Last night I received a call about a friend whose father was on his way to the Hospital. As I got off the phone I called people, sent text messages and emails to friends to ask them to pray. Those people in turn asked others to pray. My son even prayed while praying for our meal at dinner time. I felt confident that we had a small army of people praying and that everything would be OK.
An hour later I received a text that he was gone.
All of a sudden I was flooded with emotions. One because I was taken back to 2006 when I lost my father suddenly. The story was eerily similar. We were all praying for Dad to come out OK and the doctors would know what to do. But then I got the call. Dad was gone. My heart went out to my friend because I personally knew his pain.
But I also felt this sudden tension to ask the question, "God, why didn't you take care of that situation? Didn't you hear your people calling to you, asking you to do this one thing for us?" I felt this all night long. I knew the right answers but the right answers don't always take away emotions and pain. I know my friend hurts. I know that his pain can be eased but not removed. So, I asked one simple question, "Why?" I didn't see a burning bush or God writing across the sky, but I was reminded of a few things about God and us.
* God has a plan that I don't always see. His ways are not my ways.
* He is the only one who can truly comfort and ease our suffering.
* He longs to see His children bear one anothers burdens.
* Prayer isn't a magic formula to bend God's arm but to line my heart with His heart.
I don't know why God allowed my friend's father to pass away last night. But I do know that He was and is present. Sometimes I find myself asking the wrong questions in times of trouble and despair. A friend once told me, "Peace is not the absence of chaos or trouble but the presence of God in the midst of that chaos."
Today my prayer is that my friend knows the peace of God. That's really all I can pray for.