Is the news overwhelming you these days? With the six hour time difference between my tiny island and the east coast, sometimes I feel like I can miss it. We are over here sticking our heads in the sand while the world moves on with the terrible. Other days, like Monday… it’s bracing. You can’t escape it. Now West, Texas… there are no words for the tragedies that happen in our fallen world.
Before I even saw the news about West, TX I was talking with a dear friend that I don’t talk to nearly often enough. We talked about faith. We talked about prayer. She is someone that I can sit down with a cup of coffee and we can pretty much work out all the world’s problems, just not always our own. Parenting issues and marriage and family issues, nothing is out of bounds. It’s sometimes nice to lay it all out for her and talk about what’s really going on in my life. One of the things we talked about recently was prayer.
In Sunday school class recently I’ve heard someone say more than once that God always answers prayers. His answer will always either be “Yes, no, or not now.” Have you heard “when God closes a door He opens a window” or “it’s just not your season there is something better” or my favorite, “it’s not for us to know.” That isn’t always exactly comforting. Have you felt called to pray for something that you thought you were spiritually called to do and had the door closed? I don’t know about you but I’m left with more questions than answers. Is that God closing a door or Satan blocking it? What now? Press on? Go around? Turn around? I need a little help here. Am I the only one who gets a little, shall we say, irritated?
Let’s be honest here, I can be a brat. I try to barter with God. How ridiculous does that sound? “Okay God, I know I’m not perfect but I’m trying over here. I did this. I did that. I know you can do this. If I just, couldn’t you please?” If I get this many gold stars would you please give this baby a beating heart? Forget that you know better than I do because I want this right now. Is whatever might happen in the future really worse than what you are putting me through right now?
I was talking with Mom about this. She pointed out something that I considered after Tye died. God listened as his own son prayed in the garden of Gesthemane. Luke, who was a doctor, said that Jesus’s sweat came “as great drops of blood.” Luke 22:4. How much do I over do for my kids when they ask something of me. God listened to Jesus pray so hard he was sweating blood and he didn’t answer. He didn’t let the cup pass from him. If I hurt, how much more does God hurt for us?
I don’t know how to stop the disappointment when it seems our prayers aren’t answered or when they aren’t answered the way we want them to be. It stinks. It hurts. It’s no fun. I get angry, irritated, sad and disappointed too. God tends to get the brunt of it. My faith tells me that there is something better. In these moments, I’ll try to remember John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” A better day is coming! I’ll try to find my joy there.