Not a terribly good week so far. Two people within our circle of concern have died following debilitating illness, both leaving young families. Another’s grandson has received a long prison sentence. Some are wondering about the effect of long and sustained prayers for these individuals and their families. Where is God in all this and how are we to understand what seems like God’s deaf ear when we call out to God? This in itself is a kind of prayer – the prayer of lament that unleashes the angst and pain of the wounded human spirit as much as seeks answers. The writers of the Psalms did it a lot.
But apart from expressing pain we really want to know. Why are some healed and not others? Many of us are privy to stories of wondrous healing that has unleashed the possibilities of life being lived more deeply and fully. We also know many who have missed out. I don’t think its trite to suggest we miss the nature of healing that takes place amongst us even as we grieve, particularly when there has been a season of preparation marked by community bonding, compassion, the sharing of stories and sheer imaginative exchanges of humanity.
However, there is a kind of “I don’t know-ness” about the question of unanswered prayer that is sacred and to be honoured and quietly respected. Rather than attempt an answer, it would be better if we simply removed our shoes.