Gracia Burnham: 'I Speak My Mind'
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In your book, you talk about how you struggled with prayer. You say you ended up praying for a hamburger because you just couldn't bring yourself to pray for release any more. And then you got the hamburger. How did that affect your spirituality?
That's when I finally realized that I didn't understand God. I was never going to understand. Why would he send me a hamburger and not release me? And I just realized you can't tell God what to do. God's not obligated to me.
I look back on some of my diary entries and—oh, my—railing on God. "I've been here eight and a half months. I've tried to be a good hostage. How could you be doing this still? You're pleased to keep me here." When the hamburgers came, I realized God can answer a prayer if he wants to, but he's under no obligation. Prayer isn't a magic wand that you wave and get what you want. God's got a plan, and he's going to carry it out. He sent a hamburger to show I'm still here and I'm with you and I'm for you.
I think that's probably when I started thinking that we maybe wouldn't get out. He answered this prayer so neatly and we were still there, and I started thinking "Well, we're just not going to get out of here, and that's God's plan."
But when you started to tell Martin good-bye, he said, "I'm not sure this is a healthy thing for us to be doing."
There was one instance that I officially just sat him down, made him look at me in the eyes, said good-bye to him. I needed to do that because I didn't want him to die and me be left [without saying] bye. And I didn't want me to die [without hearing] good-bye.
Martin had such a good sense of humor; he didn't make me feel stupid. He just let me know "this is a truly weird thing you're doing." ...