"If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it" (John 14:14).
I don’t understand those words. I never have. Because how can they possibly be true?
I’ve prayed for loved ones to be healed of disease and addiction, only to lose them just the same.
I’ve prayed for my womb to be opened, for a baby to live and grow inside of me, but it remains as barren as any desert waste.
I’ve prayed for work to do, guys to date, and blessings to come, always in Jesus’ name, and His answer was still no.
But then I look at the life I live now—the work I do, the man I married, the baby I adopted—and all I can say is, “Thank you.”
I have this life because of unanswered prayers. If God had said yes to my prayer to marry my college crush, I wouldn’t be married to my husband who loves me better than anyone ever has.
If God had said yes to my prayers to conceive, I wouldn’t be holding a black-haired baby with eyes the color of a stormy sea. And I can’t even begin to imagine not being his mama.
God has always seen what I couldn’t. He has always known what I didn’t. From all eternity, He heard every prayer I would utter, and said yes to some and no to others, knowing the perfect answers—the answers I would ultimately desire—for me and for every person who has ever or will ever live.
Some answers I understand now. Some I don’t. But the ones I do understand help me trust in the wisdom and goodness of all God’s answers. They also help me trust that someday, I will understand more—that at the end of days, when I see God, I also will see that He said yes to every prayer I would have prayed had I known what He knows.
You're not alone if you still don’t fully understand Jesus’ promise, “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” But we can trust He means it.
We trust in God's plan and turn to Our Mother Mary to rejoice at God's presence among us this Easter season with this ancient hymn.
Emily Stimpson Chapman is the author of more than a dozen books and studies for women, including The Catholic Table: Finding Joy Where Food and Faith Meet and These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body. She also served as the general editor for the Formed In Christ High School Textbook series (jointly published by the St. Paul Center and the Sophia Institute). Emily likes her coffee hot, her martinis dirty, and wine dry. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and son in their 1890 Victorian money pit.