“The life I am leading is like a roller coaster” says my dad as we drive to the local theme park. When I was a kid I loved roller coasters. When summer came around and I was free from school, my friend and I would get season passes to a local theme park. Our parents would then drive us to a world filled with fried food, expensive games and long lines. But to us, it was a piece of heaven. The fastest and tallest roller coasters would hurl us through the air at ridiculous speeds, taking many twists and turns. One of my favorite rides was over water. The ride would plummet you towards the lake and then through an underwater tunnel before shooting you out of the water into the first upside down loop. Then about 20 seconds later the ride would return back to the starting location.
I get it. I now understand what adults meant when they said, “life is like a roller coaster.” The circumstances of life take you on twists and turns only to return you to your starting point. This phrase describes my life. It seems that at every turn, at every victory, there is also defeat. My mind battles horrible memories, doubt, voices from every angle, opinions of powerful people and my own insecurities. And in the middle of all this, I am wrestling with God.
What am I wrestling with?
I am wrestling with the idea of prayer and its effectiveness in the world. Not just the world, but the success of it in my own life and the people’s lives around me. Why do all these crazy difficult things happen when I’m praying about them? How much prayer do I need to pour into a topic in order to see a change?
In order to follow my arguments, you should know a couple things about me. First, I grew up in a Christian household. I went to church every Sunday and youth group every Wednesday night. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 5 years old, I did it twice just to make sure He heard me.
Second, I knew the Bible. I went to a Christian school in I had to memorize Scripture verses every week. I said a prayer before every meal and before bedtime. I did all the right things and knew all the right answers.
Third, my Christian bubble was intact. My family was loving and caring, and although they weren’t perfect, I had a good childhood. I checked the box of a “good” Christian kid. What this didn’t prepare me for, was difficulty. Not just difficulty with school or getting a job. But actual difficulty of unanswered prayers, grief and true heartache.
To be honest I didn’t have to face any of this until the last 6 years of my life. And although the last 6 years propelled me into an incredible journey with God, it also pushed me into the place I am now. Wrestling and fighting to keep moving. How do I trust a God that would allow bad things to happen?
Questions without Answers
Here’s where I end. Not with an answer, but with a question. Can I trust God and does God answer prayer? In my heart and what I feel in the depths of me is “yes”. But my mind and my rational thinking is telling me otherwise. What I do know, is that I won’t stop diving into God and into community. These two things have kept me and held me through good times and bad.
My challenge to my myself and the reader: If your struggling with questions, ask them with the intent to dive deeper into who God is.
Jason LaLone was on staff at YWAM Brisbane and is currently in America working with Truro Anglican Church located in Fairfax, Virginia. He is passionate about discipleship, taking Jesus’ command to make disciples a practical reality that he can live on a daily basis. He loves lasagna, cats and used to dislike Monday's, making him most like Garfield.
Jason LaLone’s previous articles might be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/Jason-LaLone.html