Saturday, July 28, 2007
I Changed the Universe
"I AM TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY BY YOUR POST! THOSE THINGS:
Yes that WAS God telling you those things and He DID answer. I knew as I sat and talked to my son that it was not "me" I was so calm, confident, so unwavering. Of course I have been a wreck internally this whole time but he doesn't know. Humility - yes I get that too. I totally get that and why that is an important part of this, it has to do with my pride, defiance, defensiveness and stubbornness as a parent - without humility I would not be able to get the help I need or admit I need it."
I was thinking about this as I rode around in the dawn. Questions. Why does God bother to answer prayers? Why did He respond here? Did I really have anything to do with it?
I sat on the picnic table and watched new sunlight rise over the ridges, discussing things with the Holy Spirit and thinking about prayer. People tend to be amazed when God answers a prayer. I wouldn't say that I've become blasé about it, but I do expect something to happen. I've learned that God cares. He enjoys giving us gifts, whether it's a child or a sunrise or protection. I think there's a lot of false humility going around, too. People beg for just a second or two of God's time, if it's His will. He already gave us His Son. Is he going to hand us rocks when we're starving? I don't think so, so you might as well go into His presence with a brass band and ask for what you need. Get in his face. That way He knows you're serious. Of course, what you get may differ from what you asked for because of God's rather quirky way of interpreting prayer: he cuts through the assumptions and holy gobbledygook and sees what the real need is, and then looks at needs that connect to those needs. Pray for a crumb, and get a feast with friends. Or, pray for a friend and get God.
So, gradually I got this wider idea of what prayer does. God is eager to help and looks at the whole universe. My role in this is tiny. And yet I asked and in one night the course of events bent a little bit. Would have this happened anyway? I don't know. That's not my story.
In the end, though, the most remarkable part of this whole event was my friend's request for help. Most of our time we spend under blessing-proof umbrellas, alone, wondering where God is. That near-panicked Email, "Pray for me," opened a window in the umbrella.
And the long-term answer? Well, if you want a permanent fix you have to be around long enough to get it. One night's answer leads to the next night's answers. Survive long enough and eventually the stiff human mind begins to bend and grow under God's ministry.
Humility is the model. There's much talk of this but from what I can see there isn't much understanding. God humbly offers to help us, if we ask. Asking for help may be the one act that releases God's power. It allows him the privilege of helping, and you don't stay with anything for very long without feeling that to do so is a privilege.
My friend's life is lots more complicated than mine. Her experiments in faith have more depending on them than mine; if I fail I'm the only one going down. I can throw myself into this without worrying about the effects of God's actions on other people. Doing so in a family situation makes a relationship with God more complicated but also, from my viewpoint, more necessary. Who else can work the needed changes while holding the broken bits together?
I just think it's neat. God, the creator of our world, waiting with anticipation for us to ask for help. I need it too. This gentle touch from Him who knows every atom and assembled the suns.
The biggest problem we face is looking at God's universe from our human point of view. Asking for help is enough to enter His universe but from that point on the help has to continue in order for us to understand anything. There are pieces of a more whole picture floating around--like the popular idea that everything in nature is connected--but we either don't see or don't understand how the connections work. God sees it all: my friend's frustrated living out of patterns initiated years ago and how those patterns can be changed, and how her patterns fit with all the other paths people walk. One evening's prayers establish a new course but she'll have to keep walking. So will I. There are no automatic Christians.