29 March 2010

Answers to prayer

By Friday night last week, the 26th of March, that is, I was beginning to despair of getting the major solo right that I had to play in the piano concerto that week-end.  Friday night's rehearsal was the fifth rehearsal for the orchestra.  We had practised that concerto each time.  I had practised it a fair bit at home.  I was still really messing up the solo, even though I could play it by myself all right by now.

Something in my spiritual reading on Saturday caused me to acknowledge that there was a seriously faulty attitude possible towards such things - one of presumption.  If I just trusted God, and prayed about it - and I did both - then it would turn out all right.

Saturday morning I practised that solo a lot - and I prayed most intensely, as well.  I very specifically asked God that I would play it well, together with three others of lesser importance, both at the rehearsals - for the sake, I said, of the others, because nothing worries an orchestra so much as some other player obviously making a mess of something - our confidence goes up or down as a group - but also, I had to confess, for myself.  I didn't want to mess up.

It went all right.  I played it adequately, both at the pre-concert rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday, and at the concert itself.

Our lives are not fragmented.  What enabled me to play it adequately?
  • more practice?
  • intense prayer?
  • the psychological boost of knowing I was practising and praying hard?
  • the psychological boost of really believing (or hoping) that God and my Guardian Angel would help me?
  • Preternatural assistance from my Guardian Angel?
  • Supernatural assistance from God the Holy Spirit, enabling me to believe, hope, and love?
All - no doubt - of the above.  What seems to me to be the case is that it isn't really all of the above, as a collection of separate factors.  God Himself is not composed of parts, of components.  He is not so much wisdom and so much power and this amount of love and ...

And - it seems to me - neither are our lives thus to Him.  The act of my playing that solo - imperfectly, to be sure! yet adequately - is one Act of God.  It has its foundation in His ordination of the whole of Creation, including His decree that one person - named John Jensen - would exist, would learn to play the cornet, and then the horn; would father children whose later music studies would inspire John Jensen to greater musical effort himself - all this, not as a collection of inputs, but as one thing is what it is to God.

And thus, in reality, to each of us.  In reality, though we do not see that reality as He does, will not see it thus until - God grant it! - we see it with Him.

And so it is with the prayers we call unanswered.  It is not even, I think, as some like to say, that, though God always answers prayer, sometimes the answer is 'no' - or 'I have something better to give you.'  I think that God's answer is always 'yes.'  Our prayer is part of that answer.  Our doing is part of that answer.  And the failure, if so be we fail, is part of that answer.

But there, again, I speak of parts.  And parts there are, indeed - but not at bottom.  At bottom is the one, single Light Whose brilliance, Whose Glory we can only take in, supernatural Photon by supernatural Photon.

This Easter that One 'Yes' will appear to us in Its risen glory.  Be ready.

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