Discerning God's will for anything is pretty difficult! Sure, we've prayed. We've novena'd. We've even pilgrimaged for that clear "yes" from God. "Is this the one?"
After St. Therese's novena--my husband and I were seeing roses everywhere--wallpaper, in someone's last name, in a woman's dress, on the altar in church--everywhere! Was this the Little Flower's way of shouting at us? Maybe. But perhaps, we're using prayer like a vending machine. If you simply put in a prayer into the slot, choose your request, and voila, your answer comes out of the bottom. Prayer doesn't work like that. This was a lesson for us to remember. Even if you do have that great faith that a saint will come through for you, it's just not how God works.
We've also been tuning into the scriptures. In seems that every Bible verse is telling us to either "store up treasures in heaven" or "ask and it will be given to you." As a couple who will be making a financial risk to make the retreat center happen, these verses are certainly consoling. Is Jesus speaking to us directly here?
Yes, there are times when we can be bowled away by an answered prayer, but that's not the norm. That's not how it ordinarily works. It takes lots of prayer. Lots of consistent prayer. And usually a lot of waiting.
Even if you've never had to open a retreat center, we know that this experience of trying to find God's will is something you can relate to. We've all prayed for spouse selection, jobs, moves, house purchases, pregnancies, and more.
I've seen recent books out on "Discerning God's Will." And I think maybe if I read this book, I will see clearly what God wants. All I have to do is order the book, read it, and that will bring me the answer I seek.
But I've been down this path before. I've read many books like that in the past when I've been looking for other answers to prayer. Is there really anything else I can do differently?
Well, yes. Actually, there is. And I'm not sure if these books on discerning God's will mention this, but one way that we can "hear" what Jesus is telling us is through the people he puts in our lives. Wisdom and advice from others. Jesus incarnate in others.
So last weekend we took a couple of friends up to the place that we think God has provided for us. We gave them the grand tour. We even showed them an alternative place. Over pizza and beer afterwards, my husband and I listened to what they said. They liked it. A lot.
Next weekend, we take our family to see the place. I guess this might be the final test.
Coincidences or answered prayer?
We find ourselves in a week of waiting. . . again. . . . We think this is the right place.
Please send a prayer our way!
Dear Jesus, please help us to see!