Sunday, December 27, 2015

God isn't a wall between us and the goings on of the world - in other words, Man that was a giant scary tornado

I'm a little stumped for words this second day after Christmas.  I was planning to write a catchy little 12 Days of Christmas for y'all detailing all the fun around here - till a giant tornado ripped through our part of the world, killing 11, injuring countless others, and tearing my cousin's house to pieces.  

And I would like to say something lovely about God's grace sparing their lives and leaving their bathroom, where they huddled together, standing around them safely while the rest of their house blew away.  (By the way, it was also my cousin's birthday.  Happy Birthday to you.) 

But I have no idea if it was indeed God's grace.  Or luck.  Or just the way the wind blew.  Maybe it was all in the timing and their choice to take shelter in the bathroom instead of another room in the house.  Maybe we just don't know enough to be proclaiming Facebook praise for our own good fortune when there are others, neighbors even, who weren't so lucky.  

I don't typically post comments on other people's thoughts or commentaries about events, especially religious or political.  But last night in the midst of the storm, one in particular caught my attention - as a questioning friend so descriptively posted her frustration over the countless many who touted their safety to the will and protection of God.  So she asked, Were the ones who weren't so fortunate not praying hard enough?  

And I think if you've ever given any time or energy to figuring out the hows and whys of the Christian faith, that question, THAT right there, is the one that we'll all be standing in the Heavenly question line to ask as soon as we arrive.  I'm imagining so many of us confused that they'll have to set up small group counseling sessions to de-brief us from our earthly experiences.  

So here's what I shared in response to her question.  Not so eloquent, maybe, as it is to the point.  (And as always, I would love your comments, but please.... this ain't Facebook, folks.  Keep it respectful, or keep it off my blog.  Imagine me saying that sweetly, of course.  With my Dallas southern drawl and a big ol' smile.) 

Dear Jennifer, 

Rarely do I comment on things such as this but your question intrigued me. 
First I would say that being a Christian does not shelter us from the hardships of life. In fact, there are those that would say that Christians are tested even further because of our beliefs. I'm not sure I agree with that, however. But understanding that a belief in Christ is not insulation or protection from what life brings is the first step in understanding the bad things that happen. 
Then I would want you to know that prayer is neither protection nor immediate wish granting in any form, as much as we try to make it so. Prayer is direct communication with God, meant as an ongoing conversation of praise for the good, and guidance through the bad.  So not much makes me crazier that seeing all the Facebook prayer requests and little praying hands emoticons. I don't think God is checking his news feed all that much. 
Living a life as a follower of Christ puts us in a unique position of answering questions such as yours. And this is what is most important to know in those situations. God isn't a wall between us and the goings on of the world. Neither is he the giver of the bad things. The only answer to prayer that God ever promises to any of us is his faithfulness in being with us no matter what happens. And when we view our prayers as asking for his support, not his miracles, we can, with his grace, be stronger in all things.
post script... To me, being a Christian not only means a new heart for following God, but new eyes.  New eyes to see all our day to day goings on with a new lens of hope, despite the circumstance.  Now that being said, each of you know me well enough by now to know that I talk a big talk.  Daily application may or may not be one of my strengths.

Would you like to comment?

  1. Hi Kristi, I think you answer was very well put. One thing I have come to realize in my walk with Christ is that "in this world, there will be trouble"--in other words, there will be tears and heartache and frustrations and yes, even, unfortunately, complete devastation. We don't know the whys or why nots. I just know that I could not imagine going through any of life's heights and valleys without the hope of Jesus in my heart. And, I remind myself almost on a daily basis that this life (this whisper of a moment) is not what it's all about. I just stumbled on your blog and can tell I will be visiting often. Take care!

  2. Oh Lisa!!!!! You said it exactly right. And the interesting thing about you mentioning the hope of Jesus in our lives is that I am, next week, beginning a Bible study on exactly that topic. I've felt like I need a tune up of late in certain things and I hope that study will do just that. Thank you for introducing yourself to me. I would love love love for you to hang out here with me as much as you can. Thank you for reading.


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