Preface...this is me verbally vomiting a faith struggle of mine. I'm a work in progress, especially in my faith walk. I'm just trying to wrap my mind and heart around...
Prayer. Prayer has always been a common sense thing to me...a way to praise God, a way to talk to him, a way to ask for forgiveness, help...you name it, it's an open conversation. An ever willing open ear...and one that doesn't even talk back!
When you're going through a hard time, Christians tell you to pray...if you need answers, you find them in prayer...want a good outcome? pray. Good health? pray. A miracle? Pray. And I think this is wonderful. Pray, pray, pray. Prayer isn't my issue. This is my issue...
When there's a positive outcome, it's positive because you prayed for it to be. God "answered your prayer". But what happens when you pray for a good outcome and you don't get it. And not even that...what do you say to people who say "Look at this amazing blessing God has given you!" when you have a good outcome, but when bad things happen the same person will say "God didn't do this, God didn't allow this to happen." How can He be praised for all the good stuff that happens but then if bad things befall us, He has had nothing to do with it?
After losing two children, this is still a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around. Do I pray? All the time. Do I pray for the protection and health of my children? All the time. But in all honesty, I have a hard time knowing my prayers matter. I mean, I know they matter in the sense that I believe God wants to have conversations with us and that He loves us...but I don't know if my prayers really, truly make a difference in the outcome of my children's life. I want to believe that they do, but I can't stop thinking about how much I prayed for Jorai and Selah...and yet they were still taken from me.
I know this may sound silly...but I was watching that new show on Lifetime called One Born Every Minute the other night. There was a girl who wasn't progressing "fast enough" and the docs were threatening a c-section. The girls mom or baby daddy's mom started praying and talking in tongues and voila, she starts progressing...so they raise up their hands and praise God. But was it God who answered that prayer? Or was it her body progressing in the time frame it needed to progress? And what would they have said if she didn't progress and needed a c-section? Would they still have praised God? Even when they got an outcome different than what they wanted?
Again, I think prayer is wonderful. I think God listens to our prayers and answers them...but I have issue with what happens when we don't get a good outcome. I have some friends that have issue with God because they've had crappy things happen to them over and over again. In their perspective, what kind of loving God would take not one, not two, but three + babies away from the same woman? What loving God would allow abuse or rape or disasters? In my faith wrapped heart, I know it's not God that allows bad things to happen. They are a by-product of our fallen world...but again, my thoughts go back to...if we praise God for answered prayers? He must, in-fact, answer them. In saying that, doesn't that mean that he doesn't answer prayers too? How else do you wrap your mind around praying so fervently about something, only to have it taken away?
I know in all things, God uses us for His glory. His good. I know that we are given struggles to mold us into the person God wants and needs us to be. And that He uses all the good and the bad in our lives. I feel we went through our losses for a reason. I feel that He now uses us to reach out to others. To help others. And I embrace that. I wear it like a badge of honor. I miss my girls. Though I feel raped of the opportunity to know them and to have watched them grow. But I'm also joyful for the opportunity to be able to help others in a way most people cannot. I'm "OK" with my lot. I'm just confused. How do you pray? How do you have a prayerful heart without expectations and how can you be OK with the answer or rather lack of answer you receive? Would you be OK praying for your child for months only to get an answer of death? And if that happens, do you then praise Him for it?
I keep thinking of the song Blessed Be Your Name where they say "He gives and takes away.". And though I don't believe it's technically biblical. It totally rings true for me. No matter how fervently I pray. NO matter how much. I may not get the the answer I seek. And if I do get it, it may then be ripped from my hot little hands in no time at all. So again, I have to ask myself...other than an open conversation with Jesus...which is awesome...why pray about the things you seek, the health of your family and friends? In the end does it really matter? And if it does, what did we do wrong in our prayers for our girls?
Just some thoughts and questions rattling around in my soul.