The Grappling Hooks of Unanswered Prayers

(Excerpt from Life As We Would Want It….Life As We Are Given by Ken Gire)

For two disciples, Christ’s crucifixion was an upheaval so great that the landscape in Jerusalem where it happened was too grim a reminder of their pain.  To sift through the emotional rubble, they had to get away.  The road they took was the road to Emmaus, a village seven miles away.

At sometime or other we have all taken that road, or else at sometime or other we will.  The road these disciples traveled sloped away from Jerusalem through desolate and uncertain terrain, a stark reflection of the desolation and uncertainty within them.  The Savior they so loved had been brutally killed.  With Him died their hopes, their dreams, their futures.  Something of themselves died, too.  And something of their faith.  Who knows what sorrow they carried with them on that road out of town, what they talked about, what they cried about, what they feared would happen next?  Who knows what questions they asked or what emotions surfaced when they asked them.

Gradually, over that seven-mile stretch of road, the answer to their questions became clear.  It happened like this.  As they walked away, Jesus came alongside them, walked with them, and engaged them in a dialogue about what had happened.  At first, they didn’t recognize Him.  They came to the outskirts of Emmaus, and still they didn’t recognize Him.  It wasn’t until they sat down to dine with Him, and He with them, that their eyes were finally opened, both to the identity of God’s Son and to the mystery of God’s ways.

Everything that happens to us should be brought into a dialogue with God, an honest and ongoing dialogue.  No experience should be excluded.  No question should be, either.  “Live the questions now,” Ranier Maria Rilke advised.  “Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into an answer.”

The answer may come in a seven-mile walk.

Or in a walk that lasts a lifetime.

It may never come.

And yet we go on asking, seeking, knocking.

One wonders why.

Our unanswered questions are the grappling hooks we use to scale the north slope of God, who seems at times an Everest of indifference.  The ascent is treacherous.  And maybe why we brave the climb is because we sense that abandoning the climb might be even more dangerous.

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