Monday, May 09, 2005

My Relationship with God

Something that has been on my mind lately is how God answers our many petitions. I recall the story of a girl who emailed me about her family. These others were inactive in their Catholic faith and this girl was constantly praying for them. Because I had been her "father" (male leader of a small group in the Awakening retreat system – yeah, me leading any sort of retreat, har har), she asked me for input because she didn’t see any results from God.

I told her there were probably three scenarios that could be taking place. The first was that her prayers would never have any effect on her family’s faith, the second was that it would take a lot of time to see any results, and the third, very unlikely, was that she could expect a miracle in a very short period. She never replied.

I have to admit I worded my response to her badly, but my answer truly reflected my very different view of God’s style of answering prayers and petitions. It’s not quite as bad as Crom but it falls close enough in that direction to make many uncomfortable.

(For those unfamiliar with that character, Crom was the god of Conan the Barbarian, a fictional character on which comics, books, and at least one movie have been based. Crom created people and gave them only a will to live. Requests for anything else were ignored and/or despised as a sign of weakness.)

This isn’t nearly how I see God. My difference with many modern Christians is that I have much less expectation of any sort of answer to my prayers, miraculous or otherwise, than what seems to be rather common. I have prayed for help with finances, our son, my relationship with Julie, the souls in Purgatory, our government, my own weaknesses, wisdom, strength, fortitude, my family’s health and/or faith, my job, school/tests, and even the ability to pray. In those instances where I prayed for “tangible” results, things rarely turned out as I hoped.

Am I bitter? Angry? Discouraged? I think I have experienced all these emotions at various times. Over the years I’ve come to the realistic (fatalistic?) point where I pray and don’t expect an answer. I state my petitions, try to shut up for a little bit and listen, and then go off to my daily routines. God will grant my petitions or He will not. He will speak to me or He will not. He will affect my life in a way that I can perceive or He will not.

Strangely enough, I’m not under the impression that God is ignoring me or that He dislikes me. There are several instances where my life could have turned out much worse than it did, and some of these instances required a miracle in order to happen. If things don’t turn out as I prayed, I keep in mind the possibility that what I asked for would have been worse for me than what actually happened, or that I was not ready for what I asked for, or that I’m not spiritually clean enough to perceive God’s reply, or that there was a lesson that I needed to learn from an unpleasant scenario that persisted in my life despite all my prayers otherwise. If I don’t hear God talking to me then it’s very likely that I just can’t/won’t be quiet long enough to hear Him speak to me.

Looking back on this post, I can see the results of ingesting too much caffeine too late at night :-). However, I’ll leave it up should anyone else have any views to share on this topic.


Post a Comment

<< Home