A Fuller Answer

This psalm describes the frustration of unanswered prayer and the experience of receiving an answer far greater than the question.


Where can we turn
when You have turned away?
What of the Promise that You gave?

Photo of a flower

(un)Answered Prayer


How about “Abracadabra!”
Is that it?

“Hocus pocus”?
“Nothing up my sleeve.”?

What is the magic word?
Which phrase will bring the answer
that our hearts demand?

For nothing less will do;
no second-best,
no “wait and see.”

We want results, and now!

Patience is a virtue.
It’s also virtually

Klaatu barada nikto?
No interplanetary traveler
has brought the power that we seek.

Witches and wizards and warlocks
peer into ancient manuscripts,
finding only inkblots and dust.

Shelves full of arcana,
Webpages devoted to spells;
Crystals, and potions and plant extracts,

And eye of newt?

A gypsy will read your palm:
past, present and future: all will be revealed!
But nothing will be accomplished.

Black magicians grunt and hiss
over smoky caldrons,
and make their cats sneeze.

Faith healers and shamans
in blood-splashed robes
chant in the firelight.

Hoo-doo and voo-doo and all the rest...
What can we do
when life seems impossible?

Prayers aren’t working —
God has looked away;
or everything would be fine by now.

It must be time to try something new.
Call upon a different Name,
using a different set of words.

Maybe if I dance in the moonlight.

White and slim in the sky
God’s nightlight shines on the garden;
I step into the cool air ...

I will dance unceasingly,
and summon the wildness
that is all around me in the dark:

the patient quiet presence that waits.

My feet touch the grass,
I spread my arms toward the sky ...
and fall to my knees:

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

There is only You,
there is no other ...
No other hope, no other recourse, no other God.

Where can we turn
when You have turned away?
What of the Promise that You gave?

Silence is the only answer.
The raging, deafening silence of night
surrounds me like a cloak.

Wrapped in the darkness,
enrapt in the quiet,
suddenly raptured —

lifted up into the seventh heaven
where time and doing and being
have no meaning;

Where all that is, is love.

There is no Name,
no Face, no Words,
no wingéd seraphim.

There is no fear,
no concerns or worries,
only peace.

But I — still mortal, still me,
still alive with curiosity — have to ask:
“Why, Lord?”

I hear the laughter of the multitude;
giggling angels amused
by such naivety.

The Radiant One comes forth
and my heart is nearly burnt up by a celestial fire;
by love, pure and perfect.

In the voice of crashing thunder,
and of leaping salmon;
in the voice of power and of gentleness,

Christ spoke, “Child of wisdom
and wondering, the purpose
of our journey on earth is simple:

For the adventure of being alive!”

At once I found myself
on the sofa in the den,
a black dog snoozing at my feet;

I still felt the heavenly laughter
falling on my face like stardrops,
and my heart was strangely warm.

There is love. There is life. There is light.

And that is enough.