Perhaps this post would be more appropriate for Good Friday but I felt moved to write it today. Anyone who prays knows that sometimes prayer is answered and sometimes it appears not. It can be the straw that breaks the fragile back of faith, particularly in the young.
The paradox at the heart of the story of Christ is that Christ himself goes through that very same experience. He is God but he doesn’t know what to expect from God.
In the Garden of Gethsamene he prays that he won’t have to go through with what he must strongly suspectwill be the result of staying in Jerusalem without leading a military revolt. His own death. And what is the answer? We aren’t privelleged to know, but he evidently doesn’t hear God talking to him because he prays the same prayer 3 times before the Chief Priests and soldiers arrive with Judas to arrest him. And then? Torture and death. Not exactly the answer I would have been looking for.
God is not us. I’ve said that before and it is essential to remember. Essential. If you forget it you will start to expect less and less of God, you will make them into a mirror of yourself. “I wouldn’t leave someone hanging if…” or “If I was God I wouldn’t do…”. And then we lose hope and without hope our lights go out.
We know the end of the story, but Jesus and his disciples would not have known. To them the cross was unanswered prayer. But to us it is the remarkable answer. But to all of us it is hardly what one would have expected.
Hope in God is one of the 3 greatest things – but it is often forgotten or mislaid. Hope, when your prayer seems unanswered, but don’t expect the endgame to be exactly what you expected.