WHETHER IN CALAMITY OR GOOD HEALTH . . .
Brothers and Sisters,
I can recall times when I was young at-which my parents gave me precisely what I asked for (maybe a material thing or just permission to hang out with some friends) and times when they did not give me the things I wanted. Though it is embarrassing, I must admit that I also remember showing my parents I loved them when I received what I requested and not showing them love when I was denied that-which I requested from them. It’s embarrassing because I know that there were also times when I treated Christ the same way: I got what I prayed for and I was pleased with Him or things did not turn out in the way my prayers requested and I was upset. This experience of prayer is often called “treating God as a slot machine” – where something is worthwhile only insofar as it delivers what is hoped for.
Love, as far as Christianity is concerned, is about sacrifice and not personal benefit. For the Christian, love has nothing – at all – to do with whether someone grants our requests or not. My parents deserved my love regardless their responses to my requests of them. All the more does Almighty God deserve our love, regardless of how our prayers are received or responded to.
Concrete example: Job. In the very first chapter of his book in the Bible, everything in his life collapses. His property, his farm, his possessions are all destroyed in the same day – even his family tragically killed. When informed of this, Job declares: the Lord has given and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord (Job 1:21).
This is Christianity. Whether God gives us good days or times of great challenge: blessed be the Name of the Lord. Whether I get what I wanted in prayer or the opposite: blessed be the Name of the Lord. As we celebrate the civil holiday of Thanksgiving, regardless of how the year has been for us: blessed be the Name of the Lord.
God be near,