It is my suspicion that this is the single greatest stumbling block to those of us who believe in a loving and living God. What do we say to those who are watching loved ones suffer and/or die? What do we say to children who pray earnestly and see no result? What do we say to the population of nonbelievers who are watching us, and waiting and longing for miracles? What do we say?
As you know, I come from an area of the country where the answers (wrong or right) flow freely. “God does answer, but His answer can be ‘NO.’ " “It was God’s will, don’t question Him.” “Repent of all your sins before you pray.” Or my personal favorite, “You didn’t pray right.” OK. Thanks, it was oh-so-helpful.
I grew up believing in a song I learned to play early on, “I Believe.” One of the verses that I used to holler out as I played (lovely, I am sure) said, “I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word.” After all the years and all the seminary and all the church stuff, I’m still right there. I believe. I believe that God hears us, every one of us, every word.
But this too I believe.
We are not puppets. God does not manipulate us or the world we live in. We pray to be heard. But we also pray to turn our thoughts to God, to remove ourselves from this world for a while, to enter into the thin place that is both spiritual and secular. We pray so we will receive guidance and enlightenment. We pray so that we will draw very near to God, just as Abraham did in the desert, Moses did on Mount Sinai, and Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane. We pray because we believe. And praying shapes our believing. We pray and so we believe.
I’ve been praying for rain. I’ve been praying deep, heartfelt pleas for a deluge of rain. I’ve been praying for a week. No rain. But in the meantime, God has sent me to places where people were praying in gratitude for making it out of the fires alive. God has presented me with the opportunity to make a difference to people who were hungry. God gave me the opportunity to help a young woman escape to the coast for a few days when she and her baby needed fresh air above all else. God has given me many reasons to smile, to laugh, to see faces that I have missed.
It still isn’t rain. It isn’t my idea of the answer to my prayer. But God has refocused me on what I can do, has reminded me of joy, has refocused my attention on letting go of what I cannot fix, like rain.
For now, that is my answer. That is my “I Believe.” That is my giving it all to God.
Volunteers are still needed for the meal train, especially this Thursday, Friday and Sunday nights, which are not filled. We are providing food for Hospitality Village through September to help Paul with his recovery. Please sign up here. If you can’t access the meal train online, please notify Tina or Deacon Lauri (918) 7666-2473.
We pray you will join us every Friday morning for prayer in silence. The Zoom meeting opens at 8:25 A.M. and silent prayer begins promptly at 8:30 and ends at 9:00. Out of an abundance of caution, the meeting will now require a password and the link will not be published here. If you are interested in joining the group, please send an email to Sandra and I will send you the link and password. Please do not share it.