When your spirit feels stripped, when your foundation is rocked, when you watch your friend’s lives being torn in half like a giant bed sheet, you begin to wonder about this God – the one that you have never not known, the one that you have sung about since you can remember, the one that you have prayed to as naturally as breathing. And when the doubts and questions and anger start creeping in, it’s hard to think straight. It’s hard to remember what you know to be true. It’s hard to believe.
Over the past few days, I have seen everything – everything – through the lens of Ben Towne. Every conversation, every observation, every thought and attempt at prayer – everything has been colored by this bulldozer called cancer. How are we supposed to pray? What are we supposed to ask for? What is really true? What do I believe?
And in this dark and rocky time, I have fallen back on one prayer – the only prayer that I currently know to pray, the one that I’ve never had to memorize because I’ve always known it.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Over and over, like a mantra, this prayer has been pumping through my veins. This is a prayer straight from Jesus’ lips – the way that he taught us to pray – and at this point, it’s the only thing I know. As my friends are living their absolute worst nightmare, I am offering this prayer with every breath.
Thy will be done. But also, deliver us from evil.
I am praying for both. And I don’t know what else to pray for – except for time. As much time as God will give them.
I believe that God is love. I believe that this world is broken. I believe that we were not made for pain and death – and that’s why it hurts so badly. I believe that there will come a day when creation is restored and renewed and redeemed. I believe that, in the grand scheme of eternity, our lives are a flash in the pan. I believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And I believe that God loves Ben, and God loves the Towne family, and that he sees them and has not abandoned them, and that none of this is a mystery to him. I have to believe that.