Saturday, November 1, 2014

Did God Fail Me?

Lately I have realized how very quickly life can take a major turn, and without advance notice.  People prayed for me while I was sick, and I recovered.   But sometimes people pray their hearts out, and there is no recovery.   What does that mean?  If I, or anyone else, die before reaching a ripe old age, or ends up with a lesser quality of life than I planned, does that mean God failed me?  Did He not hear the prayers?  Does He not care?

I know of someone whose mother had a major health crisis and was desperately and gravely ill.  This person prayed and prayed and prayed.  His mother died.  He now refuses to acknowledge that there’s a God, and hates Christians.  Did God fail his mother?  Did God fail him?

If you look at God as a genie in a bottle, then I guess sooner or later you’re going to be disappointed.  God is not here to take direction from US.  We are here to take direction from HIM.  He’s not here to please us; we’re here to love, obey and please HIM.   He can get along fine without us, but we’re in trouble without HIM.   I think too often people put themselves at the center of their universe, and expect God to be orbiting around them, answering their prayers just exactly how and when they desire.  In reality it is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of it all who should be (and is) in the center of it all.  He knows best, and we don't always know His reasons.

Every single one of us is assigned a number of days (Job 14:5).  Some of us have many days; some, few.   Our numbers were assigned with a reason and a purpose.  To be mad at God because our days are up is ridiculous.  In the case of the person mentioned earlier, well, his mother was going to have to die at some point.  We all do.  Would there have been any number of days that would have been satisfactory to him?  

What does God owe us?  What do we deserve?  Well, as someone who has known God’s word and deliberately disobeyed (plenty of times, unfortunately), I thank God that I have not gotten what I deserve.  I don’t want what I deserve!  In all fairness, God should throw up his hands in disgust and say, “Fine.  Have it your way.  Good luck.  I’m tired of messing with you.”  Instead of getting what I deserve, I got mercy and grace, and will get the same as I go through the number of days I have left, whatever that may be.

So, God did not, and will not, fail me, no matter what the future holds.  And He won’t  fail you, either.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I was thinking about the way that we react when God commands us to do something.  Specifically, I was looking at how *I* react when God tells me to do something, especially something I'd really rather not do.   Sometimes I'll question if I really understood God correctly, or I'll figure out some way that I can "kind of" obey, while still doing what I want to do.  Sometimes I ask God for an explanation before I can proceed.  Or I'll just put it in the back of my mind and let the distractions of every day life cover it up.  And I realized that, looking at the Bible, I have plenty of company.  For instance -

"Jonah, get up. Pack a bag and head to Ninevah, I have a big job for you."
"But God, they're nasty people."
"I know, that's why I'm sending you there.  You need to tell them all hell's going to break loose if they don't stop it."
(covering his ears and uttering "lalalalalalala"), "Sorry God, I can't hear you... besides, I've already got plans somewhere else."

All this because he didn't like the people of Ninevah, and he wanted to see them get what he thought they had coming.  A bad storm, a near-drowning, and three days in the belly of a fish got his attention.  And then he went ahead and did what God told him to do, something he should have just done in the first place.

At the other end of the spectrum is Ananias, from Acts 9.

"Ananias, get up.  Head over to Straight Street where Saul from Tarsus is hanging out."
"But God, he's killed a bunch of us, and is on a mission to kill some more of us."
"I know, that's why I'm sending you there."

Never did God assure Ananias that he wouldn't be harmed, only that this is what He wanted him to do.  Ananias got up and went, and did as God told him.  He didn't pretend not to hear, or find an excuse to throw obedience out the window.  And look at what happened.  We got the Apostle Paul and a good chunk of the New Testament.

And Ananias didn't have to learn the hard way.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Shootings - My Take

The number of mass shootings in recent years is absolutely alarming. Whether it's at a mall, movie theater, at school or work, it's hard to feel completely safe, and even worse, hard to feel comfortable when your kids and grandkids are out of your protection.  People around the country are demanding tighter gun control, and more help for the mentally ill.  But will this ultimately solve the problem?

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, you just didn't hear widespread calls for gun laws and restrictions, yet I can't remember once during my childhood ever fearing being shot at school, or anywhere else for that matter.   Everyone has their feelings on tighter gun laws, myself included, but I do think that guns are not at the heart of the issue - the real problem is a lack of hope.  People without hope do desperate things.

Life sometimes deals us "hopeless" situations - but those who follow Christ know that there's no such thing as a hopeless situation or a hopeless person.  Even though I grew up in a home where Christ was not part of our lives, society in general provided me with enough general knowledge of Jesus Christ and Christian values that when the tough times came around and I knew I'd done all I could for myself, I still had somewhere else to turn.  Society is different today - "progressive" people shun Christians and Christian values.  My heart aches when I think of kids in tough situations, and they aren't getting the assurance of an Ultimate Love from their schools or their neighborhoods or their grandparents like I did.  And it's easy to see how children without hope grow into adults without hope.  And it's easy to see how adults without hope grab guns and kill people.


Friday, May 30, 2014

He's Always There

I've been a little worried about a doctor appointment I had this morning - not so much worried about the appointment itself, but how I was going to get there.  The last couple of times it was a 6-8 block walk from my parking spot to the office, typically not that big a deal unless you have plantar fasciitis and difficulty walking distances.  I've been saying little prayers for a parking spot within a couple of blocks, and imagine my surprise when I found the closest possible spot open and waiting for me!  In a sea of parked cars, the very best parking place was vacant.  As I was parking, still not quite believing it all, I heard a voice speak to my heart, saying, "My blessings for my people far exceed what they can imagine or ask for."

In everyday ways, God is at work for our best, in ways we can't see.  How many unsuccessful and disappointing job interviews have given way to us getting the perfect job in the perfect time?  Or having numerous obstacles standing in the way of something we really want, only to find something far better on the detour we were forced to take?  Or hearing of people who have gone through unspeakable situations, and come out of them far better than they went into them?  The bad, the good, and the seemingly unimportant things of everyday life are all used by God to bless us, and to build our faith.  We can trust what He's doing, and if it's a difficult situation, we can trust that He'll walk with us through it.  He's there.  He's watching.  And He cares.

How much more will He bless us in our eternal needs?!