Things I Wonder About
I’ve decided to take one article off from Just Like Jesus.
You might think at my age there is extraordinarily little that I wonder about. Not true! I do not understand the mind of God. I do not believe he meant for us to always understand his thinking or his ways. The fact that we are created in his image does not mean that God thinks like we do. Thank goodness for that fact. This is where we must depend on our faith which is what he wants and expects from us.
Also, I do not always see everything as black and white. Some do. I wonder if God does.
1. I took a position a number of years ago during a very difficult time for the congregation we attended in Memphis that if the matter at issue had nothing to do with our salvation then I did not care to argue about it. Argue is not too strong a word. Let’s agree to disagree and love one another. An elder in class took great offense to my statement and told me that God was not happy with me. The difficulty was over worship style. It had nothing to do with an instrument but it was about a praise team, clapping during a song and the raising of hands during the singing. Some wanted to have the freedom to use these in worship and others were determined not to allow such things. We went to two services to try to make as many people as possible happy. Two separate services did not work. Most everyone agreed none of the issues were going to cause anyone to lose their soul so why are we coming apart?.
One Sunday in class with people from both sides of the issue in class, I said “folks we are coming apart. Can’t we sit down and work through this?” One of the “No” group said, “we’ve tried and they will not do it our way, the way we are supposed to conduct services”. The congregation actually dissolved over what I felt was man’s traditions and egos!
I still wonder why God let this happen to a congregation that had been in existence for over 75 years. What purpose did this serve? I must have faith in God’s decision because no answer has ever helped me understand! It would seem that God was disappointed in us for choosing up sides, going to war and allowing this happen!
2. Can I express to God my disappointment in the manner which he answered a prayer? I have been assured by some more learned than I that it is NOT ok to voice my disappointment to God.
As long as I am respectful in my approach to God, it seems ok to express my disappointment in the way he answered my prayer. God already knows of the disappointment in my heart. You cannot hide how you feel from God. Expressing it in prayer and asking him to help me deal with the disappointment seems logical to me in maintaining my relationship with him. Otherwise, I might grow bitter like the man in the following story.
Several years ago Kay and I were witness to a single car accident. The man ran off the road into a shallow ditch with his car hitting a culvert under a concrete driveway. The man was unhurt. While I was trying to determine if his car was drivable and it was not he began to yell while standing in the middle, of HWY 82, “I hate you“ over and over while shaking his fist skyward. He had lost his job; his prayers had not been answered and now this. Kay nor I had ever witnessed this kind of behavior before nor since. This is not what I call respectful! This man did not want understanding, he wanted to fix blame on someone and God was a handy target! I’ve often thought about him and wonder if he ever came to terms with God.
3. James 5:14-15: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”
I’ve only known of this occurring one time. Lige was an elder of the church. He had been terribly ill for some time. Eventually his doctors suggested he get his life in order because they could do no more for him. At this point, Lige asked his fellow elders to anoint him with oil and pray. Unfortunately, a short time later Lige passed away.
It’s very Biblical so why don’t we practice this? Maybe it is practiced more than I know. If Lige had asked for this to done at the beginning of his illness instead of as a last resort, would he have been healed? Is our lack of faith the reason we don’t practice this? God has the capability of doing ANYTHING we ask. It’s not necessary we know how he does it but believe that he can.
Max Lucado writes: ” What causes us to think of prayer as the last option rather than the first? I can think of two reasons: feelings of independence and feelings of insignificance. Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” I don’t believe God is looking for flowery woods nor a smooth talker. He wants honest, sincere, trusting hearts to come to him in prayer.
4. What to ask for in prayer? Some actual examples: A young man, approximate age 16 has been paralyzed from the waist down for several years as a result of an auto accident. The doctors say that medically they can do no more to enable him to walk. Do you pray for a “miracle” that God will help him walk again or simply thank God for sparing his life and to bless his health?
Similar example with a woman whose mind is scrambled due to an accident. The doctors see no medical manner in which her mind will be restored. She is functional but has a terrible time with memory and judgement. You can look into her eyes and see great confusion.
A man in his mid-70’s has dementia. He’s often very confused and must have a family member with him at all times. The doctors offer no hope of medical reversal. His wife reports that his condition is not worsening. Pray for God’s “miracle” or thank God that his condition is not getting worse?
I believe in thanking God for what positive he’s done in people’s lives and asking him to continue to bless these people with more healing. The family caring for these people also need our prayers. I thank God daily that I’ve lived through four strokes and am not an invalid. My prayers also include a plea that my speech will improve. Every doctor and speech therapist I’ve seen assure me it ain’t going to happen. God can if he chooses to make it happen. Is it troublesome to God that I ask him every day to improve my speech?
However God chooses to answer our prayers, we must continue to love him and have faith in him. If his answers are not what we requested, it does not mean he doesn’t love us. It means his grace is sufficient. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. His power is made perfect in my weakness because I must rely on him. My imperfect speech means I must rely on his guidance and help as I serve him!
Admission: As I managed people who reported to me, I tried to coach them in their career to help them be successful. I do the same now with the CASA families. When I pray, I have been guilty of trying to coach God how to get things done so I have to watch myself. He knows how to accomplish the results so I just need to ask and then let him!!
5 A. We are embroiled in our society today with the question of immigration. It’s not just the USA but many European countries also wrestle with this issue. For me this is not just a black/white political issue. I claim no political party but I am a conservative most of the time which causes both family and friends and especially Facebook friends great frustration. I find that many of them believe their party is always correct! That frustrates me! My quandary comes from the Bible teachings as I understand them:
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9
“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” — 1 John 3:17
There are many more verses that can be used here.
There are also verses that tell us who we should not help:
2 Thessalonians 3:10-15
10 “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.”
“The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.” Proverbs 21:25
“The one who works his field will have plenty of food, but whoever chases daydreams lacks wisdom. The wicked person desires a stronghold, but the righteous root endures.” Proverbs 12:11-12
5 B. I believe our government for the most part has been a poor administrator of our immigration and benevolence programs. This why we must pray for the government leaders at every level.
“1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, the honor.”
1 Timothy 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way
There are differing opinions on the meaning of these verses. Some writers believe that God established the office but did not place a particular person in office. Others look at it as though God did allow a particular person to rule. What’s your thinking?
“LORD, I know that people's lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.” Jeremiah 10:23
BTW – I’m having knee replacement surgery January 8. I ask for your prayers for Kay and me. She’s the one the Dr. Barrett is counting on to make sure I follow the post-surgery rules.