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Faith Meets Life: An Ongoing Tale - Where was God when disaster struck?

Michael Veenema | Interrobang | Opinion | September 12th, 2005

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
We find Tamara Jacobs lunching with former Fanshawe chaplain, Mitch Vedic. What was going to be a one-time meeting is turning into a long term conversation. Last week's chat between the two continues and sounds like it could go on for a long time, maybe over a lot of lunches.

Last week's conversation was about where people are supposed to pray, and Tamara was wondering if prayer is something only a professional religious person like a rabbi or Christian minister does.

“Isn't prayer something that might take place at a religious ceremony like a church wedding or a funeral?” Tamara asked. “Last week you got very quiet for a minute, and when you looked up, you claimed that you had been praying, thanking God for the food you had. But you were in a bar.”

“Well, it all depends on what you think about prayer and Christian faith,” Mitch replied. “As a Christian minister I can't speak for Muslim prayers or the prayers of other faiths, but in the experience of most Christians, prayer can take place anywhere. Prayer isn't really a ceremonial thing. It is simply talking to God, either quietly or out loud.

“If you want him to understand what you are thinking, writing or saying, he will listen. Above all, prayer is a conversation — your part in a conversation between you and God,” he added.

Tamara then wanted to know why some prayers don't get answered.

“Online this morning I read that there are probably hundreds dead in Louisiana and Alabama. The mayor of New Orleans says the city has to be abandoned for now. Thousands of people have had all their material possessions destroyed. Many of those people must have believed in God and would have been praying to be rescued. If there really is a god, would he just turn a deaf ear to all those prayers?”

After thinking for a moment, Mitch replied, “The question of where God is when people, even people who trust him, really need His help is a question that many people have asked. That question makes it hard for some of us to believe in God.

“I don't have all the answers to this one, but I'd like to start with an observation: It seems that God often does give people what they ask him for. Let's consider those who were praying for rescue in Louisiana. If some of them died, we can also be pretty confident that most of them did not. Similarly, if you hang around Christians, you will often find people saying that God provided what they really prayed for at a difficult, or even a not very difficult, point in their lives.”

To be continued...
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