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There are a few who would argue with my position that everyone loves life.  I hear them say, “I hate my life,” or, “Life sucks.”  That doesn’t sound like a love of life, does it?

But we all have a survival instinct.  We want to live.  And the fact that we know our circumstances are not good indicates that we know there is something better.  That something better is life.  And that’s what we’re after.  Real life.

So I suppose it’s really a question of evil and pain and where it all comes from.  The big answer is that we live in a spoiled universe, and that things are not as God intended.  They will be again someday, but we live in the here and now.  I heard of a question that a grieving mother posed to God in the height of her pain after the death of her young son.  She asked what any of us would ask:  “God, where were you when my son died?”  She believed God could have prevented it, and she was right.  But instead she was dealt the loss of one dear to her.  Then, in her heart of hearts, she heard an inaudible voice answer, “Right where I was when My Son died.”

You see, God doesn’t change, He doesn’t move, and His love and power don’t fluctuate.  He grieves with us.  He offers solace.  He offers a better life.  He challenges us, encourages us, and partners with us.

Sometimes the thing we aim for is not the thing we achieve.  Sometimes our target is wrong.  “I just want to be happy.”  So I try this or that, and strive to get people to do what I want to make me happy.  There!  That should do it.  Right?  Oh, wait.  That wasn’t it.    So I try something else.  It lasts for awhile…

But what if I forget about myself and aim for something entirely different?  What if I try to make someone else happy instead?  It’s kind of a “cast your bread upon the waters” thing.  Maybe that’s where I find life.  Perhaps I was looking in the wrong place.  (If you voted for this answer, you passed the course.  Well done!)

But back to the “He offers a better life” part.  If her son is still dead, how is that better?  The answer, I believe, is in the hope.  Not in the hope of his return to this earth, but in the hope that comes from trusting the One who holds all things, despite the rottenness that we live in.  We hope for better and it will happen, some of it later, but some of it now.

The Bible talks about the whole creation “groaning” for the restoration of all things.  All things.  That’s not just people, but this whole planet, at least.  God’s going to make it all better.  He’s going to return it to its original condition as when He first made it, the way it was before death and ugliness entered in.  And for now, the place where we live today, He really does walk through it with us.  That’s my hope, and it’s been my life.

 

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Why do we put this odd word at the end of prayers?  Do we really mean “So be it” as its definition and original meaning suggest?  If you say, “Lord, please heal Susie” and I say, “Amen,” that means that I agree with what you just asked.

But it seems like we’ve almost adopted the lingo of radio communications.  “Over and out” or “Roger” might better communicate what we really mean, but who wants to say that?  Or we could end with the closing of a letter:  “Love, [insert name here]” or “Sincerely,” or even “See Ya later.”  (And yes, “Ya” would be capitalized since we’re addressing deity.)  We also use it to alert those praying with us that they can open their eyes now, don’t we?  (“Wake up!”)

But what if we just walked away?  I mean, what if we just got up from our chair or knees and didn’t put that closing remark in our prayer?  Would God have to remain on the line, only to hear static from our end?  Sometimes I do that.  I just get up, or open the car door, or keep walking, depending on where I’m praying.  I don’t say anything to let Him know I’m finished.  Why?  Because I’m not!  I may have run out of things to say at the moment, but I still want to be in communication with Him.  And after all, isn’t prayer a two-way conversation, or more if you’re praying with someone else?

God loves to communicate.  He’s been doing it since before time began.  In the first chapter of John, Jesus is referred to as the Word which became flesh.  Words communicate.  Jesus is God’s living, breathing communication to us, and He communicated on our behalf to the Father, as our mediator.

Now here’s a beautiful thing:  He has given that ability to us, not to mediate on behalf of others, but to represent Him as an ambassador.  It’s called “praying in His name.”  He has given us the ability and authority to use His name when we talk to the Father.  That doesn’t mean I have to say “In Jesus’ name” at the end of every prayer (just before “Amen”).  It means that if I am found in Christ, I already represent Him.  And so I am to pray on His behalf, if you will, talking to God about things that matter to Jesus.  That’s why Jesus said, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).

But back to the Amen part.  Let’s not ever think that we don’t have enough time to pray, or are too busy to spend time with God.  Yes, specially designated times with Him are important and nourishing, but life with Him is about more than that.  It’s about everything we do.  When we’re serving customers, or teaching our children, or preparing meals, or emailing a friend, or weeding our garden, or you name it, we can be praying, talking to Him and listening.  And yes, sometimes He will speak to us very clearly, very personally in response.  He still does that.  Listen.  Stay tuned…

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