PRAYER

LIFE
May you stumble and fall as you forge ahead,
May your failures bring heartbreak and pain.
May your legs grow weary… your mind grow numb,
And your friends all call you insane. 
You’ve chosen a Path few others will take, 
But fear not what lies ahead,
For the rewards of this Life wait not at Its end,
But in Living each day instead.
So live Life at Its fullest without fear or doubt,
Find adventure in all that you do,
For there’s much to be learned in both Joy and Sorrow.
Your response is the making of you. 

I once believed that my personal relationship with God was so great, that whatever I asked in His name would be granted to me… unless of course, he felt it wasn’t good for me. I have had several wonderful answers to prayers over the years, many of which could only be explained as miracles… of course, there were also the disappointments in Life with those requests that were denied. 

I remember a time when I was young, I believe the year was 1956, and I saw through our dining room window, a tornado heading straight for our house out in the country. I called my parents and when dad saw it he told us all to go down the stairs immediately and start praying. I was trembling as we huddled in the southwest corner of the basement, behind the wringer washing machine. I started praying harder than I ever had before and may even have prayed in tongues without knowing it. In all earnestness I prayed that God would protect my family and change the path of the storm… the wind stopped blowing as the storm changed its course. Like a miracle, it veered off to the west and missed us completely. 

There was another time when in Vietnam I dug a foxhole between two large rocks to protect myself from the enemy mortars that came in every evening. As I was finishing the job, the Captain came and told me to move closer to the tanks, in case I was needed on the front line during the night. I unwillingly packed my things and moved forward, but before I could get the hole completed, the mortars started coming in. I put my head down in the shallow hole but, like an ostrich, left a majority of my body unprotected above ground. I could hear the mortars coming in closer and closer to where I was kneeling and then a blast of dirt nearly covered me, as one landing just in front of me. I knew the next one would either be a direct hit or somewhere behind me. It is amazing how many promises one can make in a few seconds of time, but God answered my prayers and spared my Life.

I continued for many years to believe that God was listening to my prayers and granting most of my requests. It is comforting to think of God in this way… a strong defender against harm and protector from all evil forces… but now, in looking back, after years of working with innocent victims of Life’s cruelties, I pray that he never took any of my advice… for when the tornado changed its course, it went through the small town of Standale instead, killing many people and doing a lot of damage, damage that may not have happened if it had continued to come straight at us… and the mortar that didn’t hit me, killed instead our radioman, who was well protected in the first hole that I had dug. 

To believe that God had changed his plans to suit my selfish request would therefore make me responsible for the death and destruction my request had caused to others… and that is a responsibility I would prefer not owning.

Life experiences Itself through us and how we respond to these experiences is our contribution to Life. Let us rejoice and be glad in every circumstance we encounter.

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