A Prayer for Those For Whom “It Coulda Been Worse”

[Prayer Spark: Illinois tornado victims]

So God,

I’ve gotten lazy again. Not chatting with you much beyond my daily repetition of three Lord’s Prayers or the prayers with my kids on the drive to school or the ones I shoot up, randomly. Thanks for hearing all those. Thanks for being ready to hear me, to grab my random thoughts and worries.

Thanks for seeing my shaking head and rolling eyes as prayers in and of themselves. But today–now, just two days before Thanksgiving–I thought I’d get official about one worry: the folks who last week, not far from here, where I live, as you know–lost their homes or parts of them, lost their neighborhoods or livelihoods in the tornadoes that twisted and tormented Illinois.

God, you know their physical needs. And I ask that you meet them. That you use us to meet them.

But I can’t stop thinking about something else. Because I’ve probably heard now five times someone say about those who lost homes–or whatever–in the tornadoes: “At least you don’t live in the Phillipines! It coulda been worse!”

Be near those hearing this message–either directly or indirectly–because I imagine no matter where you live losing a home is the worst. Whether or not insurance will come through, whether or not communities rally, and friends and family step up, no one suffering in any way needs to be told they’re “lucky.” That they’re not as bad off.

They need to sit in their grief, in their suffering. They need to cry and complain and whine and moan. Not be told, It coulda been worse.

Thank you, God, for being a God who not only acknowledges this. But commands it, who tells us to turn our laughter into morning and our joy into gloom. Thank you for being a God who doesn’t make us compare our suffering to others’, but who acknowledges that we all will have trouble. Period.

Thank you for being a God who lifts us up in our suffering, who has overcome all that trouble. Who offers peace in the midst of all this.

So today, please be near anyone, anywhere facing trouble, suffering, worrying, despairing. Be with those who have lost everything. And those who have lost one thing. Lift them up, overcome. Bring peace.

Amen.

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