Ok, I have a confession to make. Because I’ve not been doing that for the last two weeks, right?
So here it is. I’ve been a Christian now for 16 years. And I can’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
Not all of it – just some of it.
“Our Father who art in Heaven” – yup, down with that. Father, in Heaven, check.
“Hallowed be your name” – despite some confusion as a child, when I was pretty convinced God’s name was Harold, I think I’ve got it sorted in my head now. God’s holy, His name is holy. Moving on…
“They Kingdom come”…well, here’s hoping…
“Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”…
Houston, we have a problem.
As a good little Christian, I’d like to be able to say that what I wanted is for God’s purposes to be fulfilled. And sometimes that’s true. But most of the time, what I’m really thinking is
“thy kingdom, come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. As long as it tallies with what I want”.
I want the big family. I may never get it. I have spent all week, in the wake of a miscarriage, dealing with the paperwork of families that are struggling to care for their children. I have an amazing husband and son, and desperately would love another child. Others, who are struggling, are also pregnant. I’m not a very nice person – it makes me so resentful.
I want my friends and family to be alive and happy.
I definitely won’t get that.
I’d quite like the chronic illnesses I have to bog off and do one.
It’s not likely.
And so I plead and I shout and I bargain with God. And it gets me – nowhere fast.
I’m not saying that any of the above are God’s will. That would make God into something I don’t really want to contemplate.
But somehow, somewhere, He doesn’t intervene.
And therein lies the paradox. I believe that God is all powerful and all loving. But somehow the deepest desires of my heart go unanswered.
Which makes me wonder.
If God, who knows me so intimately, allows this.
He doesn’t want it, but He doesn’t intervene to stop it.
Is there a purpose I haven’t grasped yet?
Is, for some reason, the pain and the anguish and the suffering all allowed for my good?
Paul says – “all things work together for good”.
Not just the shiny parts.
There is good to come out of this miscarriage.
There is good to come out of chronic illness.
There is good, though I say it in fear and trembling and very, very reluctantly – good to come out of the horrific death of Sara and Amina, trapped under the rubble of a bombed out school building in Gaza.
I write it, and I’m actually scared of it. Because it reminds me how BIG God is, that He has a plan to bring good out of the unnutterably awful.
Maybe the last part of that clause is important too. “on earth as it is in heaven”.
This earth isn’t yet as it is in heaven. Bad shit happens. This is not our home, and until we are home, we’ll always feel the pain of seperation.
But one day, God’s will will truly be done. On earth, as it is in Heaven. The old things will pass, the new things will come.
And it somehow, makes me a little bolder to pray.