Over the past month or so, I have been debating with myself about prayer. Let me start off by telling you that my faith has not been shaken by Sara's death, but made stronger. I feel like I have a better understanding of who God is, after going through this trial. However, as the human mind often does, I want to be able to understand and comprehend what is going on and why. This is a fruitless task, because God's word tells us that...
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts that your thoughts." --Isaiah 55:8-9
Here are some of my thoughts on prayer...
Why do we pray? If God is separated from time and knows what is going to happen in the future, what do our prayers accomplish?
Do we pray to change God's mind or to change our hearts (to put them more in line with God's will)?
Do we, as God's children, truly have free-will or are we predestined to follow the path that God has laid for us? Do our actions here have an effect on the future? If we have free-will, God knows all and is "separated from time" so, He knows what is going to happen in the future, so is it really free-will?!?
Some of my conclusions...
I pray because God tells me to. "This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name..." --Matthew 6:9
I pray because that is how I communicate with God. Relationships cannot exist without communication.
God's mind has been changed in the past by the peoples prayers and God tells us "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." --Hebrews 13:8.
So, if His mind has been changed in the past, the prayers of the people can change His mind today.
I know that 1000s of people were praying for Sara, but God did not answer our prayers for earthly healing. I have often thought, "What if more people had prayed for her...would it have made a difference?" I do not think it would have.
If I found out that my prayers would never change God's mind would I continue to pray? ABSOLUTELY! God's word tells us to "Be joyful always, PRAY CONTINUALLY; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." --1 Thessalonians 5:17
Lastly, I do not think I will ever be able to know the answer to the free-will/predestination debate on this side of Heaven.
The following passage is what I read last night in STREAMS IN THE DESERT.
Before we can establish a new and deeper relationship with Christ, we must first acquire enough intellectual light to satisfy our mind that we have been given the right to stand in this new relationship. Even the shadow of a doubt here will destroy our new confidence. Then, having seen the light, we must advance. We must make our choice, commit to it, and take our rightful place as confidently as a tree is planted in the ground. As a bride entrusts herself to the groom at the marriage altar, our commitment to Christ must be once and for all, without reservation or reversal.
Then there follows a time of establishing and testing, during which we must stand still until the new relationship becomes so ingrained in us that it becomes a permanent habit. It is comparable to a surgeon setting a broken arm by splinting it to keep it from moving. God too has His spiritual splints He wants to put on His children to keep them still until they pass the first stage of faith. Sometimes the trial will be difficult, but "the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast" (1 Peter 5:10). - A.B. Simpson
Now, for what most of you have been waiting for...
"Chloe discusses her dreams with Nannie (my mom)."
Update on the Ertmers - Brad, Holly, and Ethan are doing great. Holly had a checkup with the neurologist this week, and he said things look good. The tumor was benign, but Holly will continue to visit with the neurologist twice a year for the foreseeable future.