A Quaker who fancies himself a prophet lay in bed next to his wife, waiting on a word from God. YHWH El Shaddai comes to him and quietly asks, “what would you pray for, scot?” I am afraid to answer, for even I am afraid to lie to YHWH. “But, I am not concerned that you may lie to me,” says the Holy One. “I am more concerned that you might lie to yourself. What will you pray for?”
Must I be honest? God knows what I would pray for, which is generally why I don’t pray. I just wait, hoping that the Spirit will never move me to confront myself. “If I were to pray honestly, I could ask for no more than to do God’s work, and enjoy stability for myself and my family.”
“What is it you want to pray for,” I am asked. I answer: “I want to be able to pray that the desire of YHWH is carried out by those who confess.” The next question is obvious. “Why don’t you pray for that desire to be met ?” I do not hesitate to respond. “It may mean that I might have to sacrifice in ways that I am not wanting to sacrifice. You have brought me a long way, YHWH. It seems as though now, I have something to lose.”
“What is it that you have faith in, then, if not the potential for my desire to meet your every need?”
What does faith mean, I ask, to one who has a house, and livestock, a wife and children who love me. I have a lofty job with an opportunity to reveal some sort of truth, to impactthe faith of others. Why should I have faith in digging ditches while drunk. I am tired of growth. I want to pray for myself, that I might finally be stable. That I might be able to settle.
“You need to read the Book more,” is the response that I feel. Centuries of revelation can not be dismissed by the untested experience of one junkie or religious refugee. The act of rejecting the revelation of the ancients does not make one exponentially more suited for the Truths of the future. It simply means that you might be spit out a spaceship instead of a big fish.
Either way, it will be a hot day in the desert when it’s all said and done, and nothing that begins in the desert seems to end well. Only the pure, it seems, enjoy the happy endings. As a particularly attentive person once said, “Hey… It’s not all about you, Job.”