September 15, 2014 by phicks2012
When life’s fortunes take a downturn, tragedies occur, or our hearts are being broken, we often find ourselves praying for relief, for assistance, for love, or at least for answers. We pray for the recovery of ailing loved ones, that a prospective “good thing” will happen, that somehow we will not have to deal with hardships alone, that we will receive a much-needed job or promotion, that our beloved will not abandon us or will stop hurting us, that our children will succeed in life, that we will have a date for The Prom, and even that we will have lost weight at our weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in.
With the small things, we might not really notice if there is no discernable response. For example, if at our weigh-in we’ve lost no weight, or have gained a few ounces, we don’t blame God. We tend to blame ourselves. We shake our heads and admit that we probably shouldn’t have eaten that extra helping of pecan pie on Sunday.
But when the need for strength, assistance, or answers is greatest and our prayers the most desperate and intense, we do notice when they seem to fall upon deaf ears, and every time this happens — especially if it always seems to happen — our faith can slowly be eaten away just a bit with each occurrence. We may try to tell ourselves that this is our own fault too, for not being strong enough in our belief, or that the trial is meant to strengthen us, but deep inside a little faith may still die.
Optimism, like faith, can resurge, and often does, but I suspect we all nevertheless sometimes wonder why we bother, and the poem below was written at one such low point.
I’m much better now!! Honestly!! 😉
Faith is a dam that stands against the flood
To hold the roiling surge of doubt at bay,
And guard the soul from fear that the chills the blood,
Unless its core of strength is worn away.
It does not fall as we stand watching there,
And does not fail with sudden weakness found,
But slowly, with the seeping of despair,
Eroding in the night without a sound.
In increments the surety we know
Can weaken with the slow assault of pain
To falter when our prayers unanswered go,
And when it crumbles may not rise again.
The flinging heavenward of desperate plea
For aid or resolution in our grief,
Without response will leave a legacy
That nibbles quietly at our belief.
And finally the moments creeping come
That we put our belief and faith away,
For prayers unanswered leave our spirits numb,
If there are never answers when we pray.
[10 June, 2014]