Thursday, November 20, 2014

When to Pray


I have told many women over the years that sometimes God is the only one who can make things right and that, rather than call out to him as a last resort, perhaps we should start with him. Sometimes it is easier to share things like that than practice them for me.

I have been in pain for weeks.  I know that my arthritis has inflamed my spinal nerves which has caused the pains that shoot down my legs.  I have struggled with this off and on for years.  But this time fear has begun to crept into my mind.  What if the pain doesn't go away?  What if I end up needing narcotic pain medication all the time?  With each step my body struggles to take, each pose it attempts to make, my spirit flies to Jesus for refuge from my searing lumbar spine.  But I do not ask for healing.  I used to.  I used to believe that it might be possible.  That it was my responsibility to ask.  I just don't know anymore. 

The other night my dogs got out of the yard.  Again. I wanted to pray. I want St Anthony to "come around." I wanted the fear and pain to stop. But I didn't. Instead I drove and walked and talked to neighbors and went to bed numb emotionally and pain physically. By 2am everyone was back home & tucked in kennels & bed. Thankfully. But I had refused to pray about it. 

Last Friday I found out that a woman who I admired, a leader, a person who cared for many over the years, had overdosed and died. The finality of it still gives me pause.  I prayed for her, as she struggled after losing her husband, as she lost herself to addiction yet again. But did God not hear my prayers & the prayers of those watching horrified as she slowly killed herself? This woman who was a rock for many simply crumbled to dust. Did God not hear her begging? My heart is still hurting. But it isn't just these situations. There are so many that keep happening when I wonder about prayer.

I am afraid to pray.  Well, to pray for things. He talks to me. I love to spend time with him.  But there is this awkward stillness between us. That stillness when there is something you need to address but it is risky. I need him, but I don't want to be disappointed and to create a problem. I don't want to have to figure out what to do with silence and inaction on the things that are so vital. I don't want to contend with questions about whether he can and if he can why won't he. For me. For others.

Once a friend called me in the middle of the night. I answered concerned, waking instantly, ready to jump out of bed and fly to her. She had called me by mistake though and was horrified that she didn't know what to do. 

Is God willing to fly to my side? What does that look like? Would it be healing? The lost found? Wholeness restored? Why does it look like he allows so many things to just continue on to unfortunate endings? Why does it appear that he is apathetic at best, malicious at worst? 

I don't have any answers. I don't expect to anytime soon. Somehow that is ok. I worry about tripping over the elephants that keep multiplying, but for now I see them & value the relationship we do have, in spite of them.  

What are your questions like? Or do you have answers? 

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