[Word count: 553. Approximate read time: 2 minutes]
During one of my weekly crisis phone calls, one of my friends suggested I pray the Lord’s Prayer. She emphasized the “your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” part explaining that I would be inviting in God’s perfect will for my life. Wait. Whose perfect will? Not mine? Are you sure it’s perfect? (This has been a point of contention in the past.)
I used to be afraid to pray the blank check prayer. “Lord, I will do anything you want. Have your way with me.” I just knew God would send me to Africa to be a missionary to poor children. Black and proud as I am, I have never wanted to go to Africa. My motherland is California. And missions do not turn me on at all. I’m also not a fan of poverty. Or children.
God forbid all four get stirred together and poured over ice. That’s a bitter, bitter tea.
“…What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” —Matthew 7:9-11a (NKJV)
When this scripture finally came alive to me, I understood something important. Never mind the people who have represented him badly. God isn’t out to get me. He doesn’t spend hours a day on Google looking for ways to make me miserable. He doesn’t resent my first world lifestyle and His heart’s desire is not to find a torturous way to teach me a lesson.
And what business do I have writing a faith-themed blog when I’m not sure how much of it I believe anymore?
Admittedly, I have lost faith in an alarming and worrisome number of things about Christianity. But I haven’t lost faith in the view that God isn’t out to get me. The idea of praying “Thy will be done” doesn’t bother me so much. I also don’t know what the hell I want anyway. (Don’t take me to task on that. I’m not ready and it’s rude to ambush people.)
So I might as well defer to God, who is currently the most magnanimous benefactor I know, since Oprah forgot how to return my calls. Admitting this gave me a strange feeling. It was as if suddenly, everything wasn’t falling apart anymore. Not all of it at least. It felt like Jesus stretched up from his groggy nap on the back of the boat to flip the off-switch on my storm. Peace. Be still.
“It’s hard to recall what blew out the flame
It’s been dark here since you can remember
You talk it all through to find it a name
As days go on by without number
You’ve been here for a long, long time
Hope has a way of turning its face to you
Just when you least expect it
You walk in a room
You look out a window
And something there leaves you breathless
You say to yourself
It’s been a while since I felt this
But it feels like it might be hope.”
—Sara Groves, “It Might Be Hope”