Sunday, January 17, 2016

God's Mercy

Does God withhold blessings and communications?  I don't know the theology requisite to a response to this question.  I do know that over the years I have heard people, dear saints of The Kingdom, say that it seemed God did not hear their prayers; that the ceiling above them was of brass and their petitions would not penetrate it.  Just this past week as I attempted to exchange words of consolation to a newly widowed friend she responded with, "God did not answer my prayers."

A difficult moment in the lives of two Christians as they converse at the foot of the casket of the  dear departed spouse, the one wracked with grief and doubt, the other feeling failure in his role as comforter.  We know that God does all things well and in His wisdom chooses the timing of His blessings.  We know this, and we know that it is ours to accept God at His word, to await His time.  And yet.

We read in Isaiah 54:8  "In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer."  (KJV)

Doubt is not sin; we are human.  Yet He will hold us in His hand in spite of our own tenuous grip.

btw, I have heard it said that doubt is the opposite of faith.  No.  In fact, doubt may be the foundation of faith, for without questioning there is no basis for believing.  Or so I think.

I pray as the father of the stricken son in Mark chapter nine, " Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."



Jim Grey said...

We all, I think, have to suffer some disappointment as we come to understand who God is and what his purposes are. It is an enormously difficult transition to make, to come to understand that unwanted things simply happen sometimes in this life. I'll always remember my own transition, the years I prayed that God would heal my marriage, the work I did trying to make that happen, and my wife divorced me anyway.

This life is what it is. God is not here to make it perfect for us, for us never to experience pain and loss. This life is here to teach us to rely on him, to seek him when we cry out in anguish. There will be some blessings; we should be grateful for them. There will be some difficulties; we should try to be grateful for them, too, but if we can't be, we should at least lean into God hardest then for comfort and courage.

vanilla said...

Jim, beautifully stated and completely true. "This life is here to teach us to rely on him, to seek him when we cry out in anguish." Yes, yes, yes. And teach us, Lord, to grateful for your manifold blessings and mercies!

Lin said...

The miracle of faith is trusting and knowing that sometimes God doesn't deliver exactly what you prayed for...but maybe something you needed more than what you asked for.

Example: Maybe God just granted your lady friend strength to help her husband in his dying days. Or sent her good friends to help her when she needed it most in his passing.

Or Jim--maybe you learned more about yourself in your process of trying to save the marriage and you can rest easy knowing that you did all you could. That is the blessing. While you cannot change another person, you can grow yourself. I wish you peace in that knowledge.

I think faith is finding the message in what transpired.

Grace said...

I came back for a second reading and there was Lin's perfect comment.

While I do not follow Judaic-Christian teachings I do have an unshakeable belief in a higher power, or the Universal Intelligence. It would never occur to me to ask for a specific material/physical thing and I always thought it odd that people do so. Whether it was my grandmother turning some saint's statue on it's head till that saint delivered the goods or asking for a new bike. I ask for what I need, to do what I must do - whatever that may turn out to be - strength of mind and heart; humbleness to accept what is -

I could ramble on but thank you for this post and thanks to Lin for her wise comment.

Vee said...

Good message for a Sunday.

vanilla said...

Lin, I believe we are to bring our petitions to God, but more importantly we are to accept His answers. He knows much better than we what we need. One paragraph, but you wrote a very good article here!

Grace, Lin wrote a very thoughtful piece, much appreciated. Your response is well-thought, too. We believe that God has promised to supply our needs. No where are we taught that He will give us every thing we might wish for. I think some people have confused Him with Santa Claus, but God is greater than all our beliefs or imaginings! We need to ask what wc can do for Him.

Vee, I am pleased that this generated some thoughtful discussion, sharing of experiences and points of view.

Lin said...

I like these thoughtful pieces, Vanilla. And no, everyone doesn't always have to agree with me in order for me to like them. ;)

Sharkbytes said...

We ask for the wrong things, and we are selfish, and NO is also an answer. I have more trouble with the times I feel so disconnected from God that it's hard to converse at all.