Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pondering the Paradox of Prayer, part 1

My boss' boss' wife passed away from Cancer on Monday.  Everyone who knew them had known that this was probably going to happen somewhat soon, but somehow it still seems to have come as a surprise. She was fairly young, probably in her mid to late forties?

I used to play tennis with Jaime (her husband), and he was my direct boss when I first started working at Northrop Grumman.  We've been to their house for a few department pool parties, and seen Sonya before while out and about town.  Reading what I just typed, it's evident that while my wife and I know them ok, it's not like we're their best friends or anything. But Jaime is someone I like and respect, and it's somewhat heart-wrenching to us that she's gone.

I think perhaps the hardest part about her death though, is the fact that not only have many people been praying for her and their family (their church, several co-workers who are Christians, etc), but my kids have also been very dedicated to praying for her as well.  I've very proud of this last fact, because while Amanda and I have prayed for Sonya with the kids (before bed mostly), they have taken ownership of the cause themselves too.  This became evident when one of their Sunday school teachers, upon hearing that Sonya had died (on Facebook), mentioned that they had asked to pray for her in Sunday school.

Now that the cause is gone though, they are left to process what happened.  Did God forget about their requests, or did He just ignore them?  Did He even hear them at all?  Why pray if in the end it doesn't matter anyway?

I think it basically comes down to trusting that God knows best.  We can't understand what's going on and cannot fathom why He does some things, or why He lets other things happen despite our fervent requests to the contrary.

It's similar to Amanda and I knowing what's best for our kids.  While we want them to always come to us with their wants and needs and trust that we can help them, sometimes their desires conflict with our plans, and sometimes we know that what they're asking for isn't in their best interest.  In those cases we refuse to heed their requests, despite their pleas.  It has nothing to do with whether we love them or want them to be happy though.  We just see things from a different, wiser (hopefully), and broader (big picture) perspective.  So it is with God.

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