There is a columnist in the local paper (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) named Philip Martin. I don’t usually agree with him but I like to read his stuff anyway. Today he wrote about a singer who has just released a new album. Her name is Iris DeMent. Ms. Dement was raised Pentecostal and apparently her music is colored with a perspective that has journeyed from there to a certain skepticism. I haven’t listened to any of her music so I can’t say for sure. All I know is what I read in Mr. Martin’s column.
Mr. Martin homed in on one song on the album, “The Night I Learned How Not to Pray’. It tells the story of a child who saw an infant tumble down a flight of stairs. They prayed but the infant died. The song ends with
That was the night I learned how not to pray
God does what He wants to anyway.
Kind of depressing, isn’t it?
I read that as the daughter of a close friend lies in intensive care with pneumonia. And we are praying. A lot of us are praying.
It seems there a lot of people out there who don’t want us to believe that God will answer, that God won’t or maybe even can’t do anything. Maybe they don’t want us to even believe there is a God. They want us to think we are all just accidents of chemistry. They want us to believe we are going to die of the flu or that somebody is going to break into our home and shoot us dead. Or that we won’t be able to retire. Or we will be old and sick without adequate health care. Democrats want us to think the Republicans are going to take our money and keep it. Republicans tell us the Democrats want to take our money and give it away. They all want us to believe that life is just hopeless, so hopeless. We might as well sit down and do nothing. Is it any wonder somebody would walk into a theater or a shopping mall or a grade school and start shooting?
But I kind of have a different view of things. I think God does what He wants to do but I think He wants to save, to heal, to provide. I think He can. I think He will.
I think prayer still matters. I think it’s worth the trouble.