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You Can’t Always Get What You Want

“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well you might find you’ll get what you need.” (The Rolling Stones)

I can say with almost absolute certainty that this is the first and last time that I’ll ever begin my blog with a line from a Rolling Stones song, but it just seemed to fit today’s message. In my work as a Catholic evangelist, one of the questions that I hear over and over is, “Why didn’t God answer my prayer?” Many people are devastated when God doesn’t answer their prayers. In reality, the cause of their frustration is not that God didn’t answer their prayers, but that He didn’t answer them in the way that they wanted!

A few days ago, my Mother-In-Law, Betty Moynahan, passed away from leukemia. For the past 6 months, I have been praying every day for her to be healed. Although it was difficult because I loved Betty, I left the details up to the Lord. I knew that He would heal her when and how He saw fit. After much suffering, the Lord completely healed Betty on January 19. Her leukemia is gone, the nausea, weakness and other symptoms have disappeared. Almighty God has healed her by allowing her to pass from this earthly life. Although our family is sad at the loss of our beloved mother and friend, we understand that God did indeed answer our prayer.

Almost everyone is familiar with Jesus’ promise, “Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to Him who knocks it will be opened (Mt 7:7-8)”. However, we often miss Our Lord’s next sentence, “Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will Your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Mt 7:9-11)

While it’s difficult for us to accept the fact that we often don’t know what’s best for us, coming to grips with that fact will bring us great peace. Ultimately, Our Lord grants us those things that are needed for our salvation. While we may never fully understand what we truly need, we can achieve a better understanding through prayer, reading Scripture, studying the teachings of the Church and receiving the Sacraments. Despite doing all these things, there will still be times when we just won’t know what is truly best for our salvation, but that’s OK…That’s God’s job!

Because of this, it never hurts to append our prayer with the words of Our Lord as He prayed in the garden:

“…nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou will (Mt 26:39).”

‎”We must understand, then, that even though God doesn’t always give us what we want, He gives us what we need for our salvation.” (St. Augustine of Hippo)


  1. Robyn says:

    Excellent post Gary.. Exactly what I believe but also sometimes how I feel too. Truly excellent post.

  2. Ritaestelle says:

    Beautiful and uplifting Gary!

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