A little over a week ago I wrote about prayer and mentioned the share of it that I had been doing for the two friends with cancer who were both having surgery the same day. Yesterday turned out to be a big news day for both of them - one passed away, and the other found out that her cancer had not spread and was removed entirely. Ironically, both outcomes provided relief and release, though in the case of the children left without a father, there lives will be utterly and irrevocably changed from the lives they would have had had he lived.
This brings me to the thing we all grapple with most about prayer - making sense of things when the answer to a prayer is "No." And it doesn't have to be about life and death things either. There are many people I know whose lives took a different path than their dreams. Heck, mine has too, come to think of it. There's the athlete with Olympic aspirations whose injury sent her on a completely different trajectory, first to coaching and then to law enforcement, where she saved, both directly and indirectly, untold numbers of lives. So maybe a gold medal is nice and gets you some good endorsements and public speaking engagements, but it doesn't impact humanity in the same way. And who's to say that being an athlete, injured or not, didn't help cultivate the inner strength needed to save those lives later on?
What about when the "no" is there to make you try harder, rise to the occasion and get to "yes" all by yourself, without crutches or victimization? What about the growth and expansion of character that come from hard times and hard work? And how do you know how to differentiate between a dead end and a door that takes a little more elbow grease to open?
These are tough questions that I don't have all the answers to. But what I do know is that they're worth asking. Prayer is of value, not because the answer is always "yes," but because the questions are worth asking, and the desires we hope to manifest are worthy ones. So maybe prayer is just a comfort, a way to connect to a universe that is larger than we are. Maybe it's a conscious calling forth of all the power that there is, both within us and outside of us. Whatever it is for you, I hope that your prayers are answered in such a way that you grow in spirit and know the magnificent amount of love, intelligence, abundance, talent, compassion, and power that comprises each and every single human being.
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