I've just returned from a trip to Sydney, Australia. Among the many things we did was tour the Blue Mountains where we did alot of hiking. One thing I was impressed with was seeing the gum trees that were charred and seemingly destroyed by fire but upon looking up to their tops, their leaves gave evidence to the life within. Our host, Gregory told us that this is pretty common and pointed out other examples where you could actually see THROUGH holes in the tree and yet, it was still alive.
This reminded me of the burning bush in Exodus that God spoke to Moses through. It also reminded me of a recent devotional that I had read. In Toronto, I purchased this book called "The Word Is Out" by Chris Glasser. It has daily Bible meditations for lesbian and gay men. The one scripture that really stuck with me is the following from Isaiah 43:1-2.
Recently a friend of mine has been turning to prayer to see if it makes a difference in her life. I've cautioned her that, as this scripture above states, the difference that prayer makes is not necessarily reflected in an easier life. (In fact I'm leery of "Health & Wealth" Christians. These people believe that if one has God's blessing, then things go easier for you in the form of health and wealth. To these Christians, I recommend reading and re-reading the Book of Job until they get the point.) The difference that prayer makes is that it gives us the fortitude to be unconsumed by the fire of our hard trials. We will not be overwhelmed. We will not be burned. We will not be hurt. God is with us.
43:1 Israel, the Lord who created you says, "Do not be afraid,I will save
you. I have called you by name, you are mine.
43:2 When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. The Good News Translation
Another friend of mine recommended this excellent book called "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. The author survived five years in German concentration camps and set about trying to determine why some people survived and some did not. His conclusion was this: that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. (This is in contrast to Freudian psychotheraphy that states sexual instincts and urges were the driving force of humanity's life.) Those in the camps that survived, believed they had a greater purpose and that their life had meaning. Many found solace in prayer.
I used to think prayer was pointless. I still have doubts about how effectively we mere mortals can change an outcome of a situation that is already part of a greater plan (predestined). However now I can see the connection between this practice and reaffirming my Christian faith.