Life and FaithPrayer


Oh, the questions we ask you, Begetter of the universe…

You, who spun waves and particles into golden light, we question if your hands are big enough to hold us. You, who breathed life into our spirits and our dusty frames, we pause to ask if you care about us. You, whose finger carved words into the dirt, we ask if you care enough to write our stories, to show us what you want from us and for us.

You, who entered time, slipped into skin, felt rejection and loneliness—yet we presume you have left us when our blind eyes cannot see you, and your presence is not palpable. You, who are called the Light of the World, we ask where you have gone when we wander in darkness. You, who carefully marked the trenches of the world, poured its foundation, and sent the Cornerstone, why do we think you are incapable of answering our question marks?

Why does our friend have to walk through that valley? Our family member suffer that pain? Why do our own hearts—crushed—drip red in the darkness and in the blaze of day?

We ask when you will show up, why you allowed tragic loss, why there is emptiness sucking at our hearts like a black hole. Why does the darkness feel overwhelming, when the Light has rendered darkness outmoded, dead, and chased away?

There was a time when you stepped into our world. When eternity became now. You bought us back from hopeless death. And still we question. Still we scream. Still we shake our fists and walk away. You, who never promised life would be easy, we expect to right everything, now. You, who never explained yourself to Job, we expect to spell out every answer to our every why? We expect you to operate like we do, to think in our human boxes, in our narrow line of sight. You, Creator, Sustainer, Holy One, Alpha, Omega… You, immortal, immutable, invisible, we ask to explain yourself to our finite minds, to contain yourself in a kernel of knowing that will fit inside of us. But you cannot be contained in our minds, in our paltry understanding, or in our broken hearts.

You are bigger than that—vast, eternal. You fill us, overfull, and splash out onto those we touch. Your love only multiplies. The ringing of your Truth reverberates throughout the galaxies, resounding through the entire universe. How can we think it is all contained in one book, in one heart, in one mind, in one planet?

It is not that we do not need to know why—sometimes we cannot know an answer so immense. We are too close to see the whole, to see clearly. We cannot explain away pain, abandoned hearts, our death valleys, or all the other dark shadows that cross over our lives. Neither can we explain why the storm clouds come to us, or why the Light doesn’t break through and scare all our monsters away. Maybe we are not strong enough to endure the illuminating rays that would break those clouds, eliminate that darkness. Perhaps we are being made ready to bear the weight of light—something weightless in our world—that, coming from the heavenly realm, is so dense that it would crush us.

In a moment of unknowing I whisper, But why, God? Then, I choose to hang my question on these spoken pegs of Hope: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us. I do not always know what that Mercy looks like in this moment, in this day, in this shadow world. What form will Mercy take? Sometimes his Mercy is severe. Once, it took the form of a man in flesh, nailed to a cross—suffering with us.

God is not “out there” but right here, with us—even when I cannot feel him or see him, and the clouds do not part. He is not against me—or you. He does not say why he does what he does, or why he allows various things. He withholds his mighty hand at times, and I don’t know why. I only know he will not leave us all alone.

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Grant us Your peace.

Johanna Byrkett

Johanna Byrkett

Johanna (Jody) Byrkett enjoys hiking various types of terrain, foggy mornings and steaming mugs of tea, reading classic literature and theological essays, studying words and their origins, and practising the art of hospitality. (She also has the singularly annoying habit of spelling things 'Britishly'.)

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