I suspect every religion from the beginning of time is an attempt to control the uncontrollable. The "fates" if you will.
The pagan religions had incantations and rituals to ward off sickness, or cause the crops to grow, or cause success in battle.
Modern pagan man rejects religion, but looks to science, medicine or ingenuity, for success, and prosperity, and health.
In my experience Christians fall into this as well. Much of the prayer that I have observed, and practiced myself, is a laundry list of requests. Most of it is that life would be easy, and prosperous and healthy. No problems. No sickness. No inconvenience. The American Dream with a religious veneer.
From my viewpoint, a lot of religion looks like Aladdin and his magic lamp. Even Christianity. I have the lamp. I do certain things. My every wish should be granted.
Our experience is otherwise. I will quote pastor Rick Warren:
"People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me...
I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.
We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into an other one.
The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.
God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer...
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness -'which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.
It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.
You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life."
Today's reading ends with these wonderful words:
22 -23 God spoke to Moses: "Tell Aaron and his sons, This is how you are to bless the People of Israel. Say to them,
24 God bless you and keep you,
25 God smile on you and gift you,
26 God look you full in the face and make you prosper.
27 In so doing, they will place my name on the People of Israel—
I will confirm it by blessing them." (Numbers 6:22-27)