I can cope with God not answering prayer - or not answering the way I want - it's the suggestion that all we all have to do is pray with enough faith to get what we want (for the general good not personal greed obviously) that I struggle with.
In Zac's on Tuesday we'd reached the story of the cursed fig tree. It always seemed to me to be a bit hard on the tree to be cursed like that but Sean suggested some analogies that made more sense of it but then it led to the 'if you tell the mountain to throw itself into the sea it will do it ' bit.
What amazes me is that the people I would expect to question it don't; it just seems to be me. And I suppose it's mostly in connection with the healing - or not - of people.
I don't have a problem with God not healing people - well, I do in that I'd rather they got better than died - but I know that 'shit happens', God has a greater plan, various other Christian excuses, blah blah blah, and that's fine. So why does Jesus seem to suggest here that if our faith is enough then we can have what we want? Doesn't that give an unrealistic hope to new believers, those not yet experienced/cynical enough to know better?
When my cousin was dying of cancer she phoned me one day and said, 'I know why God hasn't healed me yet: it's because I don't have enough faith. I've been awake all night repenting my lack of faith.' I was so cross with her. She had more faith than anyone I knew; until the day she died she believed God was going to heal her.
By saying it's our lack of faith it both puts the blame on us and, worse than that, by implying that we could prevent someone dying, it turns us into gods. We can't control if someone lives or dies. That's not in our power. Thank God. Is it possible for us to change God's mind through prayer? I don't know. That would make him seem a bit whimsical. So why do we pray? To make ourselves feel better? Because there's nothing else to do? Because we're desperate?
How did I get here? This wasn't where I was meaning to go or what I was thinking about while walking in the rain this morning.
If prayer is talking to God maybe the answer is that we - I - don't listen to his replies. Maybe life would make more sense if I did.
I will continue to talk to him, be puzzled by his actions, and the list of questions for the day I meet him will grow. But somehow I suspect that when that day comes I'll be too busy being cwtched by him to care any more.