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Contending Against God

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BY REV. CORY L. KEMP |

Watching another recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy, I found myself with Dr. Meredith Grey, suffering from COVID, in a coma and on a ventilator. While her colleagues attended to her physical needs as best they could, Meredith settled on a beautiful beach she had created in her imagination, filling the time with visits from her husband, sister, and friends who had passed away.

Meredith could never quite reach her husband to hold him in her arms as she longed to do. Her friend, George, with whom she began her residency, sat with her on the deck overlooking the sea, lamenting the lost pleasure of making decisions. Her sister, Lexi, and friend, Mark, romantically involved while alive, were reunited on Meredith’s beach, reminding her to enjoy every single minute of being alive no matter what.

They each shared what they observed about her life, her children’s lives, since they had died, delighting in so much creativity, vitality, and joy surrounding her and filling her household. Zola, her oldest, writes letters to her dad in her journal. Her son, Bailey, ordered a personal birthday cake for himself as a prop to make his family laugh. Ellis, her younger daughter, the child most like Meredith, is stubborn, fierce and compassionate in full measure.

More so, every person she loved and reunited herself with while unconscious told Meredith that they were always with her, that, indeed, they had never left her at all. She often didn’t hear them, or didn’t give them credit when she did, but that was okay.

Human resistance is such a factor in how we communicate with each other, and how we allow God to communicate with us. Those of you reading this post likely are people who believe in prayer and make use of the practice yourselves. It’s simply part of our lives as Christians. But these words from the book of Job drew my attention as they popped up in our Daily Texts reading recently: “Why do you contend against God, saying, ‘He will answer none of my words’? For God speaks in one way, and in two, though
people do not perceive it.” Job 33:13-14

Do you believe that God answers prayer? Do you believe that God answers your specific prayers? If you do, how do you understand God’s answers for you?

I suspect that brings up all kinds of stuff for us about humility, self-worth, God’s plans for us over which we have no control and no right to intervene. I also suspect most of us are more comfortable dealing with concreate matters over which we feel rational control, things like managing our household budgets, planning for children’s educations and retirement funds. Things like mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, doing laundry and completing homework assignments on time. If these don’t get attended to life falls apart, quite rapidly in fact.

But I still want to encourage you to consider the simple truth that God is literally always with you, answering your prayers, spoken and unspoken, about everything going on in your life. The next right steps through any situation are available for you when you take the time to pay attention and listen, rather than brush aside a flutter of thought that catches your heart.

What would you most like to ask God for help with right now? Whatever that is, it is between you and God, nobody else. What is most lovely in coming to God with a prayer request is that God already knows you. There is no explanation or background information necessary. Like Meredith’s friends and family on that beach who knew her so well, God knows you and is ready for you to get to the good stuff to help you with whatever you want.

And God will answer your prayers. God speaks in one way or another way, but it is always a way that you will understand. You can trust God’s voice because you will recognize God’s voice. Because you know God as God knows you.


About the Author

Photo of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

Photo courtesy of The Rev. Cory L. Kemp.

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.


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