Thursday, December 22, 2011

What kind of God...? (#1)

Someone at church last week shared a story of 'what God had been doing in their life' recently.

I don't need to give many details here except to say that they had experienced an unlikely and unusual sequence of positive events in reasonably quick succession, and attributed this to the goodness of God. People in the church were also thanked for their prayers.

Don't get me wrong, I think its great that this sequence of events happened to this person. But are we right to attribute this 'lucky streak' to the goodness of God?

What kind of God rewards one of his people with a string of minor blessings (like getting extra items delivered by accident in an online shop, which the store then did not reclaim) and larger blessings like a better paid job, while countless thousands of Africans, some of whom also claim to be Christians, live in poverty and die of starvation?

Furthermore, what kind of God apparently does this (shifts blessing towards a particular person) as a consequence of the number or quality of people praying? If nobody was praying, would the blessings have been withheld?

What kind of God with the will and the ability to bless, would withhold this blessing just because not enough people asked for it?

In the light of the answer that you have formed in your mind to the question above, what is the point of prayer? If it truly moves the hands of God, which otherwise would remain idle, then I'm not sure that sort of God is the sort of God I'd want to pray to...

4 comments:

Regi said...

I feel the same way. I can't say anything without being labeled an outcast (or being "cast out"). I cannot believe that a just God would punish me by withholding blessings because I did not have a large number of people praying for me. I am using "me" to make the point easier. While I do not grudge these people their feelings, it makes me wonder if they thank God also for the bad things that happen.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps another angle could be that what god did was not for the "end user", but all the "middlemen". That is, what he really did was grant the middlemen their request. It was merely incidental what the request was or the final recipient(s). He was being "good" to the middlemen, the rest was just fallout. More likely though your original scenario doesn't make sense simply b/c it isn't so. - David

Ricky Carvel said...

Anonymous, sorry, but I don't understand the point you're trying to make. Please explain further.

T. J. said...

Hi, I just found your blog and I will have to read more! I have thought a lot about prayer and here is my question. If we believe God is all-loving and all-powerful, then he has already developed the perfect plan and will do the very most loving thing for us. Now if we decide to pray, might we convince God to change his mind and his plan? This seems to happen several times in the Bible. But if we change the ideal plan it will by definition become less ideal. So if prayer is effective, it will actually result in a worse outcome. Yet in the Bible, God tells us to pray all the time for all our needs. This is very confusing to me.