This post is based on an email I wrote to a friend, after a few minutes of conversation today. She is really questioning right now – God’s existence, the usefulness of prayer, etc. But she still came to mass today so I know she is still pursuing in her quest! Please keep her in your prayers.
I do believe that God is all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing (this last one because I think time works differently for Him – not in a linear way as it does for us – it’s one of the things I am most curious to experience when my time on earth is done.)
However how can all the evils of this world exist if God is all-loving – that was the key question for me when I was seeking the answer to ‘does God exist or not.’
You know I love science and studying it in high school and university was wonderful … so often I was taken by surprise by the miracles I could see under the microscope, or what came out of the proofs and theories, etc. To me, it is like God left His fingerprints all over creation, and when you happen to glance over and see it – it is amazing. A sunset, a strong wind, the music of the ocean or some other natural beauty has a similar effect like that for me.
It also gave me a lot of respect for the laws of nature, math and physics – which are laws because they have never been proven false. (A theory can never be ‘proven true’ – you can have findings consistent with the theory – but it can be disproven if you find credible evidence that goes against it.
So, when God acts in the universe – to me, He has to play by His own rules. In the words of Einstein ‘God does not play dice with the universe’ – it would be a horrendously confusing place for us if He did.
What is the point of praying, then? As I see it – God works through human beings as well as through the laws of nature. We are his hands, his heart on earth. Here are some things I have prayed about recently. For all of these, I pray earnestly for what I really want or am hoping for, but I try to also pray,and I pray that I can truly mean, ‘Not my will, but they will be done’ as Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.
1. DBIL’s surgery – for the doctors and nurses to be open and responsive to the movement of the Holy Spirit within them as the surgery was performed. I prayed that they would remove every last bit of anything that was cancerous. I prayed for the Spirit to be with DBIL’s heart and mind, in every cell of his body, to work towards recovery. I prayed for the Spirit to give DBIL, DSIL, his family, the nurses and cleaners and everyone in the hospital – for them to have strength and courage and love and that they would see and not miss any chance of whatever they could do to bring him to full health, happiness and lack of pain possible.
2. DH’s job situation – Thank God for everything He has given us to now, and the ways that He is working for good even in this very difficult situation. Pray for His will to be done above all. Tell Him how hard it is to not have DH home, how I worry about that impact on the family, and ask Him to provide a job opportunity that is nearby so that we can be intact in our current home town again (while recognizing that if God intends for us to all move out West or somewhere, I need to be open to that too). Ask God for the Spirit to move in DH’s heart and mind, and that of the recruiter or company seeing his resumé, that if it is the right thing for DH, for our family and for the company – that the Spirit will lead everyone involved to bring DH into that job.
3. Infertiity – this, as you know, was a big, big deal for us. My prayers here centered around God changing my heart to desire His will above all else, and if His will was not for us to be parents, to change that intense desire that I had. If His will was for parenthood for us, that He would open our eyes to the way He was leading; that He would open a path to us, guide us to the right people and to the right decisions. Every month I would hope and pray that he would guide the sperm and egg together, that HIs Spirit would come down to provide the soul of a new little being that might become our son or daughter. Every month when it didn’t happen, I would ask for comfort as I cried, knowing that Jesus too had struggled with God’s will for his life (before Easter) – struggled such that his heart was sorrowful unto death, that he had sweat like drops of blood, that he was in agony. I knew He could understand my pain, at least part of what I was suffering.
I would love to give more examples …. I try to pray for my students every day – Friday was a particularly bad day, but I really felt God beside me – when trying to manage a difficult situation with a student I felt the words, like a pulse inside of me, ‘love, love, love’ when I was trying to find the right words to handle a situation. I pray for DH’s conversion, for the many members of my family and friends who are not believers and many who show no interest in God – and for all of us to convert (as from what I have read, even ‘believers’ still have a long way to go in conversion).
I really do believe these prayers make a difference. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a gut feeling about a situation, like a big ‘Get Out Of Here Now’ feeling – I have experienced this in a creepy situation and I got out of there, who knows if it was justified or not. My grandpa had this feeling when he was eating his lunch on a break when he worked in the Gold Mine in Northern ONtario. He got out of where he was asap and moments later that area was caved in. My aunt had a strong feeling to change lanes when driving, and did so even though it made no sense given where she wanted to go. Moments later, a load of logs spilled out onto where she would have been. I believe the Holy Spirit and our Guardian Angel can communicate with us in some way, can protect those whom we love – *if* we are open to them, if we are willing to listen. I pray for us to have hearts for love, for being humble enough to listen and not get caught up in pride and selfishness (two of my BIG problems) – so that we can hear and take action.
Speaking of action – right now praying for guidance big time! I have perused some more stuff on conversiondiary, and was reading about how our priorities ought to be 1) God 2) vocation to marriage and our spouse 3) our children 4) job (or whatever).
So, I feel that progress is being made for (1) – I am really engaging and trying to put time and energy, praying for help etc., to make progess in my walk with God. (2) – so, what am I doing to nurture my marriage, to show DH how incredibly important he is to me? ummmmm …….. ya …………….. well …………….. ok, I can’t actually think of anything. (how sad is that??) So I asked him about an hour ago, explaining the context, and what does he see me doing that lets him know that he, and our marriage, is really really important to me, the most important thing after all the religious stuff?
He answered - well, neither of us are doing anything for that right now. Yowza. He’s right. And that is so, so not good. Especially with the long distance model we have going. I am sure there are some things we are doing or we would be either fighting all the time, feeling taken advantage of, or just basically ignoring each other and living in our own little worlds.
I have a couple of posts for the blog cooking in my head – Easter was really powerful for me this year – but right now I just need to get to bed. I hope to post again soon!