When I lived with Bob and Jean I noticed that they routinely pray for parking places – and pretty much everything else, from good deals on tomatoes at Safeway to revival in America. As for revival, since there are other people interceding for that, if it does break out somewhere, we’d have to give partial credit to them. But my point is that the Griggis pray for matters prodigious and paltry and everything in between.
They don’t always get what they ask for, but lots of times they do, and whatever the outcome they always thank God. If they don’t get a parking place close to the store, they reason that they needed the exercise. They’ve been praying – along with literally hundreds of others – for my healing for a few years now. As far as I can tell, the cancer hasn’t entirely gone away yet. But my money’s on the Griggis’ prayers.
When I was first diagnosed with Myeloma I confided in the Lord that I wasn’t at all inclined to travel to distant spiritual “hot-spots” in order to seek a miracle. I’ve always believed that if God wants to do something special, he can do it in my living room as well as in Argentina during a crusade held by an internationally recognized healer. He could use the simple prayers of my not-so-famous friends as well as the theatrical proclamations of a famous preacher. I’ve never run from revival to revival in order to get a touch from the God. He lives in me, around me, and through the believing people in my life.
That being said, I conceded that I was willing to go wherever and do whatever he wanted me to, whenever he wanted me to do it. God uses whom he chooses, and who am I to tell him what I would or would not do to get what he wants to give me? I was merely expressing a preference, while at the same time, releasing the emergency brake so he could put me in gear and steer me as it pleased him. And so, at the invitation of a friend, I did travel to a local meeting held by a man from Sri Lanka that heals the sick with some degree of regularity. At the end of the gathering, along with many others, I went forward for prayer. As far as I can tell I’m not well yet. Not discouraged about it, just stating the facts.
Why does God give Bob a parking place but not give a blind man his sight? My friend Larry says, “I stopped asking God, ‘Why?’ because all he gives me are “Trust me” answers. To me, ‘Y’ is just the twenty-fifth letter of the alphabet.”
Jesus came here to save us, not to explain to us how God governs his world. He came to help us live well, not to understand the mysteries of the universe. On my part, the “Why me?” attitude sort of cycles through, usually reflecting the mood I wake up with. I fight it, and by the afternoon it usually surrenders to a higher principle in me.
Sometimes he answers parking-place-prayers and sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he heals cancer and sometimes he doesn’t. God does what he does usually without explanations or reasons that are apparent to us. I don’t think he’s waiting for us to wince enough when we pray or to use certain spiritual formulas (which are usually more magical than spiritual). He is who he is, does what he does, and doesn’t need to explain his reasons to us.
Hal, a man whom I greatly respected, was my pastor while I was in college. He told us once that someone asked him what he would do if he were praying for a line of people and the one he was laying hands on at the moment died right in front of him. Hal said he would step over the body and pray for the next one! I’m sure he spoke in theoretical hyperbole. But even so, a few things came to my mind. First, I thought that someone really ought to do something about the dead guy on the floor. It also occurred to me that, after the previous person’s less than ideal results, the next person in line might be a little hesitant about having Hal pray for him! However, there was something about what he said that intrigued me. It showed me that we’re in charge of requests, not results. Results are God’s department.
So, I keep asking and assume that God will do his own answering in his own way in his own time. However, if you need a parking place, you might call Bob and Jean and ask them to pray.