Sometimes the greatest gift is the one we didn’t know we needed—the person who walks into our life by surprise when we’re caught up in feelings for someone else, the job we land in the wake of the one we didn’t get, the happiness we find after a different door closed in our face.
Sometimes the greatest gift is the one we didn’t ask for—the unexpected arms of a friend around our shoulders when we feel alone, the compliment from a stranger in a moment of darkness, the opportunity we never planned for, but has shaped the entirety of our lives from this moment on.
Sometimes the greatest gift is the one we receive when we thought God wasn’t listening—when we prayed, when we begged, when we hoped with all our might and watched life crumble beneath us. When we shook our fists at the sky, asking God why He wasn’t hearing our cries. When we felt abandoned, like He had left us when we needed Him the most.
But then, suddenly, we find blessings blossoming from pain—ones we never imagined, or prayed for, or even saw coming.
Sometimes the greatest gift is the one God gives us when we’re too busy praying for something else.
More often than not, we pray for specific things, specific people. We want life to bend according to us; we wanted everything to follow our plans. We pray—selfishly, stuck in the present—only seeing what’s right in front of us and not what’s to come.
But our Father sees beyond our narrow vision. He sees the way our lives will shape and grow and change. He listens to our prayers. But prayers are not wishes, and He is not a genie, meant to grant them as we please.
God hears every hope in our hearts, but moves us according to His perfect will. And sometimes it’s not that He’s ignoring what we desire, but that He’s shaping our future to be far better than we imagined.
It’s not that He doesn’t see the pain we’re experiencing or the people we long to love. It’s not that He disregards the emotions running through our veins, the burdens we long to lift, the ache we want so desperately to cease.
The truth is that He hears, He sees, He cares, and He knows, far better than us, what we need.
Sometimes an unanswered prayer is the biggest blessing of all.
Because it changes our direction, because it shows us real love, because it pushes us to be somewhere, someone else in the wake of pain. Because it teaches us how to let go, to stand up, to move on.
Because it breaks us, rebuilds us, and strengthens us in ways we didn’t have the ability to do alone.
Sometimes an unanswered prayer allows for His plan to come to fruition—for people to get closer to Him, for life to go as it’s intended, for hearts to hurt so that they can heal, for loved ones to walk away in order for all to see His truth and never-ending love.
Sometimes an unanswered prayer brings hope, brings light, brings truth that we’re blinded to when we’re so caught up wishing for something else.
We pray and pray, and still people leave, our hearts get broken, illness and death and pain happen all around us and we don’t see anything but what we didn’t get, what God didn’t give us.
Until, suddenly, one day we take a deep breath and inhale in hope. We inhale in new blessings. We inhale peace and understanding of His will.
And we see that what wasn’t answered has led us to places far greater than before, has given us exactly what we needed, has shaped and built and strengthened our faith in both ourselves and in Him. And we take steps forward, knowing that what we didn’t get is the greatest gift.