Sunday, October 03, 2004

Open Letter To God

Dear God,

I know we don't talk much, but I wanted to write to you. I don't expect an answer, I know you're busy, but I hope you have a few minutes to read.

Today, more people died. I'm not just talking about the everyday accidents or normal passing from old age or illness. I'm talking about some people that I think you know. A soldier who was doing his duty. Some civilians that were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And of course, some men who didn't care about either, but were probably shouting your name as they killed.

I have tried to understand this, but I have a hard time. Were you offended when they shouted your name as they cut off a man's head in front of a camera? As they detonated bombs that took the lives of 34 of your most precious lambs? Are their names in your book of life or in your book of death?

I'm sorry if you find this presumptuous of me to ask, but, as I said, I am having a hard time understanding. I know you gave us free will. I know that evil walks among us. But it is hard sometimes to reconcile your message of love and life with the fact that this kind of evil can exist and proliferate. Is evil this strong or are we, in our attempt at goodness, that weak?

I read a story over at Greenside from Major Dave about the soldier that was killed recently. He left behind a young wife and two young children. Major Dave asked for our prayers for them. I tried to pray, but I couldn't get past "Dear God". Suddenly, a list of things I should pray for popped into my head and I couldn't put them in order or think of the words to say.

The worst part, while I wanted to pray for your mercy and comfort to be delivered to these people and all those that had lost loved ones and were suffering, I suddenly wanted to pray for me. Then I felt guilty because, I have so much and have lost so little. My life is so easy compared to so many in this world. The soldiers, their families, the people of Iraq, Sudan and any number of places where they sleep tonight on cold ground, with no food, their lives at risk and little hope.

Do you hear their prayers?

I hope you don't mind me asking. It's sometimes hard to see your hand at work in the midst of so much evil in this world. I try not to succumb to the doubts, but it's not easy at four o'clock in the morning when it's hard to sleep and the news is telling you that more people were hurt or dead. More people will be mourning. That's what I wanted to pray about for me. That you would help me see the right path, the good path through all this horror.

I think even that I should ask for your forgiveness. I think I need it because I have thought many evil thoughts about these people. I can't forgive them and I know I am supposed to. I am supposed to leave the judgment to you, but I can't seem to do it. Sometimes I feel guilty when I pray that you will visit something horrible upon them. I think I even prayed some that a bomb would drop on their house or a bullet would strike them dead. Then I felt guilty again, because I was praying for somebody's death. The worst is sometimes, I don't feel anything, but a cold anger in me and that bothers me. I have never felt that way before. Even on that day, you know the day I'm talking about, when thousands died, that's when the coldness started. It has been growing ever since.

I think that's what I wanted to pray about the most. When I should have been praying for your mercy and comfort for these people that have lost so much, I suddenly needed your help, because I felt I was losing my way. You know, I never hurt anyone deliberately. Never hated anyone before. I know I've been angry, but not so angry that I wanted somebody to be hurt or die. That's when I became afraid. Right in the middle of trying to pray for the lost and the left behind, I had an overwhelming thought that these men, the evil ones who shout your name as they butcher people, should have your wrath visited upon them.

That's when I began to worry. Am I no better than them? I know I haven't killed anyone myself, but, I have certainly supported this war. With my very vote and every argument I make, I have sent men and women in my place to kill or be killed. I know somewhere there is a man or woman trying to reconcile this very thing with themselves and with you. That's when the prayer stops. I mean, the one that I started to pray for your guidance to me. Because, in the end, it is a selfish request that I ask for your guidance or understanding. While I might feel I need it, I know there is someone else out there that needs it more.

Besides, I am not sure I am ready to ask for your forgiveness for my thoughts. Mainly because I feel that these will not go away anytime soon. The more I see of this evil among us, the more I feel righteously angry. Do those men who shout your name feel the same? That's what kind of bugs me. I don't want to be them, but I worry that I may be, just as bad. Is that "moral relavitism"? I am trying hard to believe that there is good in this act, this war, because, in the end, I want to stop those men from killing more people and shouting your name. Something in me tells me that this is wrong. This is evil and must be stopped at all cost.

So, saying that, it means that the cost is somebody's father, brother, sister, uncle or mother may not come home again. It means some people will be in the wrong place at the wrong time and be killed. It means that more of the children will not grow up and know the joy of playing in the field, riding their bicycles. It means that their parents' arms will be empty today. Their bed will be cold. Tears will be cried.

I guess that brings me full circle to what I should be praying for. It's not the ones that won't come home or even the small children that will never see another sunrise. I know you have those well in hand. It is for those that are left behind, because, they can't see your face like those that are already gone. They cannot stand in your light. They can only pray and speak your name. Your presence is not clear to them. That's why they need the prayers most. I pray that you will put your hand on them and comfort them.

When the soldiers come back to base and they question why they are there. Why they had to kill or see death so closely, I pray that you will put your hand on them as well and give them comfort and strength.

I pray for those at home tonight that don't know where their loved ones are. Those that worry. The ones that can't watch the news anymore because they might hear about a soldier dying and they can't take the crushing weight of wondering if it is their loved one. I hope you will lift some of that worry. That you will remind somebody to go over and check on them. Call them up. Take them to lunch. Share a laugh or two and ease their burden.

Would it be too much if I ask you to work a miracle or two? Could you maybe looked down into the hearts of some of these men that are just caught up in fighting that they don't really understand and ask them to put their weapons away and go home to their families? You know the guys I'm talking about? The poor men in Iraq who have never really fired a gun before, but are willing to take big risks with their lives, maybe kill somebody because they need the money? Don't know what else to do? Can you put the hope of a better life in their hearts and minds so that they won't have to die and maybe they won't shoot and kill anyone?

I know, I know. I am asking a lot, but, from what I understand, this is not beyond your abilities.

As for the evil ones, I don't ask for your intervention against them. I know it is not you that controls their hearts and hands. I guess, for that, I will pray that you give strength and guidance to the men who must hunt them down. In this, I am more than comfortable believing that they are doing your work, because I can't believe that you would condone these other men, shouting your name as they killed and washing their hands in the blood of the innocent.

And now, I guess I'll close by saying thank you for answering me. I know you answered me because, as I wrote this, it reminded me that I needed to go visit my Uncle who is wheelchair bound who I haven't seen in almost a month and go play with my nephews and niece that I haven't seen in two weeks. Those are the little things I can do to make something good in this world.

I know you answered me because, as I wrote this, I was reminded that there is good in this world and that there is evil and we must oppose it with all our might, with all of our thoughts and that I am different than they because I would never contemplate killing small children or helpless men and women while shouting your name. Thank you for reminding me that I still feel something, I still cry and I still pray whenever your children are hurt or killed.

I think you know me so I won't make false promises about having this kind of discussion with you more often. Actually, I'm kind of hoping that the need for these kind of discussions will be much less of a necessity in the near future. I know, you just answered me again because, as I wrote this, I am reminded that you are there whenever I need you.

My last prayer then will be for those like me. I pray that you will remind them that they too can have a chat with you whenever they need it. What's that? Oh..yeah, people will be stopping by here and reading this letter and they will be reminded.

You do work in mysterious ways.

Amen.

6 comments:

91ghost said...

...again, despite those who decry this as pure sap or hokiness, and despite tactical, strategic, political and geo-political realities and catalysts and causes, this is at the core a spiritual war...darker clouds will roll over us, and ultimatley it will be up to our inner fortitude that God has granted us, and nothing else...will we have the spine of a man who could take nails in his hands, or will we crumble like sheep in a storm? We shall see.

Tammi said...

Ahh Kat, that was beautiful. And reminds me a lot of my own prayers. And His answers.

Thank you!

Jensdad said...

Kat,
I've always enjoyed reading your comments on Ala and Jen's blogs. I should have realized it but I didn't know you had one of your own.
You have an enormous amount of talent and it's a real treat to read what you come up with. Keep up the good work.

Frater Bovious said...

Thanks Kat. That was good to read. Thank You. fb

Kat said...

Thank you all for stopping by and reading my prayer. I was slightly undecided about posting it so publicly, but then I thought about how there are probably others that might feel the same. Always good to share some things and a little faith goes a long way.

And Jen's Dad..I'm so happy to have you stopping by. I've always enjoyed your comments on Ala's and Jen's blogs. Very good form and full of the big "smackdown" when some folks need it. LOL

91ghost...you are right. It is a spiritual battle. It's always been about good and evil. Every murder, every kidnapping, every child that is abused or killed. This just happens to be the biggest and most public presentation of that evil. It cannot be ignored by anyone, regardless of religion, that claims to abhor evil. I think we will see now that the terrorists have reaped what they have sown. They miscalculated. They thought they were get a huge portion of the Muslim world to go with them and commit more crimes.

Well, some are, but I am reading now articles by people in the middle east who are speaking out about the education and indoctrination of their youth into this sect that advocates violence. Let us see who will be the good in this world.

Tammi...I knew we have a lot in common. Good genes and good raising from parents that know what's right.

Frater..I always enjoy your blog, too and glad you enjoyed this little prayer.

I must say, in general, I can't remember the last time I've prayed so often and for so much.

Thanks again everyone. Hopefully the next prayer will be one of giving thanks.

Desultory Girl said...

Kat,

I needed to read that. The thoughts you prayed were ones that have been on my mind quite a long time. It's hard. But your post has encouraged me to set aside time and just talk to Him. Thank you, lady.