Thursday, August 8, 2013

Praying for the world

I fall onto my unmade bed dramatically pushing three dogs a bit here and a little there so we can all fit.  "Life is tricky," I say to no one in particular, but  I guess to them.  They continue to chew on their new bones oblivious to my wonderings.

I grab Shine, my formerly abused rescue dog by the ears and say, "It is!  It really is!"  She licks my face and returns to her bone. 

The world is a mess and really, it always has been.  We just now have immediate access to every last detail, real or imagined, of every single event in the world today.  As if it wasn't enough to have the actual story, thanks to social media we now get all the speculations in the process.  I don't have cable for a lot of reasons, but one of the main ones is the news.  I don't like it.  I don't want to watch it.  And it stresses me out. 

But I wonder sometimes as a Christian if that's the right approach.  Jesus didn't bury his head in the sand when the going got tough.  He figured out how he could help and he did.  And I want to help!  I'm just not sure I can solve the Middle East Crisis, world hunger, or countless other worldwide tragedies too awful to mention. 

As I was talking to a friend later that day, I remembered a story from the monastery.  I asked one of the monks how long it took for them to find out about 9/11.  He said, "5 days."  He didn't offer how he found out and I didn't ask.  "Didn't that stress you out not to know?"  He looked at me like I was crazy.  "I cannot be stressed about what I do not know."

Of course!  But these are people that have devoted their lives to prayer for themselves and for the world.  How can you do that if you don't know?

Wiser than I (duh) he gently said, "Every morning when my feet touch the floor I pray for the world.  I ask God to bless it and keep it and to give those who walk upon it peace.  How could I know better than God what the world needs today?"

That gives me peace.  I can't fix worldwide problems by myself.  I don't have the political or financial resources to save a country from famine.  And I certainly can't comfort every single hurting person in the world today.  But I can pay attention to the world that surrounds me.  I can offer a cup of cold water to the homeless man with an oxygen tank on the side of the road in 100 degree weather.  I can hold the hand of the dying woman in the nursing home.  I can show up where I am.

Thanks to that monk, my prayers for the world have changed.  I still pray specifically for needs as I know about them, but generally I just pray that God would walk among us.  That He would bring healing and hope to a hurting world.  And that if I can help, He would show me.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Thanks, Brenda... I can be stressed out about what I don't know... it's part of my spiritual path to let go of faux control!