Sunday, December 16, 2012

Does God intervene in our lives?

Conversation taken from The Matrix.

The Oracle: I'd ask you to sit down, but you're not going to anyway. And don't worry about the vase.
Neo: What vase? [Neo knocks a vase to the floor]
The Oracle: That vase.
Neo: I'm sorry.
The Oracle: I said don't worry about it. I'll get one of my kids to fix it.
Neo: How did you know?
The Oracle: What's really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn't said anything.

It’s a common question: why do bad things happen to good people. The flip side of that question asks Why do good things happen to bad people? Of course, people don’t want to come right out and say that but they are thinking it. You think it too. It’s the underlying meaning behind questions such as, “Why do I kick my ass to get ahead and stay broke and people who do nothing succeed and get all the money?”

But behind all those smaller questions is the really big question. Does God intervene in our lives? For those who pray and offer up our praises to the Lord and Savior, Creator and Redeemer…we can’t help but ask…does it even matter if it isn’t going to stop the bad things from happening to us?

Of course, there is that awesome subject of free will that Christians fall back on when trying to explain why bad things happen to good people. Yet, it doesn’t answer the question though, does it? We still walk away from that conversation feeling confused, maybe empty, maybe depressed, but still with unanswered questions.

Does God make things happen in our world? If He does is it only sometimes? If so, why not all the time? I don’t believe that the God I love will point His finger and stake one place as being ‘safe’ from harm (take the hurricanes or the most recent mass shooting in Conn, for example.) Were these places less good or less Christian than another? I can’t accept that and yet people all over the place say, “well, God was taken out of schools” or “that place was full of lust and sin.” No. I refuse to accept that.

When my mother in law was dying, I witnessed people who I know were very strong in their faith pray day and night over her, asking God to allow her to be healed. I mean, why not? Healing occurred in the bible, why not then and with her? She was one of the most passionate for Christ woman I know to this day. Why didn’t he heal her? Was it because one of us might have sinned on the way to the hospital that day? Maybe we said a swear word? Maybe we doubted God for a second? Again, these are things I just cannot accept.  Nowhere in my love and trust of the Lord God and Savior Jesus do I believe that one action or one thought can reverse an intervention They were minutes or seconds away from doing. That is just ridiculous.

A statement I hate is “God had other plans for me, them, her, ect.” God doesn’t make your plans for you. God doesn’t say, “Oh well, I can’t have you being a teacher when I want you to be a nurse.” Or “Well, I wanted to be a veterinarian but then I got pregnant and realized God had other plans for my life.” Um, no…you slept with someone and got pregnant and whether you want to work harder to obtain your goals or not has nothing to do with God. Or, the popular ones, “Well, I wanted to play the piano but then I lost my hand. God must have had other plans for me.” These things are not of God’s hand. It is just life and you know what…life happens! Oh and that cartoon...about the little child asking her parent why God didn't stop the shooting and the parent saying, "how can God help, he's not allowed in schools."  Thats just ridiculous. Taking prayer out of schools didn't take God out of schools. My kids go to school everyday and they know God and they pray to God. Does that mean they aren't ever going to experience bad stuff? No! God doesn't point his finger and say..."they don't look like good praying people...or they don't pray enough to me so anything and everything can happen there!" Ugh!

I believe in prayer. I believe in telling God the things I long for. That doesn’t mean I’m going to get everything I want.  Yeah, throw that notable quote “ask and ye shall receive” at me. I can pray until I’m blue in the face that I’m gonna win the powerball every week until I die; doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. So what does that quote mean?

And by all means, realize that this is all my opinion and who knows I could be terribly terribly wrong at it all. (Shrugging) You are supposed to discern through things. Think about it, roll it around in your heart, your spirit, and decide how much of it YOU want to accept. That is all we can ever do. No matter how much people tell you, no matter the evidence they give you, you choose what to believe and how much of it to accept as truth. Or not.

If you were to read the previous 6 verses of Matthew before reaching “Ask and you shall receive” you would know that the chapter is Jesus warning his disciples to not be judgmental and instead to be spiritually discerning. (Yep, there is that word again.) So of course the big question the disciples would ask is “How can we avoid judging and how do we cultivate a sensitivity to discern all things?” THEN WE READ…ask and you shall receive.  God isn’t giving us a ‘blank check’ mentality where we ask for whatever we want and we get it. Instead the bible stresses that we should strive in prayer for wisdom and discernment in all things. Then verses 7-11 say that we should continue to ask in faith through prayer without doubting and to put to use the things God has given us to obtain that which we desire. If you ask for a 2013 Dodge Charger and you come out of this with a 1997 Honda Accord…use what you have been given to get what you want. You have been given the means and through wisdom and discernment you can continue to strive for what you want.

In my case, I prayed that my mother in law be healed so the family could stay together, happy and healthy. I didn’t get that. Instead, I got closer relationships with other family members through the trials of unhappiness, confusion, and loneliness. I also got a mental breakdown due to the ongoing depression. But through that I found pieces of myself I had never uncovered and that led me to a greater relationship with my mother in law because now I could really understand her behaviors and actions for what they had been while she was alive.

Does God intervene? Yes. I believe he does but it isn’t in a physical sense. God intervenes in the emotional and mental sense. When we pray to him, earnestly and we are willing to listen we are moved by our spirit in ways we might not understand or even expect. But through all our trials and sufferings, and through all our greatest moments even…if we allow Him to, we can be moved and changed in ways our lives never would have accepted or considered for ourselves.

There is no words of solace during tragedies, especially in the wake of the shootings recently. Will God intervene in the lives of the survivors and the families of the lost? I say absolutely. Whether they pray to the Lord God or Savior Jesus or whether not, their lives are forever changed. It was not a lack of God that such an event happened. It wasn’t because they didn’t pray in school or because someone was more evil or less good. It rains on the just and the unjust. Good things happen to good people and bad people. Bad things happen to good people and bad people. Evil exists because we are able to choose. And it is such a tragic and unfortunate thing that the choice of one person caused so many innocent lives to be lost. It is my believe that those who cling to the trust and love of God will experience the intervention I spoke of. Perhaps they already have. Perhaps they will not until feel the effects of His intervention until years later. But as long as God dwells within their hearts, spirits, and souls…they will have the blessed assurance that God is already intervening on their behalf.

For those who don’t have accept the Lord God, I believe He is intervening on their behalf as well. Only such an intervention can not be fully recognized unless their eyes are opened to the possibility. I don’t condone those who do not accept Christ. I do not pray less for them. I do not ache any less for their personal suffering because they are no more or less a person as I am. They hurt the same as the others who have suffered and/or lost. I may actually say an added portion in my prayer for them because those who do not have God to fall back on…well, just as Jesus ached more for the lost than he did the saved, I ache more for those who do not have such a comfort as the Lord to fall back on. 

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