I’m forgoing my usual STEM Tuesday post to bring you my opinion. Well, my opinion is influenced by my life in science.
It’s become a popular point of view:
All things happen for a reason.
It’s God’s will.
If God will’s it, it will happen.
It grates on me when I hear these and similar phrases. It annoys me when a football player points a finger at the sky and bends a knee, giving God credit for his touchdown. Does he think the other team lacks the grace to win? I don’t believe that God’s a micro-manager.
I believe in God. I believe in the will of God. But I don’t believe all things that happen are God’s will.
Physics, biology, nature, and our own human will all play a part in our destiny. Tornados don’t destroy a town because God wills it. The weather conditions dictate tornadoes, and towns people built are in the way. Babies aren’t taken from their mothers arms because God wants them back in heaven. Illness, genes, mistakes, negligence, and acts of maliciousness cause children to die. Unsuspecting tourists don’t get their pocket picked in a crowded New York souvenir store because it’s God’s will. And for the love of Mike, baseball games aren’t decided based on whose fans have the better prayer life.
You may wonder then, why I pray. I do believe in the power of prayer. I believe in listening in quiet meditation, so that I can be open to God’s call. I believe in the peace God brings.
This weekend I opened Ruth Myers’s “31 Days of Prayer,” for the first time. I was at my sister, Bonita’s house, so we read the prayer together. My heart fixed upon the motto that Myers invites us to live by:
God’s will, nothing more,nothing less, nothing else.
Bonita, half-joking, mused “that pretty hard to keep in mind, when your car gets a flat tire and leaving you stranded on the side of the road.” We both laughed before I jumped in my car and began my three-hour journey toward home. Still, these simple words played in my mind as I traversed a radio-free area of Michigan, with plenty of silence to free my thoughts.
I believe that yes, if we live in this motto, we will be blessed.
If I’m stranded with a flat tire, I can decide by my will how I will handle it. Will I curse the universe, the tire manufacturer, maybe my husband for my fate? Or will I be thankful for the cell phone in my pocket; the drivers ed teacher that taught me to change a tire? Will I spend the time in anger, or in quiet meditation? Will I use the experience as a reminder to lend a hand when someone else is in distress? Or will I think, ‘glad I’m not you,’ and leave them in my dust.
Recently I interviewed a woman, Ms J, whose young son has a rare form of cancer. Things look bleak. He’s in a lot of pain. His siblings, all older, but still children, suffer, too. “I know it sounds strange,” she tells me. “Even though this is horrible, I am blessed.” Ms J went on to explain how so many people help the family: with prayers, with meals, with rides, with fundraisers, with a shoulder to lean on. “I don’t even know some of the people who’ve stepped up to help in so many ways.”
It’s not that her son’s fate is God’s will. It’s that people recognized her family’s suffering and wanted to do something to help. That is God’s will.
I believe that if we approach every aspect of life asking how can I do “God’s will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else,” our lives and the lives of others will be truly blessed. Perhaps this is the one way our prayers are answered.
In the meantime, since I believe God’s listening to all our prayers, I really wish people would stop praying for sporting events. I don’t want to get a busy signal because God’s tallying up all the prayers during the White Sox v Cubs game. And I know there’s a lot of prayers said when those two teams are playing. Do you agree?