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I thought the Lord would have sorted that out by now. He's had enough prayers about it

(23 Posts)
LarrytheCucumber Mon 27-Feb-17 09:07:44

Said by my mother. The situation she is talking about is quite complex and has been going on for several weeks. I find it hard to subscribe to her view that things just get sorted out. She also prays for parking spaces and says 'The Lord knows what He's doing' which in one of our family situations (which she doesn't know about) involving sexual abuse, make me want to scream.
I am a Christian, but my experience of life doesn't seem to include quick fixes.
Anyone care to discuss?

Rockpebblestone Mon 27-Feb-17 09:41:31

If there is no physical action, she can take personally, to help sort things out, this could be a stance she is taking which helps her cope with things. She might find dwelling on the situation, going over it in discussions, makes it difficult for her to function, so she prefers to remain hopeful that everything will work out OK in the end.

I appreciate this could make life very difficult for people who find discussion of problems helps them prepare for and cope with a difficult situation but not everybody is the same.

BrownEyedLady Mon 27-Feb-17 12:33:55

"Thy will be done" helps me have an attitude of acceptance of what is. I don't expect things to go my way just because I pray.

LarrytheCucumber Mon 27-Feb-17 15:02:58

Rockpebblestone yes, you are probably right. She doesn't usually want to hear about my life unless I can tell her something cheerful.
For the first time I can remember she said 'It must be very difficult for you.' She doesn't normally acknowledge that my life isn't that easy.
The reverse of 'I have prayed a lot so should have what I want' is 'You haven't got what you want so you should have prayed more' neither of which seems right.

Rockpebblestone Mon 27-Feb-17 16:13:44


The reverse of 'I have prayed a lot so should have what I want' is 'You haven't got what you want so you should have prayed more' neither of which seems right.

So is she actually insinuating the reverse is true, or suggesting you, personally have not got what you want because you don't pray enough? If this bothers you could remember what the Bible says about 'vain repetitions' and performance prayers being meaningless, so to speak.

If, however, what she is saying is merely an expression of her own heartfelt hope and faith, this would not be said in order to criticise your own way of praying. If she believes her prayers will be answered that could be simply her belief. You might ask yourself why it bothers you when she is hopeful.

I think ultimately you may have to accept you might have an entirely different way of processing events and coping with them than your mother. This does not mean that either if you is right or wrong, just that both of you need to be aware of this, if you are to be supportive of each other.

I am guessing that you would really like her to show more empathy and understanding towards you, which is entirely understandable. However, people can find empathy can be quite frightening to really engage in because the result can make them feel as bad as the person they are empathising with. This could be counterproductive, if what is required to find a solution is calmness and clarity. The flip side of this is that a calmness during a difficult situation can make someone seem quite unfeeling and dispassionate. You just have to remember situations often need both kinds of responses in order to be resolved and that people are often better at one kind of response than the other.

LarrytheCucumber Tue 28-Feb-17 07:13:37

I think she just thinks if she has prayed enough it will be 'solved' I don't think she is criticising me.
I have read your reply several times. It is true my mother and I have different ways of coping. I am not sure I want empathy from her - sympathy would be nice.

Rockpebblestone Tue 28-Feb-17 08:48:36

Larry, well at least that is something positive, that she is not criticising you.

It must be very difficult to be on the receiving end of someone who shows little sympathy - sometimes all you want is a hug / someone to listen. flowers

I do think it possible, though, your mother might be making such a huge effort to be hopeful of a positive outcome, she does not want to engage in any behaviour which shows an acceptance of the severity of the situation. It is a coping mechanism. She might feel she would fall to pieces if she were to do anything else. Or she might feel, somehow, her positivity might keep you from falling to pieces.

Have you other people in your life who can offer you the type of support you need?

picklemepopcorn Tue 28-Feb-17 09:02:17

Sorry, commenting because I want to come back later!

LarrytheCucumber Tue 28-Feb-17 11:09:20

Oh yes, I have a husband and good friends. And I pray, but I am aware that if the situation did have a quick fix the person concerned might not learn the lessons God might have for them.

Rockpebblestone Tue 28-Feb-17 11:45:20

It is good that you have the support, that your mother does not seem able to give.

From what I understand, from your post, it seems you and your mother are putting your focus on different aspects of the situation, in order to process and cope with it. You believe there are vitally important lessons in it, for the person concerned, whilst she is focussing on hoping for and believing in a positive outcome.

Both perspectives, as I see it, could help inform upon a bigger picture. Each perspective also balances and compliments the other. If too much importance is given to a difficult but necessary process, it is easy to become overwhelmed, yet if too much importance is given to outcome, then the lessons learnt and important steps to take during the process could be neglected.

LarrytheCucumber Tue 28-Feb-17 11:59:52

Browned sorry, not ignoring your comment. Yes, that is a way of finding acceptance, but in some situations (the sexual abuse one for instance) it raises a whole new set of questions.

EddSimcox Tue 28-Feb-17 13:12:25

It's really interesting Larry isn't it? I'm sure I'm with you. I don't think God provides quick fixes (or parking spaces!) just because we ask for them. It doesn't mean we shouldn't pray about the situation though. Just that the answer we get may be very different from what we were hoping for. And yes, when it feels hopeless I fall back on 'thy will be done'. Which is absolutely not to say that God's will is done all the time, or even most of the time. Your mum's attitude saddens me though because it feels like she thinks of herself as powerless to do anything, whereas in my experience prayers are often only answered when we do something.

Rockpebblestone Tue 28-Feb-17 13:39:35

I believe sometimes we have to physically do something, sometimes we don't.

Sometimes it really is someone else's job - we can support and encourage but we cannot do it for them.

If we were to think we, personally, have to act in every situation, even when we don't know what to do and are 'grasping at straws', we can easily suffer 'burn out' and be unsuccessful in what we are trying to acheive.

I think prayer allows space for all of this - and clarity often takes us by surprise.

Madhairday Tue 28-Feb-17 14:11:16

My experience is that things don't always - or even often - get 'fixed'. We live in a broken world and suffering happens. It's also my reading of scripture that God isn't all about fixing everybody's lives in the way they would like. God's overall picture is definitely one of making things right, of providing hope and a future for God's creation, bringing all things back to how they are meant to be, and because of that we do see glimpses of these things, of how the kingdom is. The not-yet in the now, sort of. I think we can pray for something specific for years and not see what we hoped, but I do believe those prayers are not in vain - prayer never is. It is accomplishing something we sometimes can't see or imagine.

It's toughest of course when it comes to suffering, especially things like abuse because people can't understand why God wouldn't do something. And it is really difficult to understand, but my experience is that God does do something, at some point, but it may not be what we think it should be.

Saying all that, though, my experience is also that when we pray, coincidences do happen, even small things. Maybe it's just that it changes our own perspective but I do find things change and usually for the better. Prayer fascinates me, because it works. I've seen prayers answered in so many ways, incredibly at times. And sometimes, not answered.

I'm with Edd about thy will, not mine, which is of course what Jesus said in the most desperate of situations. There was a kind of acceptance but not a complacency which said 'I'm just going to leave it to you.' Jesus always knew he would have to follow his father's will, and never stopped praying, even when it got hideous. I think that's a good model for prayer.

Paul says pray without ceasing,in every circumstance with thanksgiving. We can only do that, and see what happens. There are not wrong and right ways to pray and I don't believe God rewards 'right' or extended forms of prayer with the answer we want. It's much more complex...

LarrytheCucumber Wed 01-Mar-17 07:08:03

Job didn't get too many instant fixes, did he?

Rockpebblestone Wed 01-Mar-17 08:55:20

No, Job didn't 'too many instant fixes' and plenty of others in the Bible had to wait for a positive outcome.

I think though, whilst the above is true, it is important to recognise that the Bible still emphasises the vital importance of hope and faith. It is what keeps people going, through the hardship and suffering.

And this is what your mother may making a huge effort to cling onto, Larry. So much that she finds the discussions concerning the difficulty of a situation a problem for her. She might not want to be distracted from putting her efforts into focussing on a positive outcome because the alternative might mean she would be overwhelmed and not be able to cope.

I realise this might make things difficult for you. You might crave her acknowledgement and comfort through the difficult situations which cause you to suffer. However I know myself and other people in my life have sometimes felt it absolutely necessary to behave more like your mother. Also it actually often helps a situation, when someone can be positive enough to remain calm, because it allows them enough clarity to take advantage of the opportunities that exist for finding a solution.

Being hopeful and exercising faith does not have to be all about 'quick fixes'. It is what we can do to distract ourselves from hardship, continue to function and not become overwhelmed or so anxious we fall apart.

LarrytheCucumber Wed 01-Mar-17 13:18:41

I think you have made some incorrect assumptions about my relationship with my mother Rock. She is not motherly, and as I said earlier wants me to cheer her up. Normally I don't tell her any troublesome things. Please don't read anything into that. I don't crave her attention. I was just looking for a discussion on the different approaches.
I think Madhairday has summed it up quite well.

Rockpebblestone Wed 01-Mar-17 13:46:53

Sorry for any assumptions, Larry. I made them in the absence of more detailed information. I was careful to present any theories, as to what could be going on, only as a possibility, using words like 'might' etc. I offered my thoughts just in case they were helpful to you. I hope you are not offended and that the thread has helped.

LarrytheCucumber Wed 01-Mar-17 14:32:07

Of course I am not offended! I could see you were trying to help. Thank you.

Rockpebblestone Wed 01-Mar-17 14:38:35

You're welcome, Larry.

picklemepopcorn Thu 02-Mar-17 07:23:33

I believe that prayer changes us. I believe that when we pray we gain insights which improve our understanding of a situation. I believe that we become more patient, discern better, and grow in adversity through prayer. I think we then act in ways which better manage a situation. So for me, most of the benefit of prayer is in a change in me which allows me to cope better and behave better in situations which may improve as a result.

I also believe that occasionally, very occasionally, God intervenes directly and supernaturally.

LarrytheCucumber Thu 02-Mar-17 08:48:35

pickleme definitely agree that prayer changes us and helps us to manage situations better.

PreSchoolDilemma Sat 25-Mar-17 21:58:21

Didn't want to read and run, OP. Just wanted to say I think I get wheee you're coming from with your mum, mine has always been the same. I was always irritated by her blind faith, and I hated it when people said "thy will be done" because I thought that was stupid. As far as I was concerned, if God didn't answer my prayers how I wanted him to, or fast enough, then it was a sign he didn't care or was against me.

But then one day I heard a talk on Malachi. The Israelites were complaining to God that they had a hard life, it wasn't as hard as Job, but it was harder than the non-believers around them, and they felt God was abandoning them because of it. God told them (through a prophet) that he loved them, and they questioned: how? The person giving the talk said "if you distrust God's love then you will distrust his rule". Just like the Israelites were in the book of Malachi.

It changed my perspective. I asked God to help me trust his love. To give me the faith for that. Then I read the bible verses about His love, His will, His rule in my life, and I read it with faith this time. I can honestly say it's changed everything.

When you read the bible, both old and new testaments, you see time and time again, God being very involved with people. We have the edge on them because we know the whole story, but they often didn't. In the case of Job, there was total unawareness of the spiritual battle involved, yet he was able to say "though you slay me yet I will trust in you". I've said that many a time myself, and honestly believed it.

It also then shifted my view on my annoying Mum and her irritating, blind, faith over Every. Single. Thing. Everything! All the time! I realise her faith was immense and now I respect her for it. Funnily enough I don't want to whinge about my lot when life is hard anymore, I want to look to Him through eyes of faith. I may not know all the answers about why I'm suffering, but I know who does know, and he says he has a plan so I trust him and take him at his word. Now I pray I do so with my compass pointing to His Will, not mine. And I trust him for the rest, even if it's uncomfortable and I don't much like it. He knows, he has a plan, I continue to pray and trust.

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