DayBreaks for 6/11/20: The God who Never Answers Prayers
From the DayBreaks archive, June 2010:
This past Saturday, we had a Celebration of Life service for one of the godliest and most grace-filled women I’ve ever had the chance to meet. She’d been a faithful member of our congregation for a number of years before she finally lost her struggle to cancer. It wasn’t her first bout with that enemy – I know she’d fought and defeated it at least twice before it rose up too strong to be overcome. It was a wonderful celebration we had – this woman was truly a saint and it showed through those her life had touched. It was a celebration – but also a reminder that there is an enemy named death.
In Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the Underworld, the god of the Dead, was the most hated of all the immortal beings because he was held to be the only god who never answered prayer. Never.
The exception that proves the rule is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus was the greatest of mortal musicians. When his beloved wife, Eurydice, died, he simply could not accept the finality of that loss. So he took his harp and journeyed to the Underworld where he played so beautifully, sang so poignantly of grief and sorrow, that tears of molten iron ran down the normally immovable face of Hades, and for the only time ever recorded, he relented. Eurydice would be permitted to follow Orpheus back into the world of the living, the world of the sun. But he must not look behind him until they had both safely emerged from the darkness of Hades’ realm back into the sunlight.
So imagine Orpheus’ feelings as he begins the long walk by himself through the dark tunnel. He sees the small point of light at the end, and he begins to hear faint footsteps, growing ever louder and more solid, as Eurydice begins to resume physical form and follow behind him. He desperately wants to look backwards and see her again, to confirm that it is her footsteps that he hears approaching behind him! But he dare not.
At the point where they only had one more step to go before Orpheus’ quest to regain Eurydice would be completed, at that instant when one more step would mean his goal would have been achieved and her life would have been snatched back from stone-faced Hades, at that moment she stumbles against a stone and cries out in pain, and by instinct, without thinking, he turns to catch her and keep her from falling. But he has broken the ban, he has violated the requirement, he has transgressed the taboo. And so he turns only to see her for one intolerably heartbreaking moment reaching for him as she evaporates and fades back into the mist, forever lost in the darkness.
Perhaps the hardest thing about Death to accept is that impenetrable wall brutishly erected across your path, that steel door slammed in your face. It simply doesn’t matter how important and essential the departed loved one has been to your life, you aren’t getting him back. That is what makes it the great and final Enemy: “The last enemy to be defeated is death” (1 Cor. 15:26).
And that is what Jesus overcame not just by his own resurrection, but by raising Lazarus and the son of the widow from Nain! Should it be any wonder to us that the people were filled with terror and awe when the dead man sat up and began to speak?!
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out–those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. – John 5:28-29 This is the last, great and final hope of Christianity – that the stone wall will be shattered, that the steel door will be destroyed…and so we shall be forever with the Lord!
We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
PRAYER: I thank You that YOU are a God who hears the prayers of those who cry out to You, and that You will one day answer even our prayers to see and be with Your saints of all ages once again! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>