February 22nd, 1993


confused about church again

This morning the pastor preached about the story of Jairus and his daughter. The whole service was planned to build on it. The guy who sang a solo sang about it, and a family did a skit about it. The mother played the woman with the hemorrhage who appeared on the way to Jairus' home. She also has some kind of disease or something and is not able to get a transplant. ... She fit the part.

... The pastor preached, and then everyone went home. No one was prayed for at all at any time during the service. It was a powerful service in itself, but it still confused me. In November, when this stuff came up for me, the services were about being content with what we have, but the prayers were full of intercession for people. That is what confuses me.

Some of my confusion has to do with my own situation, and some doesn't. T's sister goes to this church also, and I heard them talking about the skit after church. Her sister told her she did so well and was so good for the part. T said, "Don't say any more. It's hard enough as it is." How come during the whole time I have been here,, no one has prayed for T, especially this morning? Ok, so there was no one with the woman in the story. That's not my point. No one in the church acted on what was said. I can't say just because T didn't ask. I don't know anything about her or whether she has asked before, but I know how I felt. I did ask, and it's hard for me to think the pastor can look straight at me and preach something like that without remembering.

Maybe I'm putting a lot of responsibility on other people. It's highly likely that I only see things from one side. But you see why I can't say no one acted because T didn't ask. When someone lives with something, it feels so obvious, especially when it gets brought up in front of you. The strange part is that I should know it's not. If it really was that obvious, people would be more careful about some of the things they say. My family accepts my condition as a way of life, and I suppose maybe T's does the same.

This is where the whole faith business is so hard. Disabilities or serious illnesses aren't things that eventually go away anyway. I think we talked about that. It's easy to pray that people will get over the flu because we expect that they eventually will. (I know it wasn't always like that with the flu, but it is now. It's easy to pray that someone will find a job because we know there has to be a job out there somewhere. I wanted to walk up to the pastor and say, "Do you believe what you're saying?"

I felt that maybe I was there to help them grow in their faith. I've never felt that way before, and it's hard to feel like that because I'm not even an "adult" yet. I'm still a "college student". (Someone please tell me when I get to enter the "real world" 'cause I thought that's what I was in..) But if I AM there for that reason, then MY response to this is as important (or more) as their response to me. I become a "minister" to them.

In my own quiet times, the Lord has been dealing with me about not focusing on my eyes (again). It's hard, but I have been working on it. I don't know how to do that in a situation like this morning.

when the service started this morning, I knew that the story might be for someone else this time. Sometimes I am not always supposed to be on the receiving end, even if the work in me isn't complete yet. I have as much of a responsibility to recognize T's needs as anyone else in the church does. I sat here and talked about how people in the church knew and told her that she fit the part, and I knew that, too. Am I so caught up in my own need that I don't respond to someone else's? I feel better about my focus after that. I know that I can do something with my reactions to the service.

One of the ladies keeps children during the day, and at one time she kept a little girl who had a brain tumor. The little girl's parents were friends of another lady in the church. One night the mom, the pastor, and the lady were praying, and June said God could do anything. Denise said, "Yes, but will He?" Denise told me that now the pastor is hesitant to pray for anyone unless she knows God will heal them.

I have some problems with this. First, I know God says yes and no, and I have experienced both. I am glad that my grandmother's church and our family were open enough to pray for healing and to hurt together when the answer was no. I think that helped us to deal with our grief and accept the answer. I think it's selfish to allow my own insecurities (about my own or someone else's ability to handle the questions that accompany a no answer) to stand in the way of prayer. Doubts never kept my doctors from using eye drops or doing surgery. The choice was either to take a risk of losing something or miss an opportunity to gain something. Isn't faith taking a risk? Vicki called it tedious. Whichever it is, my willingness to use it makes all the difference in getting any answer at all.

I don't always know the answers. I don't always know what God's will is. That's what prayer is all about. If I knew what God's will was all the time, I would be like Him. But God is God and I am me, and I am certainly not God. I think the key in prayer is to ask, to lay what is in our hearts before God. Otherwise, prayer is just a form. Vicki wrote about God's first concern being what is in our hearts and faith meaning we have confidence that He will handle things better than we can. Of course God has a will, and of course we need to be concerned with that. I don't know if our prayers necessarily cause anything. I do think He hears and acknowledges our prayers. I also think a lot of the change is in us. I can't be open to receive what God has for me if I'm busy hiding what I think is wrong.

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