It’s been quite a while since I wrote on here. I have surprised myself with my silence. The truth is – the quiet has been a combination of two facts-of-life: 1. Busyness 2. Complete dearth of inspiration.
Work has been busy – for which I am deeply grateful. Life as a freelancer is constantly unpredictable and I am very happy to have an influx of work, which will keep me busy and out of trouble for a few weeks.
Mostly – and this I suspect is the “real” reason – I just haven’t felt inspired. Haven’t known what to write about. Haven’t felt that I had anything to say. Fleeting thoughts have crossed my mind but nothing has taken root.
This morning, I went to church. It was a lovely service. On the whole. A guest speaker and lots of happy faces. All was going swimmingly. And then the preacher mentioned Muamba. Muamba – the man who “died” (technically for 78 minutes) on a football pitch last week, and is now alive. Muamba – the sudden object of the nation’s prayers (or at least, the prayers of those on Twitter). Muamba – the “miracle”.
I must confess, however, that I did not join in with the Twitterati #prayformuamba – although I do pray quite often myself. I didn’t get overexcited about this seeming “answer to prayer”, this “miracle” – and it may well be one (or both) or these.
I couldn’t. I am not a cynic. Nor a pessimist. Quite the opposite in fact.
For me though, jumping on this bandwagon would have meant quelling the difficult questions, the deep agonising, soul-wrenching questions about unanswered prayer.
I have friends longing for a baby, who have prayed again and again for a baby, and who remain childless. And devastated.
I have experienced the darkness of unanswered prayer in my own life. Where there are no answers to the question “why?”, no “happy endings”.
I am not the only one.
And this morning, I watched a young girl fall apart as the preacher ecstatically exclaimed the miracle of Muamba and the amazing answered prayers witnessed. She fell apart, devastated, because three years ago, she prayed – again and again – that her mum would be healed from cancer. And she wasn’t. Aged 14, she lost her mum. And now she struggles to believe in the God who didn’t hear her prayer.
For her, talk of the Muamba miracle only rubbed salt into the wound. Only compounded her question “why?” and her sense of God’s abandonment and lack of care.
Her pain – so visible and raw – was almost too much to witness. I love this girl deeply. I know how much she misses her Mum. Every day. And like everyone else, I don’t have an answer, a satisfying response.
Does this mean I don’t pray? No. Not at all. I continue to pray even when my prayers aren’t answered. At times like these, my prayers may not be very eloquent or “nice”. More rant-y and raving. At other times, more silent than spoken. At others, there are only tears.
I do believe in prayer. But I don’t like jumping on a bandwagon. A bandwagon that seems to create more questions than answers, more pain (for some) than comfort.
Is Muamba’s life a miracle? Maybe. But let’s not shove that in the face of the hurting and grieving, for like salt rubbed in a wound, the pain created runs too deep for words.