So, there’s so much that could be said concerning the mind-boggling complexity of why our prayers are and are not answered.  So many variables and such a vast amount of possibilities that our finite minds simply cannot comprehend; not only can we not comprehend such; we don’t even have the information available to begin to process answers.  Such simply is not revealed.
So what do we know?  We know that God loves us.  We know that the person of God, according to Scripture, is fully revealed in the person of Jesus Christ (Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:3). And we know that at the end of the day God wants what’s best for us. With this being said, allow me to leave you with three things to think about.
First, when we see pain and drama come tumbling into someone’s life, remember there is no perfect thing to say that can make sense of things.  We had a friend in Memphis who lost her son in a car wreck. The youth group was on a trip, the van wrecked and life was forever changed. There is so much about the situation that was frustrating and painful for this couple, among which was a comment spoken to her in the visitation line.  “You know,” the well intending lady said, “God had a Son and He lost Him as well.” To which the grieving mother said, “Yes, and He got Him back in three days!” If we’re not careful, through our ignorance, although well intended, we can actually be agents of further pain as opposed to givers of comfort.  Remember, Job’s friends started messing up when they began to speak! The best approach, in my opinion, is to reaffirm your love, trust God and simply be there.
Second, don’t pretend you know why.  As is commonly known, the more we learn and the deeper we go into the details of the physical world, the more profoundly we are humbled–the more we know how much we don’t know.  So it is with God. The more we consider the variables (the order of the world, free will, God’s will, faith of the one praying, faith of the one being prayed for, persistence, number of people praying, not to mention the antagonistic spiritual world, etc.) the more we should be humbled.  It should be painfully clear that we simply don’t have enough evidence to form a conclusive explanation.
Remember, the Creator is fully revealed in Jesus – that’s what we do know.  I love what Boyd says in regard to prayer’s ambiguity: “This humble acceptance of finitude is very beneficial.  If followed through in faith, it helps us relinquish our fear of ambiguity and our inclination to oversimplify creation and overcomplicate God’s character and purposes (which have been unambiguously revealed in Christ).”  He goes on to say, “It also helps us to more fully appreciate that the mystery of evil is not a mystery about God but about Creation.” (p. 147) Did you catch that? The mystery of evil isn’t a “God question”; it’s a “vastness of the creation question.”
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve spoken with people who in the midst of pain had this knee-jerk tendency to blame God for the pain and drama in their life.  (To be honest, I’ve been guilty of the same.) Perhaps though, upon learning further about the nature of prayer and the various variables in this series of articles, we can learn to trust God rather than blindly indicting Him.
There is a God.  His person and indescribable love are revealed to us in Jesus.  Realize that prayer plays a huge part in how things go in our lives while being cognizant that there are many other variables at play, to the end that even God does not always get “his way” with things.  Case in point: Jesus’ plea on the cross,“Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me.”(Lk. 22:42) And above all, keep on praying!
You are loved,
LB

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Who’s To Blame? (8)

July 19, 2018

07/19/2018

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