Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life and God

You lift me up on the wind, you make me ride on it, and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.  Job 30:22

Job is talking about his experience of life - in my experience, life can be a lot like a rollercoaster ride. You ride up to the heights, and then you often tumble down to the lowest of the low and after you bottom out you may be on your way up again.  The people of old, biblical people, saw everything that happened to them to be a direct result of God messing in their life.  A very subjective or egotistical view.  Often in the Bible, God is portrayed as a puppet master pulling the strings of various people to make them do certain things or behave in certain ways. 

As an Episcopalian I believe in the doctrine of freewill - we along with everyone else are allowed to make our own choices in and about life.  This means that things might happen to us that are not the direct result of God's action.  It also means that we can be affected by the choices of others - i.e. drunk drivers.  But that doesn't mean that God does not know what happens to us and it doesn't mean that God doesn't care.  One philosophy of life is that God is a "clockmaker" - that he set thing in motion in the beginning and has not interfered since.  I don't believe that either. 

I believe that God knows what happens to us and that he cares.  I believe that he has a general plan for our life and encourages us along the way.  I also believe that God is active - at work behind the scenes to bring about opportunities for us to experience and know him.  I believe that he brings about encounters that can be life changing. God is Lord of All and if he sent Jesus Christ to offer the ultimate sacrifice, then he can and will help be available to aid us as we walk through life.

Lord God, most loving Father, help us as we struggle through this life and make yourself known to us at all times - even in the hour of our greatest need.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bringing good news

'Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God.  Acts 14:15

Paul and Barnabas have been sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the people in Lystra.  Because God worked through them to show signs and wonders such as healing, the people thought they were their Greek gods come down to earth.  We got into a discussion last week and the statistic was thrown out that God heals miraculously through prayer about 3% of the time.  I believe from my experience that this statistic is probably pretty accurate.  I've prayed for many people over the years and I've seen one healing, one (temporary) healing, and several times when symptoms were eased.  I don't know why God chooses to heal some and not others, but what I've learned is that when it happens, it isn't me that heals, but it is my faithfulness to pray that allows God to work.

A discussion came up on a website about why so many people are afraid to pray out loud for healing.  I don't think it's a problem of thinking 'what happens if the person isn't healed,'  We're much more likely to be worried about what happens if they are healed.  The silent prayer before we begin should always be, "Lord, lead my prayer to be what you will and what you want for this person."

We are mortals and if we are faithful to share the good news of Jesus Christ, God can and will use our faithfulness to accomplish his purpose on earth.  The flip side is that if we never step out in faith and risk failure, then we will never see success; we may never see God's hand at work in us, through us, or around us.