A Different Context

There are times and situations when what we learned in Sunday School doesn't help us.

To Be Understood

We need to know that God understands us, wherever we are.

Photo of a flower

A Soldier's Prayer by Deborah Beach Giordano

God, I Need You to Understand

O Holy One,
God of Peace,
Compassion,
and Mercy;
Source of abundant Hope
and unfailing Love,
I bless You for all You are ...
but I need for You
to understand.

Heavenly dove,
tranquil Spirit,
forgiving Lord,
celestial Designer,
tender Comforter,
Savior of all Creation,
I give thanks for all You are ...
but I need for You
to understand.

Eternal Presence,
gracious Redeemer,
perfect Healer,
Guidepost along the way,
Radiance that
illuminates the world,
I bless You for all You are ...
but I need for You
to understand.

The sweet stories
from Sunday School classes
of sheep and shepherds,
priceless pearls,
and wine-filled water jars
evaporate
disappearing into the dust
of this mad,
swirling landscape;

there is no place
for them here
where I am,
surrounded by enemies,
shaken by explosions
battered by merciless storms;
here there is no peace,
tranquility is unknown,
suspicion is mandatory.

How can You
there,
great, all-loving God
of grace and goodness,
begin to understand
the misery and confusion,
the violence and hatred
that I know
here?

There are stones aplenty
that my feet daily dash against,
wounds and bruises,
snares and snakes
and deadly pestilence;
there are nighttime terrors
and awful destruction
that strikes without warning
in the middle of the day.

I take shelter
in the shadows,
longing for safety
praying for salvation,
for shelter from the storm,
for an end to the suffering —
as the angels weep
and shred their garments
at seeing what I have seen.

Nothing is left
for me to say;
ten thousand words
are not enough,
nor are ten thousand tears;
all I can offer
are my constant cries:
My God, my God,
can You ever understand?

I fall exhausted,
my body is weary,
my heart is heavy,
my eyelids burn,
yet I must stay awake
and watch
and wait,
and pray
that You can understand.

I behold the desert
whose shifting sands
began as part
of the self-same rock,
now scattered
as far as the eye can see;
a single Presence
that changes its shape,
but never disappears.

It is everywhere
but nowhere
in particular;
spanning the horizon,
in the air above,
the ground below,
upon my face
and in my shorts —
in every place I look.

It makes me laugh
to think of it;
how like You, God,
to see
that the one thing
there’s so much of —
this cursed, infernal substance —
is the perfect messenger
to bring Your blessed Word to me.

Yes, You are here,
amid the confusion,
the sweating and the swearing,
the conflicts and the doubts;
You know our sickness
and our suffering,
our anger, outrage, and grief.
You’ve seen it all,
and have never turned away.

Yes, You are here,
beside me always
and everywhere
unflinching,
ever-faithful Friend;
even if I make my bed
in the depths of hell —
if I am there,
then so are You.

Eternal Presence,
gracious Redeemer,
perfect Healer,
Guidepost along the way,
Radiance that
illuminates the world,
I bless You for all You are ...
and I give thanks to You
for helping me to understand.