Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’” Psalm 42
She came to see me at my office. Her smile and pleasant demeanor layered like strata, hiding her broken and fragile spirit underneath. We talked of old times and distant memories. She joked with me, telling me that someone told her when she was young that the only thing golden about the golden years was the color of your urine. The joke created a breach in the dam, the emotions began to seep through the seemingly impervious shell she had constructed; the flow soon became a torrent. Her disease was advancing, each sunrise brought more challenges, the simple details of daily living were lost in a fog of forgetfulness.
“Should I stop praying? I pray every day that God will take this disease from me, make me whole again. Am I offending God to keep asking? Can you tell me why God does not answer my prayers?”
The desperate pleading of frail creatures continues to echo through the dangerous and cavernous valleys of the shadow of death. Three thousand years later we still look to heaven saying, “My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’”
For 35 years I have held the hands of the dying, dried the tears of the grief-stricken, and raised my fist to heaven expressing the frustration of a child who lacks the capacity to understand the big picture. “Can you tell me why God does not answer my prayers?” “My best guess is that God is too busy not answering MY prayers to get to yours right now.”
If we understood, we would not need faith. If we controlled God with our prayers, then God would be weak and small. If we controlled God, God would not be God, but simply a genie in a bottle.
As painful as it is, we will never comprehend the greater mysteries of life, death, suffering, and loss. I cannot tell why old people sit year after year in nursing homes waiting to die, while children’s hospitals are full of innocent children struggling to live. One day at a time, each day an act of faith, a kind act, the appreciation of a colorful sunset, a tender embrace in my office with a woman who won’t remember that embrace tomorrow.
Welcome to the human race my friends! Can we perhaps, be a little more kind, a little more patient, a little less arrogant, less judgmental, and a whole lot more compassionate as we interact with those who construct protective shells while carrying heavy burdens?
I don’t have the answers. I am just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.
My love to you,