Despite the war going on north of here between government and rebels, yesterday was the annual “harvest festival” with its floral parade, traditional dances, and many other activities. Many of us stayed home partly due to the security situation but partly (actually MOSTLY) in order to avoid the crowds. But one friend decided to go and watch the parade and try out her new camera. She was telling me later about the crowds. She said it was a sea of black heads everywhere they went. At one point she said it was so crowded that for 10 minutes they couldn’t move in any direction. She was starting to feel panicky and some people were holding small children up on their shoulders to protect them from the crush of people. She started praying, “O Lord, if there’s a bomb please hold it for for awhile until I can pass by.” Later that evening while reading her Bible and thinking about the day she suddenly thought about the implications of what she had prayed – it was as if she had prayed, “Lord, don’t let any bomb blow up while I’m here, hold it off until I pass – and then it’s okay to blow up all those other people!” She said she was horrified and realized that that was the most selfish prayer she had ever prayed!
We laughed about it because who hasn’ t prayed without thinking in moments of distress? I too have probably prayed similar prayers, never stopping to think how an answer to my prayer might affect others. I guess next time I’m in a questionable security situation the better thing to pray would be, “Oh Lord, if there’s a bomb, please make it be a dud!” 🙂
Update 28 August: It seems that an improvised explosive device was found near a school on the edge of town yesterday. The authorities thought it may have been abandoned there because security was so tight during the festival. My friend thinks God did indeed hear her selfish prayer – but answered in a much better way!