We spent an hour and half talking about Jesus. If you are not a Christian, don't stop reading. It's not as much about Christianity (although for me it is of the utmost importance) as of our confidence, that the Higher Power, the God of our understanding, is interested in us and in our successes.
What an unusual thing to talk about with one's shrink!
I came to understand that, a relationship with God is the most important in a person's life. Everything else hinges on it. We might not really have good relationships in our family or success in life, as the world perceives it, but the connection with the Higher Power carries us over those hurdles and gives us a foundation for deeper and more fundamental happiness.
"And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
I am struggling to believe, that God will step in and help me. Why should He? So many people wear out their knees in prayer, and some of them - for a selfish purpose. God seems to arbitrarily grant someone's wishes and ignore the others'. Why should He listen to and help me?
When I was in my early twenties in Moscow, I once met a man at a train station. A tall, prophet-like old man came up to me, leaning heavily on a Moses-like staff, and said: "Can I ask you a couple of questions? What do you think is stronger, good or evil?" This was beyond any "off the wall" questions! You should understand: this was Brezhnev's Russia, at the height of it's militant campaign against religions and spirituality of any kind. Even though I was among those, who entertained an idea that there might be God, and avidly swallowed anything to do with religion, the reality of our life was decidedly outside the realm of such thinking. When, just out of Russia, I came to Italy, I was shocked to see people cross themselves on the street or talk openly about religion.
So, I gaped at the guy for a few seconds, then began to say arrogantly that, evil, sometimes, is stronger. The man softly countered me by quoting some Russian folklore, where it talks about the warmth bending iron and such. My friend came at that time and dragged me away. As I was leaving, I caught a sight of the old man, gazing after me with pain in his eyes.
I only remembered him after I began to witness for my own church in America. I understood that, God was calling to me through him, and he looked like he was suffering because he wanted so much to introduce me to God, - but I left.
Why am I saying this?
Is it God's Will that we be saved? Yes! Does God want to grant our prayers? He does, when the prayers are for the things that will uplift us and bring us closer to HIm. And He thinks not just of us: every person on this green Earth is His child!
So, the prayers are good, but to have even a hope of achieving what we want, we need to be in sync with the Almighty! We need to "take up [our] cross daily and follow" the one whose words I am quoting.
What does it mean? "Cross"? "Follow"?
Each of us has a different cross, or things that we must endure or overcome. If we ignore the proverbial monkeys on our backs, they only gets stronger and more obnoxious. In other words: daily we should work, denying selfish or week impulses, to better our situation and overcome our problems. And following Jesus for me means emulating his attitude and behavior. Did he spend lots of time sitting comfortably on a couch and watching TV? Would he, if there was such thing at his time or did he give up every comfort to come closer to his Heavenly Father and do His Will? That takes not just a noble idea or an impulse, by the way: that takes a character, built day by day to do, what's right!
But I am digressing. The conversation with Mr. P. was not about some lofty ideas. It was about myself. Did I do everything to assure that I was in line with God and Jesus?
And I replied:
"I don't know how to answer this question..."
I don't. I am too jaded and secularized to see things from God's perspective. Why would He help me, when so many... well, I've been over this tirade before!
Mr. P. didn't give up, and slowly I began to understand: I don't need to know all the reasons why God would help me or not. Asking the Higher Power for help means to put the outcome in His hands, and trust that, He, through either doing what I want or not, will help not only me, but anybody that I can touch in my life.
Am I getting my point across?
PUT THE OUTCOME IN THE HIGHER POWER'S HANDS!