Wednesday, 11 November 2015
Waiting ... Waiting ... Nothing!
Many of us often pray. Sometimes, our prayers are prayers of thanks to the Lord, but, if we're honest, more often than not we pray because we're asking God for something. We may be asking God to help us find a job, get a promotion at work, better health, a good and happy marriage or whatever else we consider to be our need, or indeed our entitlement. Yes, I repeat ... our entitlement. Because many of us believe we're entitled to things just because we consider ourselves to be good. Life really isn't like that.
Many of us pray for something and in our heart we are really saying: "Come on God! You know I love you. I go to Church every now and then, and deep inside I am really good. Why don't you let me have ... (whatever we want at the time)".
As every parent knows, when children go on and on pesterring for something or other eventually, because we love them, we may well give way and answer their demands.
In fact, Jesus reminds us of this when He mentions the widow who kept pestering the judge day in day out until eventually he gave way and gave her what she wanted. (Luke Chapter 18). In this parable Jesus teaches us not to be discouraged and to continue praying to God our Father for our needs.
But what happens when we pray and wait, and wait and nothing happens? We pray for days, months, sometimes for years for something to happen to improve our lot and God does not seem to listen or answer. We don't know why. Perhaps He is busy with more urgent and pressing demands from someone else. Perhaps our demands are not such a high priority in His ever increasing in-tray. But as far as we're concerned He is not answering; and to be quite honest, we are running out of patience.
What then? When we wait and wait and nothing happens?
Is it OK to get angry with God? To stamp our foot on the ground like a spoilt child and go into tantrums throwing our toys out of the pram in protest?
I believe it is OK to be angry with God. It will not get us very far; but it is still OK.
God can take our anger. He did after all take all our anger when hanging there on the Cross. So a bit of stamping on the ground won't hurt Him that much.
But like any loving parent He will consider our demands, and if it is good for us, He will in His time and in His way respond.
Remember that God can see not only our past but our future too, and sometimes what we're asking for is not exactly what we should have. What is good for us in the long run.
So what should we really do when our prayers are seemingly un-answered. From experience, I believe we should continue praying and have patience. And then some more patience. We really need to trust Him that He knows best. Even if trust itself is stretched to the point of disbelief, we should continue to trust Him. Through gritted teeth even. Continue to trust Him just as a child trust his parents without questioning.
Difficult? Sure it is. But not impossible. I have known people whose life and whose lot has changed from bad to worse over and again. But they never gave up. They continued to trust Him.
And that's the road to Sainthood.
Saints are sinners like you and me; but they never gave up trusting Him.