Watching the dramatic finish of the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers football game a few weeks ago was exciting. I was hoping the underdog Packers would hold on to the lead and win. However, they lost in sudden death overtime. In the chaos that follows such a dramatic finish, a news reporter interviewed one of the Seattle players who kept saying with tears running down his cheeks,
"God is so good. God is so good."
Watching this scene, I wondered if the player would say the same words if Seattle lost?
Waiting for a meeting last Tuesday at IU North Hospital where I volunteer each week, I read a quote from an old TIME magazine (July 7, 2012) from the golfer, Will Sampson. Will won the U. S. Open in 2012, against 50-1 odds, beating players like Tiger Woods. He was quoted, "I probably prayed more the last three holes than I ever did in my life."
I am curious how God appears when loss happens. On Sunday, the same day Seattle and Green Bay played, I didn't hear any Indianapolis Colts, the losing team against the Patriots, make any comment about God's goodness in the midst of defeat.
A few Sundays ago, Mike and I returned to the church from which he retired, Fishers UMC. I appreciated Pastor Kevin McKinney's words about prayer. He commented that when we pray for specific things, we are often met with disappointment when God doesn't answer the way we desire. Allowing, inviting, desiring and asking God to "work in me/ourselves, to do something in me, allows God to become transformative."
Many years ago, I decided to stop praying for specific outcomes when others ask me to pray for them or when I pray for myself. Instead, I faithfully pray, "God I bring you _____. Give him/her what he/she needs."
God knows our needs. Joining God's desire for a friend or family member can make our companionship with God and with those we love, more in line with God.
Prayer: God, when success comes our way we are prone to say how good you are instead of offering gratitude. When we struggle and desire a particular outcome, we can be disappointed when things do not turn out our way. Strengthen us to ask you to "work in us" so that we can be transformed no matter what is happening in our lives. Amen.