Last month I watched numerous programs on the assassination of Jack Kennedy. I was intrigued by the three main individuals involved: Ruby, Oswald and JFK, himself.
Ruby made the statement to a friend, “I want to be known as the man who killed Lee Harvey Oswald.” Oswald wanted to change the direction of our country, so he killed the president. Kennedy, afflicted by the painful deterioration of his spine because of his Addison’s disease, told his brother that he would rather die than be confined to a wheelchair.
Well, didn’t each of them get what they wanted? Jack Ruby was immortalized by his famous murder in plain sight of everyone glued to their TV. No one knows exactly how our country changed direction, but America was never the same after the killing of Kennedy. And, it certainly seemed that Kennedy would have been in a wheelchair, given that he had to have masses of pain killers just to move.
None of these men wanted their desires completed in the way it happened, but isn’t that really the way life unfolds for most of us? We want certain things to happen or not happen and we pray, we plan and we knock on wood. The planning and knocking are not the object of this discussion, but praying certainly is.
A personal story: I have prayed daily that my son will get off drugs, find a job, mature and live happily ever after. All in a year, please. Well, it was a slow, painful lurching journey that 12 months later is ongoing. There has been back-sliding and then my son and I have a long heart to heart phone conversation and I realize with a start, “Wow, that is a real step forward to maturity!”
It’s not the way I planned. But, is it God’s way?
Another story: After my stroke, I exercised, read about new breakthroughs and prayed, prayed, prayed that my body would be restored. Every morning I faced a surge of disappointment that I had to live my life so crippled.
This fourth year something happened: God slowly healed my spirit! I no longer wake up disappointed, but rather enthusiastic for the day! Not exactly what I ask for but maybe better! We’ll see!
I don’t really believe that God touches us with a wand and changes things but I do believe that God created the world and knows the past and future. And, that God is with us always, no matter what. If we believe that God is Almighty, All-knowing, and All-powerful shouldn’t we trust God to do the right thing, even if it is too slow for us or seems to have the wrong outcome?
Our covenant is to love God and our neighbor, not to run the world. What a relief it would be to truly unload this burden on God! What if every morning we scooped up our trembling, troubled lives and purposefully, prayerfully handed them to God, and then went about our day in love and peace?