At one time or another we probably all have wanted something we didn't get.
Most of us realize in such a situation that self-pity, bitterness, and resentment will get us nowhere. But perhaps we prayed and still didn't get what we felt we needed. The reason may have been that, as the Bible says, ''Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.'' n1
n1 James 4:3.
Through the study of Christian Science I've come to see that when we don't get what we pray for, we're often entertaining a misconception of God's will. This would limit our prayers, water down our faith, cause us to justify why our prayers are not answered. It would prevent even our most pure desires from being fulfilled.
God is divine Love. It is inconceivable that divine Love would withhold good from its beloved child. The claim that God sends evil to test our fidelity, to try our steadfastness, is a misconception of the nature of Love.
After quoting the Scriptural passage mentioned above, Mary Baker Eddy n2 says: ''That which we desire and for which we ask, it is not always best for us to receive. In this case infinite Love will not grant the request. n3
n2 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.10.
It is the nature of divine love to protect us from evil as well as to give us good. Infinite Love, by the very nature of its allness, precludes whatever is unlike good and governs its spiritual creation harmoniously. But sometimes, when we don't get what we pray for, we may misunderstand this divine law and its operation in our lives.
How clearly Christ Jesus understood that the will of his heavenly Father was always for good! The Master's healing work is a marvelous example of the potential this understanding holds for all of us. Mrs. Eddy observes, ''Jesus never asked if disease were acute or chronic, and he never recommended attention to laws of health, never gave drugs, never prayed to know if God were willing that a man should live.'' n4
n4 Ibid., p. 369.
You may be thinking now: I can accept and understand that God's will would never be for disease or death, but what of the little things? How can I tell if what I want is the will of God or not? Get even clearer as to what God's will for you truly is. Then you'll know.
God's will for His creation is peace, joy, health, abundant good. God's will for you and me is happiness, harmony, freedom, completeness. God's will for us is always abundant life. These qualities are inherent in our actual, spiritual selfhood. The real man, the beloved child of God, is now and forever complete, wanting nothing.
These spiritual truths will bless and heal in proportion to our willingness to claim them as our own and to meet the demands of Christlike living, to follow Jesus' example in thought and action. If we really know that God's will for us is absolute perfection, we'll feel the right direction for our prayer, whatever the need may be. But so long as we identify ourselves as incomplete mortals, we will always be found wanting something.
The Psalmist recognized for all ages the basic truth concerning God's will. He sang, ''The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.'' n5 This inspired declaration can be made practical for all of us.
n5 Psalms 23:1.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. . . . But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:29, 31, 32