Monday, April 20, 2009

Is God listening?

I have had some very interesting conversations over the past week that will be the inspiration for this post.

This week, I have re-heard and re-told the parable of the extremely religious man stranded on his rooftop during a flood with raging waters surrounding his house. A boat comes along and the boat's driver says "Come on man, jump aboard and I'll take you to safety." The man says to him, "No, I will not go with you, because I believe in the Lord and he will save me." So the boatman shrugs his shoulders and leaves, for there are many that need his help. Later, a helicopter flies overhead and drops a rope ladder to the man. Yet, the man waives them off shouting above the din "I will not go with you for I am a man of faith and the Lord God Almighty will save me, I know it to be true." Soon after, the house begins to break apart, falls off it's foundation and is lost in the flood and the man finds himself walking on clouds to stand before God. He says "Lord God, I prayed for you to come and save me. I showed you my true faith by not going with or using the tools of man, yet you have left me do die." And God says back to him "What are you TALKING about? I sent you a boat AND a helicopter." This of course makes the "extremely religious man" look foolish. This man might also be known as a "religious extremist."

I had a conversation with an old friend yesterday who had found my blog and wanted to get together and catch up. Part of that conversation was about "signs." To my mind, "signs" are messages from God that we need to be 'in tune' to hear or recognize. We need to have an open mind and we need to be receptive to alternative forms of communication. Generally speaking, I don't think God says anything to us directly, at least for the most part. I imagine a being with infinite wisdom and infinite ability to help but not infinite need for us to understand as much as we would like, for maybe we don't really know what help is in every case. Our "agenda" as humans generally is not a divine one, is it?

Obviously, we pray a lot. We also know that many people are praying for us every day and we are thankful for them (a.k.a you) and for those prayers. It is one of the most powerful things that anyone can do. To me, it is not important if they are praying to God based on Catholic, Protestant, Hebrew, Muslim or any other religious view. In my belief system, there is only one God, and I believe that this God speaks many languages, listens to many faiths and answers prayers based, not on the content of the prayer or the faith from which it originated, but based on whether the prayer is said with a true heart and whether or not the prayer can fit with the plan that God has in his grand vision, a vision that we are neither privy to nor are we meant to understand.

I, for what it is worth, believe that if it is in any way possible in God's grand plan that he has heard our pleas and will make H better. I have faith that if she does not get better, that in some way, a way that can't seem just to me or anyone else that knows her fair heart, that somehow, God knows better than us all. That there is a reason for this that someday we will understand, that it in fact will be obvious to us someday. It is this faith that keeps me strong. I still pray every day for her health, for a cure, for a turn towards healing and strength, not only for us but for all that are afflicted.

My Aunt lost her purse this week. She has a very strong faith and prayed for its return. Sure enough, a couple of days later, it was returned to her intact. There's nothing wrong with praying for something like that. She didn't tell me the nature of her prayer, but I bet is wasn't "God, can you please get me my wallet back because it will be a royal pain in the keester to cancel all my credit cards and get a new drivers license." Had it been, I doubt she would have gotten it back.

I don't know if I'm praying the "right way" for H's return to health and strength. I hope that I am, and feel that I do it with a pure heart. I have heard also that you have to "give up" in order to let God take over and work his plan. But if you "give up" well what does that really mean? You will stop taking medication? You will stop trying new treatments that come along? So many things have come along to us that have been "false boats", or so they have seemed. Did she, or we, just have to believe in one of them? If we believed in the radioactive stone, the energy work, the antibiotics or the olive leaf extract, would they have been our helicopter or our boat? I don't know.

In the mean time, you are my ships and my helicopters and every time you stop by, I will get on your boat or take your ladder. Maybe you need another person to row too, or a wing man to spot others in need. I will share with you what I can, I will help you if I can too. To reach back to another post I made, My bucket is not dry and it never will be. I am thankful to help when I can and I am wishful that I could help more.

Give thanks and enjoy the good things in your life and by all means, live it my friends.
Live it with strength, live it with faith and live it without fear. Control is a myth, material winds up in a landfill and nothing matters but what you can take with you. And what is that? You know what it is.

I hope you felt that because it came at you with much force (and Love, of course.)



  1. Bill - you are amazing and your words touch my heart.
    Always with thoughts and prayers for you, Heidi and the girls.

  2. My goodness Bill, (I was going to say, "My God" - but somehow that didn't seem right after this post...) you are a fantastic writer and story teller!

  3. Dear Bill... I stumbled across your blog kind of by accident. My mum has recently been diagnosed with ALS. I must say, I can relate to a lot of what you've said here. In many ways, I think I might be dealing with this whole situation better if I were a child again... I would have that unquestioning, divine hope and faith.. instead here I am, skeptical and wizened from all the things I know to be true. I have often though to myself, the hardest thing about this is going to be finding my faith. I search for it every day -- and yet even the search is plagued with self-doubts about the futility of searching. Does God exist? Can I find him? Is there any point looking for something that might not be there?

    With every "spiritual sign", I see a logical explanation. With every white feather I find, I can locate a pillow near by that it probably came from. A shooting star is a coincidence. A press release detailing a new breakthrough in ALS research, just another press release.

    It's very hard. I'm praying God will find me. Like you I don't know if I'm praying for the right things, in the right way, but it's all that I can do.

    Take care. You have a beautiful family.