After my post on ‘What kind of God let’s that happen?‘ I was challenged on the purpose and effect of prayer, amongst other things. It challenged me enough to make me think about the reasons why I pray. And I’ve discovered I do pray a lot, from my daily quiet time where I really feel I am growing in Christ, to intercessing for others, those that I know and those that I don’t, to the quick ‘arrow’ prayer when I am out and about.
In this post, from last week, Phaedrus asked me several questions about Gods intervention (or non-intervention as the case may be). I felt challenged to think about this before blasting off my answers. So having had that time, I’ve been scribbling down my thoughts. The questions are his, and to read the full comment do click on the previous post above or right, but I have included shortened versions. As they are quite meaty I am going to post one a day for the next few days. It would be great to get some debate if people feel so inclined, as I say I felt challenged by the questions so it would be great to hear others view points too.
What God wants is a relationship with us, not a bunch of robot worshippers. We worship Him because we desire to not because he asks it of us. Scripture actually tells us that we won’t know all of his plan. When the disciples ask Jesus if he is going to restore the Kingdom to Israel in the Book of Acts, he answers:
“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority”. Acts 1:7
I don’t believe that the bible was written so that God wouldn’t be a mystery – He is a mystery. In the Anglican church we use the words ‘we declare the mystery of faith…’ in standard services, and scripture states in several places that we cannot know the mind of God or always understand his actions. As He says to Job:
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” Job 38:4
If we believe in a sovereign God, then how can we expect to know why he makes decisions or how? Put it this way: if you look at any leader, do you really know why they make the decisions they do? Every leader will have things behind the scenes that they cannot divulge or that we cannot understand, that shape decisions they make. Sometimes those decisions may be unpopular but they have to stand by them knowing they have made the right decision in those circumstances. I think God is a bit like that. He wants the best for all of us and sometimes a decision for one person affects a lot more people than just the one.
Actually, Job is an interesting book because it shows that there is stuff going on behind the scenes that Job and his friends have no idea about and probably wouldn’t understand even if they did.
I think the bible gives us an excellent guide to human nature, in that it includes examples of amazing evil or wrong doing, and also examples of amazing good and giving or loving behaviour. It gives us a good moral code to live our lives by. People say the bible is outdated but it is not, my gosh it’s like an episode of the Jeremy Kyle show (or Jerry Springer for the US audience!) in places. You can pretty much guarantee that if you have an issue in your life, it’s been covered in the bible…