Thoughts On God
Do you pray even when things are going well for you?
Call Him What You Will
God is not the name of God, but an opinion about Him.
-Pope Xystus I-
The times that I have been asked whether or not I believe that we all pray to the same God, I have always answered yes. As I’m not an overly religious person, people seem to enjoy asking such questions of me. Due to the fact that I do not appear to follow a certain belief system, is it right for them to assume that I have no faith or a belief in a higher power? If that be the case, than I must not be proud of my country either for I do not fly an American flag.
Yet, proud I am and faith I do have. While I do not attend Mass, I do pray to God even when things are going my way. I call my higher power God because I was raised to call Him that. Had my parents called God “Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich” I would be calling God that. Well, actually, I’d call Him “PBJS” because His whole name would too much of a mouthful.
However, not everyone calls their higher power “God.” Depending on whom you ask, God could be called a number of names. And while I, like many people call God “God” even if you called Him “Uncle Bob,” I believe you and I would be praying to the same man. We are called different names by different people. Why shouldn’t the same go for God?
For me, God is an uncle you see occasionally, usually at funerals, but he’s known to attend birthday parties and graduations too. He’s a busy guy, but he never makes you feel like you’re wasting his time. He doesn’t look at his watch or stop you mid-sentence to answer a phone call. When he talks to you, he makes eye contact. He listens to you and makes you feel comfortable and secure. While he may not agree with everything you say, you know he loves you and that makes his criticism less painful. You enjoy talking to him because he’s been through practically everything, but doesn’t have a single scar. You learn from his experiences. Just looking at this guy you know you’re lucky to be associated with such greatness. However, the time between visits can be large. You resent your uncle for not sticking around to see you through poor test scores, injuries and dying loved ones. You resent him even more when you hear about all of the good things he has done for the people you don’t much care for. Suddenly this man you once loved and respected is the last person you want to talk to or even acknowledge his existence. Yet, because you feel so connected to him, it doesn’t take long for him to be in your good favor the next time you get to see him.
To you, God may be an all powerful being with white hair and a long beard who judges you according to what the Bible says. You view him as a ruler, too high above you for conversation. You lay yourself at his feet, praying for mercy for all of the sins you have committed. To the woman who is one cubicle over from you at work, God may be a mellow teenager covered in peace signs, resembling a hippie. Her best friend may view God as a large, black hole that takes all prayers in and does nothing with them. It doesn’t matter what God looks like to you or what you call God. God is many faces and called by every name, but God is still God.
Considering how many people are in the world and how many admit to praying, it is no wonder that some prayers remain unanswered. I believe God hears all prayers and decides according to where you are in life what prayers to answer and how to precisely answer them. It doesn’t matter what name you use, where you pray, how you pray or how you view God, God can’t answer every prayer. He can’t live your life for you. Try not to take it personally.