I walk into Bible study ready to talk about prayer. I’m not sure how honest I want to be. While I know there is inexpressible value in prayer, I’ve had my own struggles with it, especially when people talk about miraculous answers they have received.
Answers that come moments after they’ve prayed. For the first time. When I’ve prayed for the same thing. For years. And nothing has changed.
Some of my prayers have remained unanswered for decades.
I share this with my group, tentative about saying it aloud. My disappointment sounds so unspiritual, so faithless, so shallow.
But then Florence says something that grabs my attention. “You never hear anyone in the Bible complaining about the parting of the Red Sea. Everyone loves delivering grace. But the Israelites, like us, were not satisfied with manna. We all complain about sustaining grace.”
We all complain about sustaining grace.
Her words hit me hard. I can scarcely pay attention to the rest of the discussion.
Were my prayers for deliverance answered with the gift of sustenance? Do I not see that sustenance is an answer too? And often just as miraculous? Why am I not grateful for manna, the everyday grace of God? When I tell Florence how her words are staying with me, how they are changing everything for me, she writes me an e-mail:
I remember being stunned by the realization of how much I love deliverance and how little I appreciate sustenance. Essentially, saying “Where is the victory in sustenance – it sounds like just getting by.” Wasn’t I scorning grace?
Scorning grace. Isn’t that what I’ve been doing?
In waiting for the monumental deliverance- the kind where I can put my issue to bed and never have to pray about it again- I’ve overlooked the grace that keeps drawing me to Him. The prayers that may appear unanswered, but actually are fulfilled in ways that keep me dependent, tethered, needy. View full post »