So much of today’s Word is meant to bring consolation:
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted" (Psalm 34:19).
"The one who serves God willingly is heard" (Sirach 35:20).
"The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds . . . the Lord will not delay" (Sirach 35:21).
Yet what if they bring frustration and feel like mere platitudes instead? When suffering, it’s easy to think: But I’m faithful, Lord. Where are these answers You promise? You say You’re all-good, so why this suffering? You work miracles of healing for others—why not for me or my loved one?
Through the struggle and grace of twenty years of compounded chronic suffering, I’m learning it comes down to one hard, simple thing: detachment.
It’s good to desire good things. Ample shelter, healthy relationships, fulfilling work, safety for ourselves and loved ones. But God has been revealing most of the plans I agonize over tend to encompass only this world (especially this or day, or this week). My most pressing desires center around physical comfort and instant gratification, crowding out spiritual growth and eternal considerations.
God’s plan, on the other hand, always encompasses eternity. His most pressing desire is for me to spend forever with Him, in never-ending joy and comfort. His highest consideration is what will most help my eternal soul.
Yes, detachment is the answer: not from inherently good things, but from the desires and anxieties that leave so little room for Him to act.
Do I bring my desires to prayer wrought with anxiety and control? Am I fixated on knowing the details, understanding the meaning, dictating the timing of the answer I’ve determined is best?
Or do I ask Him to purify my desires to align with His will? Do I continually surrender my demand to know it all?
He’s always answering our prayers, sisters. Right now, with His all-knowing wisdom, He’s working all things together for our good because everlasting joy awaits. And He is forever healing us—not always the ways we might expect, but in the soul-deep, eternal ways we need most.
Do you know about Saint Rita? She suffered tremendous physical pain including wounds on her forehead associated with the Crown of Thorns.
Megan Hjelmstad is a wife and mom 24/7 and an Army Reservist in her “spare” time. She is the Stories Manager for the Blessed is She Instagram account. She’s a bibliophile, tea drinker, sleep lover, and avid admirer of Colorado’s great outdoors. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book, Rise Up and our Advent devotional book, All the Generations. When the writing bug hits, you can find out more about her here.