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'Unanswered' Prayer And The 'Mystery' Of Suffering

Practically every day we hear such statements as: "If there was a God, He would not allow suffering!" Or perhaps: "God would intervene if He really cared!" Or perhaps: "God won't answer little prayers because He doesn't stop the big things!"

On the other hand we also hear statements such as: "It is not ours to question why God does not answer us!" Or perhaps: "God does not answer our prayers because He does not want to!" Or perhaps: "We do not know why God answers some prayers and not others! It is a mystery!"

The Greater World philosophy makes complete sense of all these issues and shows how these points of view are based upon a lack of proper understanding. To say that these things are the "mysteries of God" and that "we will only know them in another life", is not simply evading the issue but it is also fearfulness and lack of courage or resolution to follow Christ's injunction to seek; seeking entails effort and a certain amount of suffering as well but those who seek will eventually find.

From God We Came And To God We Return

Firstly, we must consider that the spirit within (which is 'covered' with a soul-body) is very, very 'old'. The indwelling spirit has existed long before taking on a body of flesh upon the earth plane of existence (please note that this does not refer to so-named recurring earthly 're-incarnation', as this is not a teaching held within the original Greater World philosophy).

Unfortunately, the earnest 'Biblical literalist' may, in wishing to do aright, take spiritual parables literally. Thus, Genesis creation is seen as literal in every instance, and it is believed that there really was no life until God put one man and one woman on this Earth (Adam and Eve). However, while there are cases in Genesis to be taken literally, there are instances which are parables and should not be taken literally.

The neo-Darwinian evolutionists, however, will perhaps try to convince us that we are 'accidents' or 'coincidental occurrences', and that we merely exist today as results of the law of 'the survival of the fittest'.

And between these two areas of thought, very little option is given for any other type of explanation.

However, the Greater World philosophy tells us that we came from God as individuals and that in essence we are made of Spirit. It is somewhat strange that the theological dogmatists - who quite literally believe that mankind started on Earth from Adam and Eve - fail to grasp the deeper meaning of this because the Bible clearly tells them that man is 'made in the image of God' and that 'God is Spirit'.

However, in order to gain the necessary experience to use the perfect qualities of which we are made in essence (Spirit), we have been travelling on a long journey through countless states of existence using the soul to assimilate experiences, and this earth-plane is but one of these states of existence. When the spiritual 'silver chord' attaching the soul to the human body is finally severed, the body returns to soulless physical particles and the spirit continues its journey back to God: "If 'ere the silver chord is loosed...they shall return to the dust of the earth, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:6,7).

'Freewill' Can Never Be 'Conditioned-Will'

Secondly, we must consider that God has given the individual spirit the gift of freewill and therefore He does not interfere with what He has given. God does not interfere with the individual's ability to think freely with individuality, and therefore make choices. He does not stop an individual from being an individual and using the gift of freewill which He has given. Although a poor and inadequate example, this would be something akin to a parent giving a bicycle to his child without any wheels.

Freewill, of course, is for a much greater purpose. It is a gift to be used to learn how to choose to do right. It would be positively wrong to 'interfere' with such a sacred gift, which will bring to the individual untold and unthought of happiness when it is used as originally intended.

The Physical Mind Does Not Always Think Like The Spiritual Mind

Thirdly, God wants to help the individual spirit in every way because it is His child. He therefore allows the inner spirit to choose its experiences which it knows will bring it the greatest gain for life in the Spirit. The individual spirit knows what is required for itself and chooses the necessary experiences and tests it needs to become fuller and richer in Spirit.

The individual spirit has chosen what experiences and tests it will undergo on this Earth. Whether these tests are met and overcome is a different matter. If they are not overcome here, they must be dealt with elsewhere, which is why the spirit was eager to come here for whatever reason or reasons. Sometimes the spirit comes in order to provide essential experiences for others going through their earthly sojourn.

Sometimes people pray that an innocent child might be relieved of its burdens and it seems that the prayers go unanswered. But the prayers are not going unanswered at all. No prayer for another is ever wasted; it is power for that spirit which is used to that spirit's advantage. But if the spirit has chosen that experience for its own progress, how can God 'please' the physical minds praying for the removal of that experience from the brave individual spirit, and at the same time give the brave individual spirit the same experience that it desires more than any earthly desire? Indeed, sometimes God cannot bear to see His child suffering so, and He longs to step in and take on the burden for His beloved, but if we could hear the courageous spirit begging God not to remove the experience, then we would begin to understand something of suffering.

It is also a denial of God's love to think that He is not interested in what may appear to be 'trivialities'. God is interested in small and great things alike. He is our Father and He cares and attends to our needs in every little detail. It is just that sometimes we need to have patience to wait and see what God has made of our desires. Anything that has a minute fragment of God in it is saved and preserved, and when we are in Another World we will see that thought which we perhaps we had forgotten and what it has created for us for all time.

One Family Affected By The Actions Of Siblings

Fourthly, because the spirit has lived before, there has been the abuse of the freewill collectively too. This has had the effect of unhealthy consequences overflowing into other conditions of being. The brave spirit may choose to be 'born' into those conditions which are not congenial and which have been created by others. This is why it would seem that the innocent suffer through no fault of their own. This is true in one respect, but it cannot detract from the fact that the individual spirit has chosen to take on those conditions out of love for God.

God Works With The Desires Of The Individual Spirit

Finally perhaps, we must remember the love of God for His children. If a spirit is really brave, it desperately wants to free itself from the lesser desires of the soul, so that it can not only be closer to God in the Spirit World but can also be purer and therefore better able to serve Him (this is because the spirit knows that the only real happiness is helping God's children because God finds His happiness in the happiness of His immense Creation). So sometimes the brave spirit chooses tests and conditions which make many others reel with disbelief. Sometimes the brave spirit undergoes, by choice, some of the most difficult and painful experiences it can bring to itself in order to purify itself and be able to achieve greater things for God.

Prayer is a real thing which creates real power. The mistake of those who think that prayers are "not answered", is to mix up their own desires with the desires belonging to the spirit of the person they pray for. God hears every prayer and makes use of the power created by prayer for the use of the spirit being prayed for - to help that spirit in its inner desires in a spiritual sense. God makes use of the love created by His children; and prayer power can be saved because anything created with love never dies because love is the only real thing which lasts.

Therefore it is better for the true well-being of the spirit to receive prayers than not to receive prayers. God hears the prayer but sometimes the spirit, even as the prayer is given, pleads with God not to take away the earthly burden (and the essential experience it brings), which it so sorely desires to carry.

When we pass into the Better Land, our deep reverence will largely go out to those who had obscure lives on Earth - who led patient, unresentful and humble lives, who toiled on under the burdens they had chosen to carry during their time on Earth, those who took the hard and dreary road because it was literally the Road to Love.

This, in part, explains suffering - the combination of the collective effects of the abuse of freewill and the use of this adversity by courageous spirits desiring to know and understand more about God and love. For God knows more about suffering than any spirit will ever know because Pure Love is willing to suffer unconditionally.

If a spirit has chosen such a path for the love of God, why then should God intervene with what the individual spirit desires with all its being? True it is, there are occasions when God cannot bear to see the individual spirit suffer any more and He steps in and gives the pilgrim spirit a well-earned rest by taking the burdens upon Himself. This is of course exemplified in the Great Example.

And we must not forget either, that God suffers with all of His suffering children. God suffers in a way we cannot understand; one who has loved has had a portion of understanding poured into their mind, for as long as the loved one suffers so they suffer in turn; as long as the loved one remains in chains so there is no liberty for them. That is perhaps the 'mystery' we should contemplate instead of denying God's love for us through teachings such as: "Why God allows suffering is a mystery!" or "God does not care or answer prayer!"

Also See:

Prayer and Praying

Tony Bisson
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