I struggle with God's promises


A few Scripture passages where God promises to provide:

Mark 11:24 “I Tell you therefore, everything you ask and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours.”

John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it.”

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you, search and you will find.”

Luke 18:1-8 parable of persistant widow and the judge

Above a few Scripture quotations where God promises to give to those who ask. There are conditions attached such as faith and remaining in him.

A lady friend in our parish was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. There was much prayer offered for her. She herself was a very devout lady and had a great devotion to the Eucharist. She and her husband had very strong faiths and I cannot think of a better person when it comes to faith and remaining in him.

She prayed recently that God would spare her for 5 years so she can see her son ordained. She passed away on Tues 28-Dec-17.

I am really struggling to make any sense of the above passages and feel lost. What hope have I in asking for anything sincerely if my friend’s prayer request was not granted? My faith is not as strong as hers and I certainly do not remain in him as she did. As far as I am concerned God reneged on his promise. He did not give even though she believed.

Yes, I know our ways are not his ways and he always knows what is best for us, etc. But why does he make such promises if he is not going to keep them but override them as he thinks fit?



There is a Psalm that, at least for me, explains this. I have a plaque with this verse in my kitchen so I’ve had a lot of time to ponder it.

“Delight thyself in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4

To delight myself in the Lord means (to me) to become fully immersed in Him - to become one with Him. If I am fully immersed in Him, then whatever I want will be His will, because I will want only what He wills for me.

I’ve lived long enough that I no longer look at the short term, but the long term. It would be nice to live longer, to be healthier (I have a chronic condition), to have enough money to do some fun things. I have a LONG list of things I’d like to have, to see, to have happen - but what really counts is what happens after I die.

Only then will I really be able to delight myself in the Lord and possess the desires of my heart.

I have no idea why the verses you mentioned are written the way they are. I suspect that we weren’t meant to take them literally.


~Eternal rest, grant unto her O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.~

Oh my goodness, what a difficult place to be in, and I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve prayed for you, that God will give you comfort and peace.

In the meantime – we must remember that sometimes the answer to prayer, even faithful prayer, is No. We don’t always get to know why, which probably isn’t very helpful to you… but God does know why. At her mother’s request, St. Catherine of Siena prayed God to spare her mother’s life at a time of severe illness. He said He would, but that it would be better for her to be taken right then, because if she lived she would see a great deal of sorrow. He kept his word and she did live much longer, and she did see many, many sorrows. He knows. We don’t.

Perhaps a shift in focus would help. You say that your friend’s faith is stronger than yours, and that leaves you feeling helpless, because if her prayer wasn’t answered, and the prayers of all those people, then how could yours be? A horizontal focus like that – looking at other people, comparing ourselves to them – will lead us to where you’re found yourself: confused, maybe a little lost, perhaps losing hope. But when we keep a vertical focus, eyes fixed only on God, all of the other pieces fall into place. They really do. I know this is a Protestant music group, but the lyrics are apt:

If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will
-“Just Be Held”, Casting Crowns

Likewise, focusing on those promise-verses at a time when they’re only confusing you is not going to be helpful. Reader though I am, I humbly suggest you take your nose out of the Book and go pay a visit to the Author. Look to God. You can do literally that in Adoration, and you don’t need to pray if you can’t or don’t want to, you can just go and look at Him. He’ll put you back together. Really, he will; I walk in every morning feeling like a box of loose puzzle pieces, and walk out feeling like my edges and corners are all fitted together. (If you’re anything like me, and especially since you’re suffering a new grief, bring lots of tissues!)

Another thing I’ve found very helpful when confusion is weighing me down is to offer it to Jesus, as in, “Jesus, please accept my confusion as a sacrifice of love to you.” The weight invariably lifts. The only reason you’re confused is because you’re trying to love God, and you’re refusing to walk away despite the difficulty and the pain. That is a love-offering if ever there was one.

I’m sorry I can’t help you understand how those verses fit in with your current grief. I don’t understand much of anything, myself, but these are the tools I use to stay with God when I don’t. I hope you might find some of them helpful. :hug1:


Hi, Eugene!

…I fully concur with you… it is puzzling… it seems that God dangles a carrot just a few micrometers away just to snatch it from our grasp…

…consider the Apostles… were they spared persecution, turmoil, attacks, blasphemy, debasement, oppression and eventual martyrdom?

…St. Paul speaks of a man who was taken, in a vision, into Heaven… surely that man should have no trouble getting his prayers answered! Yet, he tells us that he prayed to God three times to remove an extremely painful ailment from him…Christ Revealed to him that he should rely on God’s Grace and that it is in affliction that God’s Power is Perfected.

…wow… this is quite confusing… it seems that God is aware of our infirmities and the prayers to be released from them… but God allows both (the infirmities and prayers) to coexist without any intervention so that man would Grow in Knowledge and Trust of God…

…“my Grace is sufficient” would clearly denote that the person that is suffering is not seen by God as a sinner but as a Follower who’s will can be subjected to God specially in times of great travails.

…“Power is made Perfect in infirmity” this would mean that through a Believer’s infirmity God cannot only cleanse and purify the Believer but also the world…

…this is what Mom Believed… this is her Legacy to me… a few hours before she passed she asked me to not allow her situation (history of ailments and disability) as well as her death separate me from God and abandon the Church… her Faith was such that she continued to Stand for Christ as she Witnessed to me and those about her till the end… “my Grace is Sufficient… my Power is made Perfect in Infirmity.”

…yet, there are those who do regain their health and even those who gain financial independence… sadly, only those who remain in Christ allow God’s Grace and Power to work through them… in contrast, most who suffer (check out the sincerity, humanity, and generosity of Believers from the “third-world”–their respect for life and their happiness, even in the midst of great poverty and calamity, is a Powerful Witness to their Faith), and do so in Christ, allow God to use them and their suffering to cleanse the world–I can imagine Purgatory suffering great loss if the Believers would cease offering their joy, happiness, pain, and suffering to Christ.

…His Way is not our ways!

[FONT=“Palatino Linotype”][size=]Merry Christmas!
Maran atha!




Wow, these posts are beautiful. I will never abandon Jesus, for as St. Peter say, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life!”

But sometimes it is hard to make sense of all this. Thank you for the posts, I will read them again and prayerfully reflect on them.

Blessings to you all for 2017!


I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. However, it is important to remember that Scripture cannot be taken out of context with the rest of Scripture. 1 Jn 5:14 says "And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything **according to his will **he hears us. This is a big one that people sometimes forget when they are looking at those other passages-- the prayer has to also be according to His will.

I don’t know why God did not answer your friends prayer exactly as she prayed it, but I do know that it was in the best interest of God’s greater plan that she would pass. One expression I’ve heard about sincere prayer is that God’s answer is either “Yes” “Not Now” or “I have something better in mind.”

Recently, I was reading an article about the wisdom of God. About His wisdom Charles Ryrie said, “The wisdom of God tells us that God will bring about the best possible results, by the best possible means, for the most possible people, for the longest possible time.” I believe this to be true. With regard to your friend I am guessing that in God’s wisdom, it was more beneficial to more people and would possibly lead more people to salvation that she passed now, than if she passed in 5 years. Of course, I cannot know for sure, but I do hope you contemplate this possibility and it brings you some consolation.

God Bless you in this New Year!


You mom reminds me of mine. She was naturally very upset when she found out her cancer was going to kill her, but after a lot of tears & prayer she accepted it. When her minister came to see her a few days before she died, he asked her how she was feeling. With a sweet smile she said, “I’m just fine!”

Whenever I feel like I’ve been dealt a bad hand, I remember her acceptance of her bad hand & accept what God or fate or whatever has sent my way.

I read so many posts from people whose parents are less than stellar and feel so blessed that both my parents were - while not perfect - a good example of Christian life.


Which is better: to remain here on earth and see a son ordained while suffering in great pain while drugged into near unconsciousness, or to look down from above in perfected spirit, sensing, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and even feeling God’s grace descending upon that son from heaven? All of this, knowing that in the blink of a heavenly eye, that same beloved son, as it was with our heavenly Father and His beloved Son, will soon be reunited with you in the bond of love for all eternity.

His ways are not our ways.


I have it myself.

Saint Michael, the archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil, may God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do you, O’ Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God thrust into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls.


Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.


Prayer for a Miracle

God of all creation, you who spoke a simple command and brought forth light from
the darkness, I ask you now to send forth your miracle-working power to heal (Those Dealing with Tinnitus). You cleansed the lepers, opened the eyes of the blind and by
speaking a simple command, you empowered the crippled to rise up and walk.
You sent forth your life-giving power to all those in need, including those you raised from
the dead. I ask you to send forth your healing power into Those Dealing with Tinnitus’s body and give him the strength to fight his illness. I ask this through my Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen


Please accept my condolences regarding the loss of your froend.

I also find these passages a bit confusing at times for similar reasons, but it helps me to consoder that the Apostles, who heard these promises from the very lips of Jesus, apparently did not understand them to mean that they would be spared from suffering.

I like the psalm Angel referred to. I think of Christ’s prayer in Luke 22:42: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.”

Of course, if Jesus is not promising “whatever we want” through his words, we must wonder what he is promising. I tend to believe that it refers to our spiritual needs - that God will provide us with the graces we need to accept and follow His plan for us.

Again, I am truly sorry for your loss. I will pray that you are able to find some comfort in this.


God’s promises to provide anything are 100% based on if the request fits in his will.

If it is not in his will, the answer is no, no matter how much you need it. Doesn’t matter if you ask tons of times, the answer is no because it is not in his will and therefore it is evil.

If it is in his will, OK, you’ll get it. When he decides to give it, is another question.


Hi, Bonnie!

…this is exactly where God’s Grace operates… when we subject our will to His… His Strength becomes ours as we are in Communion with His Spirit… His Power is Perfected in us as He can Testify to the world of His Fidelity to His Followers… it reminds me of Christ’s currency exchange:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]28 Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. 29 Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. 30 For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

(St. Matthew 11:28-30)
…when we give ourselves fully to God we find that, as Daniel in the fire, God will keep us from harm!

Merry Christmas!
Maran atha!




Hi, B!

…I concur with you… our error is that we our bound to our temporal existence and we only see a few feet ahead of us…

…I remember, as a child, one day deciding to walk to that place where the clouds and the earth met… I walked and walked and walked… as I went past one of the neighborhood’s gas stations I realized that there was something wrong… it seemed that the further I walked the further the point where Heaven and earth met would be…

…too often that’s exactly how we view Biblical promises: that which we can see and touch. So we become cofounded when God does not resolve our problems, sate our needs, fulfill our dreams and expectations…

…yet, as quick as we are to blame God for “not fulfilling” His Promises… we are just as quick to ignore Jesus’ Revelations about God’s temporal Providence:

  • “give us this day, our daily bread”
  • “don’t worry about your life”
  • “seek first the Kingdom and his Righteousness”
  • “do not worry about tomorrow”
  • “these things (material health and possessions) shall be added onto you”

[FONT=“Palatino Linotype”][size=]Merry Christmas!
Maran atha!



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