Friday, October 18, 2013

Do Your Prayers Line Up with God's Symphony?

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A few weeks ago I shared with you my favorite book series - Terri Blackstock's Restoration Series.  If you haven't begun reading this gripping plot, I encourage you to start soon.  The excerpt below is a huge spoiler alert so read with caution!  But it is so powerful that I want to share it.

Beyond the wonderful storyline, the four book Dawn’s Light contains one of the best illustrations of grief that I have found.  Here is a little background knowledge of the series. The books focus on a crisis that sweeps the entire high-tech planet taking it back to the age before electricity. The Branning family is forced to learn to live in this new world without cars, electricity, and running water. The excerpt that you are about to read is a conversation between the mom – Kay and the dad – Doug concerning the loss of their 13 year old daughter Beth. The Dad begins the conversation.

"When I was a kid, I had this friend named Joey. Joey had been taking violin lessons since he was three-years-old. His parents were accomplished musicians who played with the symphony orchestra in my town. Sometimes they would take us to rehearsal with them, and we'd run around the building while they rehearsed. They made a record, and Joey could play along flawlessly, in perfect harmony, as if he sat in that orchestra with them."

He saw the impatience in Kay's eyes, but he spoke as much for himself as her. "I envied him, so when I was about ten, I asked my parents if I could start taking violin lessons. They got me a violin. I practiced hard and learned "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." He chuckled softly. When I got really good at it, I put on the record - Beethoven's Fifth. I tried to play along, but I didn't sound anything like them. My strings squeaked and my notes were off key. Eventually, I gravitated back to "Twinkle, Twinkle' and played that instead. But the record kept playing. Beethoven's Fifth went on perfectly. They never missed a note.

"Where are you going with this, Doug? I'm not in the mood to talk about your failed career as a musician."

"Just listen." He got up and went back to the bed, sat on it facing Kay. "Praying in God's will is just like that. He tells us if we pray anything according to his will, it will be done. But our prayers aren't always in line with that symphony."

Her eyes flashed. "So you think my prayer for Beth was like playing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star?"

His eyes rimmed with tears. "I think God was playing something much more beautiful.” She slammed her hand on the pillow. "The Holy Spirit helps us pray! Jesus intercedes with groanings too deep for words."

"But that's just it. Jesus knows the song, and we don't. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit interpret our prayers according to their music, even if we're out of keep and playing something else."

"Then what's the purpose in praying at all? Why even bother?"

"Our prayers matter, Kay. He listens to them. But his symphony is grander than ours." He pursed his lips, trying to go on. "He didn't neglect her. He knew the days that were numbered for her before there was even one."

Kay squeezed her eyes shut. "She was a child! How could he take children?"

"He takes everyone, Kay. It's what we humans do. We live and we die."

"Then don't tell me our prayers aren't useless!”

"Do you think Jesus prayers were useless? He prayed, "Not my will, but think… He understood that there was a symphony playing. What if God had been compelled to answer Jesus' payers to remove the cup? We'd still owe the debt of our sins. Instead, the Father saw the end from the beginning. His will was done. And thank God it was. Jesus' life wasn't wasted on that cross. And Beth's life wasn't wasted, either."

"God doesn’t always extinguish the fire in the furnace. But He does come in the furnace with us and says 'let’s go through this together.' It is a matter of surrendering to the wisdom of God and through this we gain strength."

Lord, we are either walking into a trial, in the middle of the fire, or coming out of grief.  No matter where we are I praise You that You walk through it with us.  God, Your symphony is beautiful.  It is grand.  It is amazing.  Show us, please.  Give us the strength to believe "all things work together for good."  Thank you, that You love us enough to desire us to grow.  In Jesus' name...