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This has been on my mind for a long time.

I’m a Christian.  I’m a member of an ELCA church.  I don’t know everything there is to know about being an ELCA church member.  I don’t even pretend I do.  I’m learning more and more about my faith every day.

Contradiction at it’s finest.

When we are in a rough situation we ask for people to pray for us.  When we get out of that bad place and things are running smoothly again we thank those people for their prayers.  God answered our prayers and our bad situation is no longer.  Yay!  That’s the best part about believing in God.  When you pray for something and that “something” goes well we celebrate our faith!  

But what about the time when our prayers are not answered?  Particularly those prayers that involve sparing someone from death or a terrible illness.  What do we do than?  If we pray and our prayers are answered, God is good.  When we pray and our prayers are not answered, and someone dear to us has been taken too soon….  It was God’s plan.  “God needed another angel”.  

Am I the only one confused by this?  What made God grant the prayers to spare Uncle Fred but not cousin Sally?  Why did God want Sally more than he wanted Fred?  If I truly believe this than I must also believe that God is in such control that he “gives” people cancer, for example.  He lets bad things happen to good people.  Right?  If he has the power to grant prayers to stop bad things from happening than he has the power to deny prayers to allow bad things to happen.  And of course he has the power to grant prayers to allow good things to happen, too.  

I hated being in a situation where I was talking to a lady who lost her husband and at the same time a friend comes up to us who’s son just received the news that his lung scans came back clear.  Yay!  God answered our prayers!!  Oh wait, sorry my friend, we prayed for your husband’s health as well and apparently God didn’t grant those prayers.  Sorry.  

What do you say?  How do you act?  I hate those two universal items.  I bit my tongue and told her I was sorry for her loss. Just another canned response but it was better than saying “the good Lord took him because he needed another good man….”  I told the other lady that I was grateful for the good news.  I told them both that I was praying for them.  I wasn’t praying for her to see her husband again but furthermore for peace and healing.  I told my friend that I was estatic about the good news and will continue to pray for renewal for both of them.  

I’m pretty sure my words ended up jumbled amongst the crowd.  I’m pretty sure I could have said nothing and it would be just as well.  I don’t know.  The whole situation perplexes me.