Sometimes it is hard to become a fan of God’s decisions. We don’t always understand them, especially when bad things happen. There are those times when something that you really wanted went to someone else, but the in the end you can see how you are better off without it. There are a whole lot of situations in life that just don’t make sense, no matter how you look.
Thomas a Kempis makes it simple for us. He writes: “It is best if we accept God’s decisions without complaint. Do not ask him to defend his actions, or to explain why one person is favored and another seems slighted. The answers to those questions go far beyond our comprehension”. This is true, but it’s hard to get to this place. It is a place of great confidence in God.
I believe that is why Jesus taught us to pray “Hallowed Be Your Name.” For our prayers to make any sense, we must come to a realization that God is above all thinking and reasoning. We must make room for an awareness for the utterly amazing quality of the God we are praying to. We must make room in our prayers for the reality that God is holy in a way that we are not. We must allow for our finite focus as we come to God in prayer without understanding why so many things can be so wrong.
The angels get it. Revelation 16:5-7 says, “And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, ‘Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!’ And I heard the altar saying, ‘Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!’” This may seem harsh for angels to say since they are messengers of some of the worst suffering that the human race has ever heard of. Yet, they see the justice in the decisions of God. The angels are a little holier than we are, so this kind of thing makes sense to them. They see the suffering we humans go through, yet they see the justice of God’s actions as making all things right.
That’s when a phrase like, “Hallowed be Your Name” makes most sense. After all, what else could you say? Sooner or later we get to the place of faith where we understand, like the saints of old, that God’s decisions are right even if they cannot be reasoned out by a finite human brain. The faith of saints and angels is the kind of faith that makes sense only when accompanied by our acknowledgment of a hallowedness to the nature of God. When we pray “Hallowed be Your Name,” we are praying higher than our minds can conceive.
Julian of Norwich phrased it this way: “For by the great deed that our Lord shall do He shall save His word in all things and He shall make well all that is not well—though how it shall be done no creature below Christ knows or shall know until it is done.”[i]
God’s actions in this world call us to us to place a holy trust in His goodness in spite of so many realities that might cause us to think otherwise. He loves us intimately, like a Father—our Father, yet He deserves the respect and honor of one who is hallowed. As we accept His intimate love for us, we can accept that all the questions we have about Him arise from a misunderstanding of His holy nature.