Prayers for…….

Prayers for…….

Ugh, I just googled “prayer” and began looking through the images. It’s exasperating.

The whole concept of “prayer” has always been challenging for me. I’ve never fully grasped the whys and wherefores of prayer. I’ve heard all of the reasoning one could ever hear and teachings etc. But when I see it in reality, in my perspective, nothing ever lines up. Oh, yes, I’ve seen wonderful things happen, coincidences and hopeful outcomes. I’ve seen people experience wonderful healing, tremendous blessings that they’d hope for, but I look at all of those who see very different outcomes when they have the same desires, same heart, and same beliefs behind their hopes.

Two major hurricanes

Two friends died this past weekend

A family member going through extensive chemo therapy

Hundreds of thousands dying around the world from tragedy

I’ve changed my approach. I no longer say, “I’m praying for”. Oh, my mind has been filled with thoughts, caring hopeful thoughts for all of those I know who are impacted. I easily think and say, “I hope for”, “or it sure would be wonderful if.” When something amazing happens, I say, “I’m so thankful for” or, “I can really celebrate”. But I really can’t ever say anymore that my prayers were answered, or, “Thanks be to God for answered prayer.” When it hurts, I can also easily say, “I’m so sorry.” or “I hope you’re not alone.”

During our recent weather conditions, as with everyone else, I’ve heard many asking for prayer or praying that the tragedies would go around them. So, if they go around them, this likely means they’ll go to someone else, other than them or their families. Or, of someone experiences a pass, they thank God for the pass and I see several miles away someone else didn’t get the pass and they’re suffering. Are we really praying with such selfish plans? Gee, I sure hope this doesn’t affect me! Or, I want to win this battle, even if it means someone else loses.

Or, someone is praying for miraculous healing, quoting all sorts of Bible scriptures to support their prayers and faith, then the person’s health declines or they may even pass away, then they say “God chose to take them home.” Or “Another angel in heaven.” Human’s aren’t angels!” and I truly never believed God chose to take anyone home. God does not choose to remove our little ones from our lives! Nope, I don’t believe that. But it’s horrific when it happens, painful, and leaves us with mind boggling questions most of the time.

Celebrate healing! I’m truly thankful when someone’s life takes a turn for the better. I’m grateful when a tornado goes back into the sky and skips over humanity and belongings. But I do not believe its God turning the tornado around, or causing it to skip to another location causing devastation. Life happens, good and bad. People live, and people die. Weather can cause tremendous trauma when our lives get in it’s way.

Can’t we just walk alongside one another, support, give, share, and hold one another through challenges? Can’t we just be “thankful” when something wonderful happens? When we ascribe it to “God” then what does that say to someone else who didn’t get the promotion? Does God not love them? Does God not think they begged enough?

I am actually finding more gratification keeping it away from “God heard, or God acted!” and just living in the circumstances, good or bad. I’ve seen deeply motivated people, families, who are encountering life-threatening cancer. They’re connecting, supporting, living through, and with those affected and I can share with their hearts deeply. As soon as they say, “God promised full healing, and I’m standing in faith, believing,” they lose me completely. I lose them because of my thoughts about the many others who do not see the answers they hope for.

I believe in God. I believe in the total connectedness of the universe and the way all things seem to be so intertwined throughout creation. I believe that there are times when things we hope for occur and it’s truly because we’ve desired them to happen, asked for them to happen. I believe in goodness of connection and the way that things at times seem to just line up as in “the stars were in alignment.” And I can see how easily one can say, “Its from God”. But that’s when separation occurs between the have’s and the have-nots. I do not believe God is the big game controller in the sky.

So, today, in the wake of losing two friends in death over the weekend, I’m in shock. I’m deeply challenged when I heard that a mom had just suddenly died in their sleep, at just 60 years old. Her husband came home and she was gone, laying on their bed, he couldn’t wake her. Why? Why did my friend, whom I had promised I’d call, pass on before I could call her? Her family is devastated. People loved her dearly. By all accounts she was beautiful, helpful, caring, and an influencer. God did not call her home. She passed away for reasons unknown at this time. It is just the way it is. And yes, it sucks!

My other friend suffered for a long time with a brain tumor. Painful, enduring, disheartening and it dealt a deathblow to him and his family. They experienced relational healing through it. His family drew close and suffered together in losing their father. His former wife was left with years of struggle from the relationship and then the grief coming from death before she could understand.

Oh, the prayers of many flew up! Prayer vigils, churches across the land supported this man with belief, and statements of God’s healing. The mom, who passed suddenly, had no one beside her as her heart stopped and died alone without any preparation. Rather than “I’m praying for you” what will her husband and sons need now? Once the last amen is said at her memorial, what then? Will there be prayers of faith that their pain will go away? Sometimes that kind of sudden loss creates a pain that never goes away. Is God present in that kind of grief and answering the cries for relief?

Frankly, I’m finding far more comfort in my uncertainty. I’m finding relief knowing that I am no longer believing in a “God” miracle, but rather I’m seeking patience, peace, and joy in circumstances, through life, in trials and in celebration. And I’m no longer “on my knees” begging God for things to be different than they are. But when they are different, I find I can celebrate and connect far more easily because it’s usually because of people responding, or amazing circumstances unexpectedly occurring.

I hope!

I share!

I celebrate!

I hurt!

I struggle!

I don’t understand!

I question!

Not God;

But life. The Universe. Humanity. Creation.

Answers unknown to any human.

Outcomes; unexpected, and desired.

Life is what it is and always has been.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Weather destroys without discrimination.

People die, we all do.

Some find a silver lining and attribute it to God.

Some do not and shake their fists at God.

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One Response to “Prayers for…….”

  1. Jeremy Marks says:

    Great article once again. Thanks John.

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