God on Mute' is a book I am currently reading. I've been meaning to pick it up and consume it's wisdom for some time now, and last month I finally made it. It's a book I feel could have been written for me. Of course it wasn't, and reading a book like this only reminds me that 'some of us, are like the rest of us' in our doubts confusion, despair and endless questions.
One of my friends lent it to me, a friend who is what my mum would call, one of life's 'steady eddies', often a source of wisdom, support and guidance to me, and also a lender of books, this is by far the best of her lendings.
In a nutshell it's an in depth look at prayer, mostly the grey cloud of unanswered prayer, and healing.
Having been a Christian for a rather loooooong time, I have come across various schools of thought about the 'why does God not always answer prayers' questions. To be honest, a lot of other people's thoughts on this topic have never quite sat right with me. But it's kind of hard sometimes to go against the grain and say, 'what ARE you talking about?' when it's someone who is, well, a lot more 'in the know' about theology and the bible. Being a lady who often just reads a psalm to get her through the day, I have always presumed that maybe I was the only one who didn't really think that God would answer ALL of our prayers, in the way we asked.
I have wondered for a while why God hasn't healed me, and many other people I know. Then, halfway through writing this post I discover that my brother had prayed for me at a healing service last Sunday when I had a bad throat, these episodes usually last for weeks,sometimes months, and I was astounded that I felt better on Monday. Only yesterday do I discover that his prayers seems to have caused a lovely little bit of healing for me. It's great. But confusing that God healed my sore throat but not the bigger problem. This leaves me so very thankful, but also just a little bit more, well, convinced that we just don't really know why God does what He does, when He does, but that He does care for us deeply.
God is good, but He does let bad things happen, and that confuses me too, and always will. But I'm ok with that. People who say that the bible doesn't contradict itself clearly haven't read the same one as me. But I can cope with a confusing contradiction or two. I don't feel the need to squash my belief and faith in God into nice neatly labelled boxes. The life that God has given me, here on this earth is painful, sad and hard quite a lot of the time. Not just because I have CFS, that is hard, but there are worse things. But because of the pain my friends go through too, and when you have good friends, you go through it together don't you ? And as I notch up years on this earth, I become more aware that, well there are a whole load more unpleasant and hard to handle things which my family will probably encounter before our days on this earth are over. I want to walk with God through them, not just keep wishing they weren't happening.
I am learning not to fear suffering. Why? because I can find God in it. I don't always have to be eager to run to the end and see it go, healed, removed, whatever we call it. But sit in the pain for a while. Just like when I go out and do some gardening I like to have muddy hands for maybe a bit longer than is necessary.
This is a rambling post, the book 'God on Mute' however is not. It address the big questions around unanswered prayer and suffering, provides a teaspoon of theology, and a big old ladle of hope, hope for those in the mud, the waiting for something to change, to get better.
Heaven is where it will 'all come up millhouse' as the famous yellow guy says. I look forward to heaven, often. Not because I don't want to live anymore, but because that is where we get to really live, to live in the painfree, grief free, life filled bodies we were made to have.
Obviously I recommend you read it yourself,