Saturday, January 25, 2014

On the right path

We've had a lot of reactions in the last week from our loving, extended Christian family. But just a little of the love and support has been tinged with what I think is a misunderstanding of how God works. 

I'm all for prayer. I'm all for fasting. I know that the laying of hands is both biblical and welcome here. But it also seems like writing a formal letter to the guy already in the room here with us. Needed, yes. 

But we've felt his presence so strong since we got here, and we feel his care for us so strong, it just doesn't seem like a formal form of spiritualism is necessary in the sense that it won't make him pay more attention than he already is. He is here. He does know. He understands our pain and fear and he isn't going to let go of us. 

Conversely, he says in the Bible to keep praying. To nag him even. We want people's prayer. Don't get me wrong. We won't get through this without it. I know that. 

The other thing that has been bothering me a little is when people have said/implied, "let's pray this away." It seems like the right thing to say, and it certainly shows people's love for us and their faith in God. It just sounds like there is a certain formula we should pray and then it'll all be ok. 

I know prayer is stronger than any medicine, but I also know God himself is familiar with suffering and according to his purposes, allows it. I know God will provide for us, but I don't believe that it is his will to take this journey away from us. He brought us here for a reason. He's put us on a very difficult path but I know he will be faithful to walk down this path with us. I know that even though he has chosen this for us, he has not abandoned us. 

Sometimes it seems like people would rather wave a magic prayer wand and make it better than to accept our grief and help us carry our burden. I feel like that saying "let's pray it away" minimizes my struggle. That I shouldn't feel pain or fear or sorrow because we can just pray it away like it was nothing big to start with. I know no one means it like that, but I can't get away from that feeling. It just seems like people want to solve the problem. Or maybe they just don't know what to say and it's something they've heard before so they use it. 

I think saying"Let's pray for God's wisdom, or courage or strength" would be more helpful. Or "let's pray for God to help you with the pain," or "let's bring this to Jesus," or "we know God's plan is to bless you and we know He will use this to show more of himself to you." Or not say anything except, "I'm sorry you have this to go through and we love you." 

Please continue to pray. Please. And I know that none of our prayers are perfect. And I know any misguided prayers are heard by our gracious God who sees the heart and answers all of our prayers out of his abundance of love and grace. I know that it is because of all the prayer that we've had so much peace through this. We can rejoice in his faithfulness together, and that even when He allows us to suffer He gives us an abundance of his peace and love and his presence. What a miracle.

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