Monday, January 23, 2012

Is Garth Brooks Right? Do We Need to Thank God for Unanswered Prayers?

Do you remember the last time one of your prayers went (or seemed to go) unanswered? Can we ever really know that a prayer has definitively gone unanswered? Maybe we just didn't recognize the answer. Maybe the answer was given, but not on our time-table. There are so many variables and we're going to take a serious crack at them this Sunday.

Why are we doing this? Glad you asked! Last Sunday, January 22, we began our church-wide study of the Adam Hamilton book "Why? Making Sense of God's Will."

- Week #1 concentrated on explaining (or prompting us to think and talk about) why good people suffer, the different kinds of suffering in this world, such as natural disasters, and God's role in suffering.

- Week #2 will cover God and prayer... and what happens when he doesn't answer.

Take a look at this week's scripture readings; two very different takes on prayer in the Bible:

- In the Psalm, the psalmist is in great distress over his sense of abandonment. But then he takes heart remembering that God saved those who walked before him (the psalmist); those who suffered slings and arrows in previous situations turned out alright.

There's a movie trailer playing in theaters now promoting a British dramedy. A bunch of British seniors have 'retired' to a resort in India, site unseen, based only on pictures in a beautiful brochure. Upon arrival, they realize the magnificent facilities they saw in pictures don't really exist. One woman demands her money back and a young boy answers, "We have a saying: It will be alright in the end. And if it's not alright, it's not the end."

Ha! I love that! Could be a new approach to prayer... speaking of prayer, back to our subject:

- Check out our second scripture, this time, from Luke. How about that one?! Jesus, on his knees, praying, "... remove this cup from me..." Wow! That's not how any of the stories of his life went in my Sunday school. My classes always focused on the Son listening to his Father and doing what he was told. And I can remember first reading this Luke passage and thinking, "Jesus gets it! He is the Son of God with human understanding through and through!"

Jesus did not want to have to go through with what was coming next. How many of us know that feeling too? Something really heavy and important weighing on your shoulders, something only you can deal with; you know you have to take care of business but still, you go through all sorts of mental gymnastics trying to figure out how to get out of it and let the 'cup' pass from you.

Well, this Sunday, you will not bear the cup alone. We will lift our concerns and prayers together. Better buckle up! We're getting ready for some heavy lifting!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent - this Sunday should be just what I need. Why? Only time will tell as the answer may not come until tomorrow. Fred