When you are getting to know someone too good to be true, you have questions. You acknowledge their greatness. You ask them for help. You acknowledge your weakness.
Then, after all that, as you are starting to relax a bit, you are suddenly seized with fear. What if they aren’t going to stick around? What if they aren’t going to follow through? What is they are going to be like everyone else we have ever known in our lives who sometime, someday, doesn’t come through?
We get so used to people who don’t keep their word, who let us down. We are familiar with the feeling of betrayal, of abandonment, of disappointment. We watch every leader we know prove to be human, at best.
And so, having made all our requests known, we stop and we say
- “Don’t lead us into temptation.”
- “Do deliver us from evil.”
God, please don’t bring us this far and leave us. Don’t bring us through the week and into the weekend and then leave us alone, facing temptation.
Don’t do to us what you did to your own son.
There it is.
We want to be able to trust God but we somehow can’t. We look at what happens to people who follow him, who even are Him, and what we see undermines what we think should happen.
Jesus was led into the desert to be tempted by the devil. By the Spirit. Just two chapters ago. And Jesus survived the direct testing. Now he says, “Ask the Father not to do the first part with you, and to just do the second part.”
Maybe we don’t have to understand the theology to say these words. Maybe we just have to give voice to our fears.