Warning: slow morning at the office, ergo ridiculously long and rambling question. My apologies.
Before I get into the details of my questions, let me just state that I’m pretty well educated on the Faith and Catholic issues, and I’m not doubting the existence or goodness of God. That being said, I’m having a bit of a spiritual crisis right now. I have, or had - it’s a bad week, so I’m not even sure where I stand any more - a significant devotion to St. Therese. I’ve asked her a lot over the last year or so, and almost always got roses in what I thought were positive answers to my prayers (which always dealt with the same issue). But now it’s been a long time, and nothing has improved - rather, the situation has gotten progressively worse. I’m miserable and losing hope… In spite of my belief in God, I’m feeling angry, betrayed, even lied to (which is stupid, because I know God doesn’t lie). I know some people are against the idea of asking for signs, or believing in signs, but the circumstances in which I received my first rose from St. Therese were pretty extraordinary and, I think, undeniable. Am I putting too much stock in this? I thought St. Therese was pretty “legit”, and known for sending roses, so I trusted.
Time is running out, and so is my patience. I can’t understand why God, through Saint Therese, would promise something that I truly believe is a completely good thing, and then not carry through; why He would get my hopes up like that on the issue most important to me in the world, and then let me down. When things started going wrong, I clung to what I thought was the childlike faith we’re supposed to strive for, and trusted that everything would work out in the end because God can do anything. “Maybe this is just a test”, I thought. But now it seems almost impossible that what I thought I had been promised will happen, and I’ve fought against it but now am succumbing to anger, etc. at God. If what I desire is wrong, then why did it seem that, over the 2.5 years I’ve been praying about it, God again and again kept pointing me in the same direction and encouraging me to keep hoping for it? I’ve put countless hours of prayer, rosaries, Eucharistic adoration, Masses, sacrifices, etc. into this. If no prayer is wasted, then why doesn’t God use the merit of my prayers to point me in the right direction if I’m not in it already? I’ve been getting so sad, depressed, and angry recently, it’s driving me crazy. I’m normally a pretty happy person, but I can’t seem to get out of this pit. I beg God for help, even just to stop feeling so sad all the time, and don’t seem to get any reply, any help, nothing.
There are so many passages in the Bible about the efficacy of prayer:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” And many more. Now I feel like that’s just a pack of lies - though at the same time I really don’t believe it is lies because I believe in God and that He is goodness itself. So it’s a battle of feelings and evidence (or lack of evidence) against my beliefs and what I know to be true.
I’m crying out from the depths and asking God to hear my voice, but it doesn’t feel like He is. I believe, but maybe my belief isn’t strong enough - I want and really need to see a sign of God’s love. What’s the point of praying if our prayers don’t get answered? Even if I can’t get what I want, why isn’t God helping me in any other way? Why does God tell us to ask and we shall receive, if it’s not true? How do I reconcile what the Bible says about the efficacy of prayer, with the stark reality that my prayers are not being answered in any way?