Pheme Perkins a US theologian writes “How can we read these stories about Jesus, the exorcist and healer, without feeling cheated?”
It is entirely understandable that there would be many who would say: If Jesus could heal people in the Bible stories, then why when I prayed for my loved one, he or she was not also miraculously healed.
For those who have experienced tragedy like this, making sense of God and prayer in the process of healing can be extremely difficult.
Rev. Moodie gave examples in his ministry when praying for people in extremely difficult situations left him feeling utterly inadequate and helpless.
For some people their faith can be really shaken and may come to the point of giving up the whole faith enterprise. For others they may have come to the point of considering themselves agnostic. They just don't know anymore.
At the end of Matthew's Gospel we have a curious verse. It is a resurrection story. The disciples meet the risen Jesus on a mountain top in Galilee and they fall down and worship him. Then we read these strange words... “but some of them doubted”. If some of the disciples could doubt, Rev Moodie expressed the hope that in this community of faith, people would feel that it is okay to have genuine questions and doubts.
Rev. Moodie concluded with the following words:
"Despite the things which I struggle to understand, and despite living in a world of pain and sorrow, I continue to be a person of faith. Not a faith that assures me that nothing will ever go wrong in life, but a faith that continues to whisper gently to me that even in a world of tears there is a Sacred Wisdom that holds us and which is woven through life, and that in being part of a faith community that meets to worship on a regular basis, it helps me to feel more deeply connected to that mystery of life and have a sense that there is a deep meaning to life that connects us and holds us all together… and that meaning and mystery I would call God.
I continue to pray, despite many of the questions I have. I continue to keep a list of people in this congregation in my prayers. I have to be honest that I am not always sure what the outcome will be, but I do rest in the belief that maybe even in some small way, my prayers might make a small difference and might be a means of sharing God's love with other people."