Of Course, It Is Reasonable (Step Eleven continued)

Of course, it is reasonable and understandable that the question is often asked:  “Why can’t we take a specific and troubling dilemma straight to God, and in prayer secure from Him sure and definite answers to our requests?”

This can be done, but it has hazards.  We have seen A.A.’s ask with much earnestness and faith for God’s explicit guidance on matters ranging all the way from a shattering domestic or financial crisis to correcting a minor personal fault, like tardiness.  Quite often, however, the thoughts that seem to come from God are not answers at all.  They prove to be well-intentioned unconscious rationalizations.  The A.A., or indeed any man, who tries to run his life rigidly by this kind of prayer, by this self-serving demand of God for replies, is a particularly disconcerting individual.  To any questioning or criticism of his actions he instantly proffers his reliance upon prayer for guidance in all matters great or small.  He may have forgotten the possibility that his own wishful thinking and the human tendency to rationalize have distorted his so-called guidance. With the best of intentions, he tends to force his own will into all sorts of situations and problems with the comfortable assurance that he is acting under God’s specific direction.  Under such an illusion, he can of course create great havoc without in the least intending it.

Thankfully I have not met many people in AA who are like this.  Or if I have, they have hidden it from me sufficiently not to bother me much.  It reminds me of a certain kind of political or religious conservatism that I cannot tolerate.  It’s what I think of first when I know that I have to increase my tolerance in general.

I don’t know if any human being actually gets specific answers to specific questions right from God.  I don’t, and I don’t know what that would look like.  I’m more inclined to think that if people who I consider to be “good” people, and especially the people of AA, are pretty unanimous in telling me something specific, they are probably right.  That’s what I would call God working through people.

Even so, I can imagine at times that groups of people, AA or not, are so influenced by times or events or circumstances that they can, as a group, be wrong.

To my understanding, I will not get definite answers to specific requests.  It’s that complicated, and that simple.

One thought on “Of Course, It Is Reasonable (Step Eleven continued)

  1. I think that God works on his own terms and with a much longer term perspective than anything we could ever have. That’s what the 11th Step Prayer is all about. He’s never late, but having said that, He works on his own schedule. Sometimes he says yes, somethings he says no, and sometimes he says “You gotta be kidding!” Have a good weekend!!

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