Blessing withheld or bestowed?

I would hazard a guess that most, if not all believers, at some point question why prayers for assistance are not answered, at least not the way they expect. I had a little insight on that dilemma with Vera’s recent trip to the vet. 

Vera and car rides are polar opposites like water and electricity, a dangerous combination when mixed. The vet’s office is less than 5 minutes away, a whooping 1.3 miles, yet to hear her, one would think she was undergoing the most horrendous torture. To some degree, I can’t fault her for crying so much when she is imprisoned in her carrier going at a rate of speed that is outside of her control. Much like me on a roller coaster minus the hills, although at least I choose to go on the ride; she didn’t have any choice. To add insult to injury, I only fed her the wet food portion of her morning meal, withholding the kibble portion until we returned. I’ve learned from previous experiences that all that crying and stress makes her vomit and the dry food is not as quickly digested as the wet. Add on the shot and being poked and prodded by a person she doesn’t know and that is the recipe for total misery. 

While I’m sure Vera understands some English, her comprehension of the language is on a par with my understanding of her meows. They get my attention and may give me a rough idea of what she wants. Unfortunately, there’s no way to explain to her why she doesn’t get kibble before a car ride. All she knows is that I’m not feeding her. That thought prodded me to reflect about how I feel when praying to God for some blessing: help with a job, healing for a friend, understanding Scripture better, etc., and those prayers seem to go unanswered. Just like Vera wanting her morning kibble, I want my request to be answered immediately and in the way I expect it to be. 

Sometimes when I am cognizant that God’s answer seems to be delayed, I wish I could understand why. If Vera did understand why her kibble will be given at a later time, I’m not sure I would be able to find her and get her into the carrier to take her to the vet. Who wants to go to the doctor and get a shot? I know there are some people who avoid doctors completely. So, if God wanted to communicate why the answer to my request was not forthcoming, in reality, I probably would not want to know. 

I also couldn’t help drawing a parallel with the pandemic situation. It’s been almost a year, and while the vaccine seems to herald the promised return to normalcy, we’re still in the midst of this challenge. Here too, it seems like our “kibble” is being withheld from us. It’s hard to see that this could actually be a blessing for us. And like Vera, when we do get our kibble, we will be able to  enjoy and benefit from it, because the stressful situation will be over and we’ll be able to more easily calm ourselves down. 

God does work in ways mysterious and hard to comprehend. We need to remember the vastness of His creation reflects His infinite care for all His creation, down to the tiniest detail. He knows what’s best for us, even when we think we already have the answer. And, if a blessing seems to be withheld or delayed, it just may be that the blessing is the delay. We can trust Him and His omnipotence. 

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