I don't know if you come here often or at all but I feel closest to you right here so I figured here would be the best place to start. Jesus taught his disciples to pray much like my grandmother taught me. I learned to pray at the banks of her feet, weeping joy that I was never starving, never cold and never without the bare necessities. It was at the foot of my grandmother's bed that I learned to be a disciple of Christ instead of a nuisance. But now I come to you willing trade all my gifts, fortunes and blessings for even just a chance to ask a question. You know I've always struggled with knowing what I want when I've had so much of what I needed but today is a day unlike any other. Today I come to you as a far cry from the little girl on the edge of her grandmother's bed with her hands clasped and her eyes squeezed shut.
I have arrived at the foot of your son's cross unaware of the spectacle before me, hinged by my own tangled fray. I have my hands open waiting for an extra blessing to fall off of your high table somewhere in the clouds. I'm waiting at your white gates with a notepad to plead my case, not one moment above knocking Peter out of the way to get to you. I come to you with the bleeding wings of angels that have sacrificed their spot in heaven for me. It is at this very moment, I need you. I am begging you to take me instead, to let me take his place. In my bag, I have all the offerings to convince you my plan will work. I have a flushed liver, cherry red intestines and a bladder that works more than I need it to. I need none of those things and for all you've given me, for all he's done for me, I will gladly hand them over.
How much do you need? Do you need my ability to write too? I will scribe the names of Katrina's victims, of every slave to get lost in the Middle passage, the name of every Chinese citizen in the Nanking horror and the names of all 9/11 victims if you will just hear what I have to say. I wondered for a long time how you could watch your son get betrayed and slaughtered. Higher purpose or not, as a parent, no purpose seems greater than our instinctual habit to protect. But I figured, you must know what you're doing. So tell me, please explain to me, what you're doing here. What purpose does this aching serve? What sacrifice is so great that it must deny the sacrifices already made? Tell me why this week I have come to understand that as a parent, we spend our lives preparing our children to live without us but as a child, when that day comes, we can never be prepared.
I'm asking with a heavy heart if you've noticed that his cross is not his alone to bear. Don't you see us stuck beside him hanging by the nails of an unknown force bleeding from the flesh between our ribs, crying from the heart underneath? Don't you see us there tired from the walk to Calvary, feeling betrayed by the people who were supposed to love us most, feeling like someone let the devil in? I just want to know God, if I am to ever ask you for anything, can it be this? Can I lay beside you so you can see that I cannot sleep? Can I sit at your dinner table so that you can see that I cannot eat? Can you kneel beside me at the foot of my grandmother's bed and pray with me? Who do you turn to when there's nowhere to turn? Please tell me, please answer me this once.
If you can take us out of this hell, I promise I won't need heaven. And for the life of me, I can't understand why you need so many angels. Don't you see the war is here on Earth? Just don't leave me behind. Don't leave me at the foot of this bed, don't leave me at the foot of this cross. Don't leave me here in this conversation with my hands clasped so tightly that the sun's rays couldn't even peek through the cracks.
I want to pray on his behalf. I want you to forgive him for me and I want you to let him fight. I want you to walk the devil out. And I want you to forgive me in advance for being angry with you, for wondering where exactly you are, for wondering if Heaven is secretly behind the walls I've been banging on. You said that the kingdom of heaven will be ours, that "the days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength, labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away." I just want the time you promised us.
Forgive me. Heavenly father, as I come to you with with questions, I am seeking comfort. I am here offering myself and other secular fancies in an exchange for your divine intervention. Lord, I trust you but the devil found his way here and I need you to let me borrow some strength to fight this battle. I know you wouldn't give me anything more than I can bear but I think there's been some miscommunication on what I can handle. I'm tired and you know this. You know that my heart is heavy with worry and I ask that you heal those cracks for me. I'm asking that you lay your hands on mine, that you touch me with your protection Lord. I'm asking that you rest your sword on the back of my neck and remind the devil that you will never leave my side. God, I'm asking you to hold my family in your hands this week. We're finally all in the same place coming from years of being lost and I ask that you forgive us for that. I ask that you save us some of your glory and that you find the time to send some peace our way. Hold us in the palm of your hands Lord and keep us safe. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
Your daughter. But his daughter too.