any effort, they would not appreciate what they were given. For their own good he encourages them to participate in the family business and earn their keep. In the same way, God encourages us to co-operate with Him, and grow to be responsible people.

A good father also knows that some gifts have to be withheld from his children until the time is right. You would never give a small child the keys to your car, or a book which is too difficult to read. When mature enough to be able to use these things, he or she will ask you for them. God knows us so well. He knows what is appropriate for us at the different stages in our lives, and He will grant our requests when the time is right.

Lord Jesus, whenever we make prayers of petition, let us never forget how You began Yours - "Not My will, but Thy will be done” - and that what we ask for must be in accordance with God's will for us.