Column: Answered prayers are not always easily recognized

by Jacki Corrigan

Long ago, when our granddaughter Beth was in grade school, she was hurt by something a classmate said. Her wounded feelings deflated her usually cheerful approach to life.

After praying for her and the ongoing situation, I went a step further in prayer. I asked God to please give me the words to say to her that might help her to see the beauty that was intrinsically hers. With no response forthcoming, I took the issue into my own hands and began telling her at the end of many conversations what I knew to be true.

I told her that she was a child of God, that she was precious in his sight and that he loved her more perfectly than I loved her, because he was the author of love.

Years went by and the need for that little reminder continued to arise. But soon after she left for college, the call came in.

“Grandma, there’s no one here to tell me that I am a child of God,” said Beth, “and I need to hear it.”

I immediately realized that God had indeed given me words that had sustained her when the road got rough. I immediately apologized to God and thanked him for the gentle words that had given her dignity.

Years later, a call came in from Beth. She and her husband Patrick were anxiously awaiting their first child and she had a request: “Grandma, will you find a quote or a Scripture verse that will direct our new baby’s life?”

Everything in me knew that I had to return to the God I had taken 18 years to thank. But I told her, “Sure,” trusting that our loving and merciful God would forgive my tardy acknowledgement of his gift of words, which I had claimed as my own for many years.

So, humbly I went to him again and asked for help.

A week before we needed the words that this precious little one could claim as his beacon in life, I attended a regional conference . . . and there it was, spoken by a friend. As she laid the words before us as if they were golden, I knew they were the words that could guide and ennoble our first great-grandchild. The words were imprinted on his birth announcement and they are destined to be framed and reside in his room as he grows strong in the grace of God’s love.

As we hold him close, our hearts whisper: “Go, Patrick Thomas, and become who you are.”

“You are the unique, irreplaceable unrepeatable presentation of the face of God for the people of your lifetime.”

— Pope John Paul II

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