M. Scott Peck wrote "Life is hard." As prayer also meets the challenges of life, it is hard too, and sometimes heart breaking. In my worst moments, I seem to be split down the middle. Part of me believes God is for me, but part also believes He isn't. Part sees Him as a kind Father who protects, heals and comforts, but then it appears He doesn't always act like it. He is willing, but is He? I know He is good to me from past experience, and I know what the Bible says about God never ever turning His back on us. I also know that my vision is clouded and not seeing clear truth through my pain, but it is still so hard! Then I wonder why I do it. Why pray? Why believe in God at all? Does it really work? Is it all worth it?
Our success in prayer is not supposed to be as the world sees success, even though we unconsciously measure ourselves by the same standards. We think success is reaching the goal every time, getting exactly what we asked for, and sidestepping disaster and suffering. Our prayers have to be answered exactly how we perceived it, or we feel cheated and discouraged. We want to win, and we want everyone to know we won. We want to be recognised for our contribution. We want to feel safe, strong and like we cannot ever be violated or hurt. We want a 100% guarantee against disaster, in the same way we take out car or house insurance. Don't we feel so robbed and cheated if this doesn't happen? However have to let go, and let God do as He knows best. Jesus told us we would suffer. It is in our suffering that we grow to be people of faith, love and kindness. If we never suffered, we would be spoilt brats with no appreciation of pain, or the sanctity of life and love. How much more destructive to each other could we then become?
God has granted everyone a free will. Some will use theirs to hurt others, other will use theirs with kindness. Short of allowing God to control us like mindless puppets, we have to live with the consequences of other's bad choices. In a catastrophe of great magnitude such as a war, or acts of terrorism, there is great suffering. It is a cold, hard reality. We want the freedom to live our lives by our free will, as we please, and this is the price we pay for it.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I have heard this verse quoted many, many times, so often that I don't even stop to think about what this really means when I hear it. We take it for granted that God is 'on tap' twenty-four hours a day. How little we see of how much God is working in us individually through His Holy Spirit. How little we see of His daily efforts to build us up, make us stronger, carry us through, and guide our direction. I know I am blind, but this I also know, that there is a link between my Father and I, that no matter how lost I feel, remains. Through this He gives me strength, and through this He has made His mark in the innermost part of our beings which tells us that we cannot walk away from Him, we cannot reject the truth. Because of our connection with God in the depths of our spirits, we don't give up. We do keep praying. Thank God He loves us enough to be so intimately linked with us, and constantly working. Without His unseen efforts, I would have fallen away from Christ many years ago.
Keep going forwards, hold onto your vision, and keep praying with faith in the Father. He will never leave us with so little comfort and encouragement that we cannot go on, and as He said, He will never leave or forsake us. I know myself I need to be built up stronger in my faith. Jesus is the only one who knows how to build into me His strength. We all need to keep going, and keep looking forwards to better days ahead.
This article by Cate Russell-Cole is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Written in Australian English.
Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com
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