Monday, 4 May 2015


God was hanging around in heaven. Having some downtime. He'd just spent a few days helping a rich sports person win the competition trophy, putting plans in place so that a millionaire actor would win an award for pretending to be someone else, had put food on the tables of many affluent families and had helped 134,203 people find missing sets of keys. He'd also helped little Becky Roberts pass her year 8 maths test. 

Sure, it was no 'creating a universe, star, planet, and mankind from scratch', but it was a busy time for God so, as he's known to do, he took a rest. 

He was just sitting down to watch the Derek Christmas special when one of the prayer phones rang. Then another. And another. It wasn't long until thousands of the prayer phones were ringing. 

God decided to ignore it. He thought there must have been a mega-lottery just announced, or perhaps one of the big US sports were having play-offs and one of the games was particularly close. They were always good for prayers. 

The phones didn't stop, God sighed, but, not wanting to get up, let prayer-voice-mail take over. It's not like the people ever cared whether he heard prayers in real time or waited longer. Hell (he always liked thinking that) sometimes he ignored a prayer for over 30 years and it 'came true' coincidentally and he *still* got credit for it. So waiting for an hour whilst he watched TV wasn't going to make a difference. 

Rather than giving up though, more and more prayers joined those already coming in. God looked over to the prayer phones and noticed the new prayers were coming in from all over the world. As much as the Philadelphia Eagles might have supporters across the globe, they didn't get many prayers from Belgium, even the two times they made the Superbowl. 

Obviously something had happened that got world wide attention. He sighed and tried to remember what natural disasters he'd planned for this time of year and nothing came to mind. 

"Gabriel?" God called from his chair. 

Gabriel, who was busy polishing his horn (not a euphemism), stuck his head into God's TV viewing room  "What's up?" 

"Did I send a hurricane somewhere this week?" God asked. 

"Not that I know of"


"No, not one of them either."

Gabriel called to Michael "Michael, can you come here for a sec please?" Gabriel pointed out to God that Michael was looking after the natural disaster schedule this week so he might have a better idea of what was happening. 

"S'up?" Michael said, trying to sound cool. Gabriel always did think Michael was a bit of a try hard, and that only ever got worse since the whole battle with Satan thing. 

"We're just wondering what natural disasters were planned for today."

"Oh, umm...." Michael tried to think, "drought is still going on Australia, but that's nothing new. Can't grow a thing in much of Africa, also standard. What about, nope....oh!" 

Michael paused for dramatic effect but this only served to make their quick-tempered God angry 

"Just tell me, I've had Derek paused for 10 minutes!" God roared. The people of Norwich, UK, raised their eyes to the sky as this resounded as thunder across their city. 

"There was that earthquake." Michael blurted and God exclaimed "OH! That's right. Wow, I set that to happen years ago, it just slipped my mind" 

Michael and Gabriel exchanged identical looks. Was the old man losing it?

"I heard that" God said to neither and both of them.

"Why is it," God asked to no one in particular, "that the humans think that I'm not aware of what happens down on Earth?" 

"Well in their defence, you did forget...." Gabriel began, but stopped quickly when God shot him a look (which was the cause of the lightning over Huntsville, Alabama.) "Carry on..." Gabriel said, sheepishly. 

"As I was saying, why do the humans think I'm not aware of what happens down on Earth? I'm the creator OF ALL THINGS! I scheduled this earthquake about 80 years ago. Why are they praying to me? Of course I know about it! I CAUSED it!" 

"Ah, I think the humans are aware that you know of the earthquake." Raphael said, "I think it's more that they want your help. They want you to save people and find the missing, that kind of thing." 

God took a moment. "So, humans don't think I know this is bad? Or that I won't help them unless they beg for it?"

God sighed, "I guess I better answer some of them. Not all though. I don't want them thinking all prayers get answered. What would that lead to?"

God waved his hand at the prayer phones and about 70% of them went silent. Before anyone could ask, he said "I cancelled all the general prayers, obviously if I wanted to help them all, I wouldn't have planned the damned earthquake to begin with!"

God knew that four of the phones were ringing for the prayers of one family. Their four year old son and brother was trapped under a tree and there was a landslide heading their way. If the didn't get the boy out, they'd all almost certainly die. God decided that was one of the prayers he'd answer. He lifted the tree enough to get the boy's legs out but not enough for the humans to notice and slowed the landslide enough that the family could flee before it got to them.

Two hours later, when they were safe, the family praised God for answering their prayers. 120 of their townsfolk, 7,000 of their fellow citizens, and countless animals died in the earthquake. 

But their boy survived, and that was God showing his love. 

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