Seeking Understanding

In our first reading this weekend, God tells Solomon that he will be given whatever he asks for. Solomon asks only for an understanding heart. Solomon wants only to know God’s will, so that he may serve Him by serving God’s people.

Solomon could be each and every one of us who has ever felt like our needs, sufferings, or desires are overwhelming and don’t understand why certain things turn out as they do.  We often don’t understand why we must suffer. This passage shows us that we can lean into God’s wisdom and seek understanding. What this exchange teaches us is that it’s not the greatness of the need or our ability to understand that determines whether we will receive His grace. Instead, it is the confidence with which we approach Him, our faith that he loves us and wants only what is good for us. Solomon doesn’t pretend to be wise enough on his own—he knows he needs God’s help to be a just king.

There are times in our lives when we need to let go of our own instinct to “handle it all” on our own. There are many times when I am in need of God’s mercy and grace but feel that I am unworthy of asking for it, or that I ought to be able to tough it out or fix whatever it is by myself. Or worse, I doubt God’s willingness to hear my request. But I am invited to come boldly to the throne of grace and receive the mercy and help that I need—anytime, anywhere, no matter how low I may feel.

That invitation is open to all of us who look to Christ. We can come boldly, because Jesus is our greatest friend. He is the One who loves us and gave Himself for us. Because of this invitation, we can be sure that we will not be turned away. We can be confident that we will always be welcomed by Him, and that an endless supply of His mercy and grace will pour out for us in our time of need.

Your need may be that you’ve suffered the loss of someone in your life, who meant so much to you that you wonder how you’ll go on, and the pain of missing them here with you in this life seems to leave you lost and raw with pain.  That need may be because you are suffering from something physical or from an illness that won’t seem to go away or that eludes diagnosis. It may be because there’s a failure in a relationship that is causing you a great deal of sorrow and grief, even feelings of shame or guilt. It may be because there’s a sin in your life that you fear you can’t resist. It may even be because you have come to feel that you have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. These are too big to go through alone. We need to humble ourselves as Solomon did, and ask for help. Most importantly, we must ask for God’s help. He waits to embrace us and reassure us of His love, especially in these moments of terrible struggle and suffering.

I believe that in this suffering, if we are willing to open our hearts to receive understanding as Solomon did, no matter how great our need, that we will be seeking wisdom from Someone who loves us greatly and looks upon us with great compassion. Coming to Him, we will be opening ourselves to the kind of comfort only Jesus and our faith can provide, because Jesus doesn’t turn anyone away who comes to Him with an open heart. He receives everyone who comes to Him in sincere faith—and receives them with warm tenderness and limitless loving compassion.

When things feel overwhelming to me, unsolvable on my own, too painful to bear, this prayer often helps me to open my heart boldly and confidently to Jesus. May it do the same for those of you who need Him especially right now.

Jesus, help us through this time,
Help us to keep our eyes on You,
Our hearts in you. 
Keep us steady on the right path.
Thank You for giving us a chance to suffer for You.
To suffer with You for the sake of your Gospel.
Mother Mary, Queen of Mercy, pray for us.

Lisa Amos
Director of Mission and Ministry

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