Oh God, it’s a terribly broken world. We are experiencing way too many terrible mass shootings in recent months. Truly, even one is too many. But when we are seeing and reading about several of them in the news, as if it were a regular yet random occurrence, something has gone terribly wrong.
Prayer: I confess that I’m a better starter than I am a finisher. As I’m turning the corner, as I’m just past the halfway point of this prayer blog project, I can tell, and you can probably tell, that I am losing momentum, and losing steam.
But you know what, all is not lost.
Prayer: I think there is no fear of redundancy to say this. I thank you God for the day, each day, and in particular, for the past week. It’s good to make for some time to pause and to pray on this blog. I haven’t quite settled on the term to describe this prayer-blogging. That’ll be my working term for now, until something else surfaces and resonates.
My One Year Milestone
It’s been a year since I’ve been to Las Vegas. It was the same conference I went to last year, except I was rather sick last year: with bronchitis. Even though I was sick, I believed it was important to go, not only because I had made reservations and registered for the conference, but it was a step of faith for me to fulfill that saying of: half the battle is showing up. And I believed that to be true.
Last year the insomnia and laryngitis on top of the bronchitis put me in a bad situation that eventually took me over 5 months to recover. That was a hard time. 2017 was a hard year. There may be harder years ahead. That’s how it goes for most of us, there are hard times and there are good times too. That is reality. And that is all a gift from you, God, and I can give you thanks for it. Help me remember to always give thanks.
Your word says suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope. Suffering is only for a little while. We can know that suffering will produce faith and character that is more valuable than fine gold. Well, suffering will definitely do something to a person. One can either become bitter or better, hardened in heart or strengthened in heart. The mystery of faith became more open to me, a little bit more, to believe that your Word is true and then to act on it. That is faith; that is walking in faith. And that I believe is a good thing. And I got to experience some of that goodness. Thank you.
I believe this past season of suffering did humble me, helped me to see my own frail human condition, and to be more empathetic to others, among other things. I hope these parts of my character will remain for the rest of my life, and that I can continue to grow in grace and kindness towards myself and with others also.
And, this year, bronchitis hit me earlier in the year, for a shorter duration, so that I could be well by the end of January. For that I can be grateful. I am grateful. Thank God.
To make it to this year’s conference was therefore a special milestone. I seriously did not think if I would recover in time, or even make it this far. But by grace, and by faith, I’ve made it here. Thank you God.
It’s not a great feeling to be frail and fragile and uncertain. It’s kinda crazy to think that simple things in life could feel so hard to accomplish. You helped me each breath and each step of the way. Yes, for days at a time, it was one step at a time, one moment at a time.
What’s the Deal with Las Vegas
Besides participating in the conference for my work, I had some free time to experience a few things in Las Vegas. I know the city has quite the reputation for being an adult playground of vices and immoral behaviors. I confess that there is a part of me that gets a little bit enticed by those temptations. Thank you God for giving me enough resistance to not be led into temptation. Pray and resist. Pray and resist. That’s what I called upon.
I recently saw an episode of Westworld. That TV series vividly depicted how people left to their own devices would obviously gravitated to their base instincts and immoralities. When there are no rules, people can do some terrible things. It’s only natural, so to speak, though naturally going to our human conditions of selfishness and indulgences are not good things.
As my heart has been softened in a number of ways this past year, I can see how Las Vegas would be enjoyable by many people. It may well be the most exciting thrill people can get in life, especially for people without faith. What else do they have to live for? Some people do choose to see how much they can get away with. Some others will work their hardest to get as much as they can get. I could very well have been entangled into a life like that. But I was spared, thanks be to God.
What difference does faith make in life
There’s a different kind of life to live, that’s more worth living. And I think I’m discovering that. Thank you God. The life of faith is not just a religious escape from real life on earth. The life of faith has helped me to get perspective and insight into what makes my life meaningful and rich.
Sure, physically and tangibly, I might be doing the very same kind of things as someone else that doesn’t have faith – going to work, eating meals, wearing clothes, doing errands, whatever. But the spiritual dimension of what motivates, inspires, and energizes my life is different—and I believe, it is greatly valuable.
What used to be called the meaning of life in a previous era seems to be more recently called the purpose of life. And I’ve come to believe that it is this kind of faith that is connected to hope and love in a good God that created all of existence, that has helped me make the most sense out of life in this world.
No, it doesn’t answer all the questions. Yes, there are terrible things that happen in the world that this God allows. The thing is, to believe that God does not exist, well, that doesn’t make the terrible things in this world go away either. So for me, I believe it more helpful to believe in a God who is good and loving, and in the end, will have the final victory and make all things good and right. One day. And with life’s challenges that do occasionally come, for some more than others, even, I could use all the help I can get.
Let me now go gently into the night. Good night. May a good night sleep prepare me well for a new week ahead and gently pace myself for good works and good relationships.
What else can I say, God? This is my half way point of blogging my prayer and typing them out. When I make the time for this conversation with you, I believe it is a good thing, it’s good for my soul.
I was going to say I know instead of I believe. I know that, is just another way of saying that, I believe that. So there are different senses of that word know.
Was cleaning up my old journal entries in my digital notebook (migrating them from Evernote to Bear). I came upon this typed-out prayer from March 4, 2012 that I wrote and typed, as a prayer, in my journal.
There’s a biblical precedence for recording prayers. It’s there in the New Testament; I think of the good one in Ephesians 3 There are prayers recorded in the Old Testament too; for that part of the Bible, I think of Nehemiah 1. (Just to be clear, I’m not writing the Bible. That was already done many years ago when the canon was completed.)
Here’s my prayer from 2012 in its entirety, with minor edits for typos and anonymizing personal info, though I kept the lower-case i, since that shows how I typed it.