Sunday, April 25, 2010

Answered prayers

I don't pray for God to tell me what happened to Michaela.  It's not that this has never crossed my lips, of course.  In moments of pure desperation I have begged for God to give me the answers.  And I have, for absolutely certain, prayed that if she was still alive that God would bring her home.  But if she is not, if she is at peace somewhere, God can just let me know when and if he wants to, when and if he figures I can handle it, and I'm not going to dictate the terms of that because I really don't know ... I don't know the truth, don't know what I would learn, and I don't know if I'm prepared for it even yet.

So I just wanted to get that out of the way, because I know it's the first thing everyone will jump on when I talk about my prayers, because I am going to tell you that God has pretty amazingly and lovingly answered my prayers in the last few months.  Honestly, I was just focusing my prayers on one thing that was causing me considerable (if undeserved) distress.  I told God, this is all I'm asking for.  And slowly but surely God took hold of it, dragged it up some mountain sides and across some seas, and brought it to a good place.

Yay God!

So that was a "this is all I ask" sort of prayer.  Now I'm kind of hesitantly branching out.  Is it cheating, after telling God that was all I wanted from him, to now ask for him to touch a few other things? Well, if so, we can just stick with that first thing, but if not ...

First of all, I would like to know what God wants me to do -- for him!  This is not as unselfish as it sounds, by the way.  If you look at it another way, it is nothing more than asking God to help me find my path.  In the last few months, I have experienced an internal spiritual revolution. I just cannot accept the "narrow road to salvation" concept.  I believe God loves us and longs for us and draws us to him along many paths.  I believe God loves love, and he accepts and applauds us when we are able to open our hearts and love another, and it doesn't matter if you are gay or straight.  I believe that most of us simply don't, and can't, know The Truth, but that we have the opportunity to grow, to evolve, to learn from all the people and things that God puts in our path in this life, if we (again) are able to open our hearts and embrace these experiences ... even when they are sometimes difficult, because if we can't do that we will likely miss out on the ones that are just plainly, purely magnificent.  But the bottom line is that I do still believe in God, in spirit and mystery.  I do still talk to God, and he talks to me, and I have nothing but peace in my heart as a result of my spiritual (r)evolution. Yet I know there is somewhere I have to go, something I have to do.  Which paths, which disciplines, will help me get there?

There are a couple of other areas in my life that could use God's blessing as well, and I'm praying for those. I do believe, I have seen, his gracious hand, his loving desire to answer our prayers.  And I promise, I will let you know how it goes.

Thank you, God.

12 comments:

  1. I agree completely Sharon, I know that God loves us all. He takes us where we are. We are the ones who usually walk away when there is not a relationship with him. I think that it is great that you are so accepting and loving of all people. There are so many people out there who think that if you are a Christian then you have to be judgmental. That is exactly what God asked us not to be. I got that early on. That is why I have always struggled going to church because I don't want anyone putting me in a box..thanks again for sharing.

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  2. I use to believe in the "narrow path" in the book of Matthew, I think. Let me tell you, it caused me great distress. I thought "and the Gospel is called "Good News" when most burn in hell forever." Well, I recently started to look more into the original text of the Bible (written in Hebrew and Greek) and it is not as "narrow" or "frightening" as most who read the poorly translated King James version states. I have a background in Russian, so trust me, BIG translation problems are so, so easy to make. Most have no idea what the original text really states. No, most will NOT burn in hell forever. Check out this page http://www.biblicaluniversalist.com/. Many are not open to this concept, thinking a bunch of liberal tree huggers follow it (that's been my experience at least). Let me tell you, I'm as conservative as you can get, and I believe the original text of the Bible. Why? Because it is the ORIGINAL text, before it was so grossly translated to state what is simply not really there. I think this may bring you some peace. It did for me. God bless you.

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  3. Anastasia, I do know that there are many variations in interpretation of the Bible based not only on translations but historical context (i.e., Gehenna, one of the words for hell, was actually a garbage dump.) However, I really don't feel a need to bend Biblical interpretation to suit what I think, because I honestly don't need to believe in the Bible as "God's final word" on things. I think God has spoken to mankind and continues to speak to us as individuals in many ways. Honestly, I've questioned this in the past, but I really do believe that God's word is written in our hearts. We all know it.

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  4. Hi. I don't think the Bible needs to be "bended" either, infact that is a BIG problem I have with so many churchgoers nowadays. It's like they pick and choose what they want to believe. That was sort of my point about the original text of the Bible. So much of what people think is in the Bible, simply is not a part of the original text. Well, anyway, this realization helped me, so I thought I would share it. I know what you mean about God continuing to talk to us. Some people have actually heard His voice. I haven't been so lucky. But, maybe someday I will be! I'm glad your prayer was answered, and I hope we hear more about it in the future. Most of all, though, I hope Michaela comes home to you soon. I remember what you wrote about being told your days of mourning would be coming to an end (or something along those lines) I have thought about that a lot. I wish your family the best.

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  5. Interesting Sharon, thank you for posting your recent spiritual experiences. I think it's so refreshing to have an open conversation about these things. I really like how you have given the answer of Michaela's disappearance to God, you have a lot of faith in God to do that.

    And thank you Anastasia for sharing your thoughts and understandings also. Is there any versions of the Bible that you believe are more accurate translations that you could share? I would be interested in looking into it.

    Sharon, my question for you is, and please don't take my question in a judgmental or accusing way, I am truly just interested in understanding you experience. I believe in the Bible, but I also believe that God is bigger than the Bible. I think, just as when Jesus came in the Bible times and totally transformed people's understanding and even contradicted the Jewish spiritual guru's of the time, I think he would do the same thing today. There has to be things that we believe that are misguided and even wrong, just because we are fallible and imperfect and...... human.

    So back to my question, when you say you don't think we can pick and choose what we want to believe in the Bible (I totally agree) but you don't believe in the narrow road (I don't like it either, and tend to think it isn't as black and white as we often now believe)...... but it does say that in the Bible.....

    So I am confused about how you aren't picking and choosing? Is it b/c you believe that if we all looked into our hearts we would see that that wasn't true? Or what exactly? (please read my words in a curious and gentle tone, not accusing tone)

    Looking forward to hearing back from you guys (you too GIna) :0)
    Shiela

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  6. Shiela, did someone mention picking and choosing? If so, it wasn't me. I'm just writing from my heart, plain and simple.

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  7. Sharon, it's natural to pray to God when we need something just as our children come to us in their time of need. And don't we all know when kids want something really badly and they plead "this is all I want and I will ask for nothing else ever again.." and you hear the same refrain more than once :-). You know this isn't going to happen. So, I don't think that it would be cheating to ask God for other things...

    And thanks for writing from your heart. I enjoy reading your blog. I pray for Michaela everyday.

    Love,
    Radhika

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  8. Sheila, I was the one who mentioned picking and choosing. I stated that is a problem I have with many churchgoers nowadays. As for a more accurate translation of the Bible, I *HIGHLY* recommend Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. It's amazing, and it is the direct translation from Hebrew and Greek.

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  9. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance is not a translation of the Bible. It's a concordance, which is a list of all the words that appear in the English version of the Bible, with a number that leads you to the original Hebrew or Greek word in their dictionary. It helps somewhat with interpretation, but since it doesn't lay out the grammar and context it has its limitations. And even with absolute understanding of the original languages and grammatical structure, there are going to be areas of spiritual interpretation. Otherwise we wouldn't have the plethora of religions that we do have.

    Having read the Bible in its entirety numerous, numerous times, I can tell you that I know there are certain things in there that I have to stumble over, things I just had to kind of close my eyes to in order to keep going. That's why I said that I finally came to the point that RATHER THAN pick and choose and try to bend interpretations and come up with alternative explanations, I just came to the point where I said that I cannot just give it a blanket acceptance as completely the word of God. Nor do I feel inclined to attend one of the more liberal churches, because I feel that they do have to engage in the picking and choosing to end up where they are, if that makes sense.

    I know a lot of people won't like this, and that does make me very, very sad. But I took a long time to sort all this out, and I really have peace here.

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  10. Hi Sharon,

    Your post reminds me of the 3rd Step Prayer from the beautiful 12 Steps. I'm sure you've heard it many times:

    Third Step Prayer

    God, I offer myself to Thee -- to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.

    Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.

    Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life.

    May I do Thy will always!
    Amen

    Have a wonderful day, Sharon. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us!

    PV

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  11. You're right that Strong's isn't a translation per se, I guess that was the wrong word to use. It has the original Hebrew and Greek with the English, and it opened my eyes to a lot of misconceptions, so that is how it helped me. :-)

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  12. “p.s.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZmPzWlhK64

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