January 5, 2009
Christ, the Everlasting Lord
Yesterday, we sang the last of our Christmas hymns for this season. One of them was "Hark!The Herald the Angels Sing" and as we sang through the verses, one phrase stuck with me throughout the rest of the service: "Christ, the Everlasting Lord."
Jesus in John 14:12-14 said: "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
This passage has frightened or disturbed many a soul (including mine) over the years because we all know someone who asked for something and did not receive what was requested. Maybe the request was for an sick person to be healed or spared death, for a family member or child not to go astray, for a job, for admission to a school or training program, for a second chance in a relationship. Whatever the request may have been, someone asked and did not get what they requested. It's enough to shake faith, enthrone doubt, and deaden a belief in prayer.
Still, Jesus was not pressured to promise something that is untrue or unattainable. So, what does it all mean? How many people do any of us know who seem to be doing more than Jesus did? What does he mean when he says ask "in his name"? Why do so many prayers go unanswered or denied?
Only the praying soul knows if he or she made a request that was placed under the lordship of Jesus. Only the praying soul knows if the Holy Spirit prompted a prayer or if pride, self-will, greed, lust, or even laziness motivated a desire. Only the praying soul knows if a prayer was motivated by a desire to bring glory to God or glory to self and others. "I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father."
I have to remind myself not to look into another person's situation and ask why something did or didn't happen. I am not capable of seeing all that's there. Really, there is no way for me to see the full picture. I am limited in fully knowing or seeing even my own motivations. So, I will just pray my prayers and trust that Christ, the Everlasting Lord, will hear and answer in love, justice, and mercy.