Saturday, 04 December 2021

In times of crisis, you can cry to God

IN the early days of the pandemic, I read this heartbreaking story:

“A resident at a Michigan nursing home who had tested positive for covid-19 pleaded with her Amazon Alexa device to help her cope with her pain before dying alone, recordings have revealed.

“Lou Ann Dagen, 66, asked the device for help nearly 40 times, according to the recordings given by her sister to local station WOOD-TV.

“‘Alexa, help me,’ Dagen is heard saying. ‘Can you help me cope with the pain? Oh, Alexa, I’m going to hurt’.”

In times of crisis, all of us instinctively want to cry out to someone: someone higher than us; someone who cares; someone who will listen.

It was said that in the trenches during the First World War even the most ardent atheists admitted to praying and most of us will have caught ourselves calling out to… well, to something or someone… at a time of crisis, even if we have no strong religious belief.

Tragically, for Lou Ann, all that lies behind the flashing blue light of Alexa are a series of clever algorithms programmed by an army of Amazon technicians who neither know, nor care.

Contrast that with some of the best known verses in the Bible, spoken by Jesus: “This then is how you should pray: Our Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:9)

The words that follow are what we now know as the Lord’s Prayer, where Jesus teaches his followers how to pray.

However, in the opening words, Jesus indicates that the key to prayer is not a “how to” technique but to know who you are praying to.

Jesus assures his followers that there is a God who is higher than us, who cares and who will listen. He is “Our Father in Heaven”.

Through his death on the cross, Jesus would open the way for all who trust him to be forgiven and welcomed into God’s family. All who trust Jesus can therefore know God in the same way Jesus did: as children of a perfect Heavenly Father.

Not all of us have had positive experiences of fatherhood but God is a Father who delights to hear from his children and is tenderly committed to them.

Not only so, but being “in heaven”, he is also the king of the universe, possessing all authority and all wisdom. Here is a Father who is so for us that he gave his Son to bring us back into his family and invites us to trust him with all our cares and concerns to him.

In times of crisis, all of us instinctively want to cry out to someone. The good news is that there is a God to cry out to, and if you put your own trust in Jesus, you can get to know him as your perfectly Heavenly Father too.

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