When Prayers Aren’t Answered

As prayers go unanswered, and trials pile one after another… As you strive to follow God only to have the paths forward cut off one after another… It is easy to let your mind wander to what you have done… “Did you do everything you could? Could you have done more? Should you have done things differently? Did you fall short?” And honestly the answer is… “Yes…”
 
I’ve never really liked giving the advice “Well is there anything else you could have done?” because we use it in the wrong context. Of course there is things we could do differently. Of course there is more we can do. Of course there are mistakes we made. Of course we didn’t do everything perfect because we AREN’T perfect!
 
This is good to recognize as we analyze and grow… but beyond that, what good is it?
 
We tend to treat it as “God’s plans fell through because you faltered in your faith at the last second… God didn’t let you move forward because you take 15 minutes in your preparation instead of 10. If you had given up drinking coffee as well I’m sure your life would be much better right now.”
 
POPPYCOCK!
 
If God’s plans relied on our ability to do everything in our ability at every given second, what would be done in this world??
 
YOU are imperfect. YOU will fail. But newsflash. God already knew that!
 
God KNOWS you are weak. God KNOWS you are human. God KNOWS you are going to fall flat on your face an innumerable amount of times. If things are getting tougher, and everything is falling apart in spite of you chasing after God… don’t go kicking yourself up. You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re following God! All the rest is a matter of His timing and His methods… and trust me… just ask Gideon… He likes setting up a losing situation first.
 
So then… should we sit back and live life as we please, because God loves us and is ultimately in charge of what works and doesn’t??
 
Replacing one extreme with another rarely works…..
 
God calls us to follow Him… not to make His plans work… Not to do miracles so we can get to Him… God knows where you stand. God knows who you are. God knows where you are strong and where you are weak. He wants you to grow through this journey, but you have to be willing to follow… and believe me that’s scary enough!
 
Are you following God? Are you trusting in Him? Are you praying? Are you reading the Bible? Are you asking others to pray for you too?
 
Unlike what society may say…. results do not necessarily show if you are doing what’s right or wrong… because all we can see are the results in this moment. We can’t see the path that lies ahead.
 
Learn from your mistakes. But do not feel you have failed God…or are too weak for Him. He knew where you stood before He asked you. You cannot let Him down as you were never holding Him up to begin with. The road ahead is treacherous and scary… but your safety has already been looked out for. Walk in confidence

Societal Forces

(Originally from Twitter which is why it’s an odd format)

Society is maintained through balance, and Balance is maintained through two conflicting forces that have obtained equilibrium.
 
As hard as you push for your ideal, there will be someone who pushes back equally. No matter how hard you pull, the same will result
 
There have never been “Winners and Losers” in this world, Only temporary imbalances. No matter which side loses, resistance will return
 
We judge our struggle by the pain we feel. We judge others’ by the pain we assume they have. But no one can know what another feels. No one even really knows what WE ourselves feel. We only have assumptions based on the trial and error of our lives and wisdom from others.
 
So what is the answer? Should we give up pushing and pulling altogether? Well… that would be impossible.
 
Even if you lived your life without ideals for your direction, that in itself would be the ideal with your direction.
 
The greatest pushers of our age are those who say you shouldn’t push. The greatest pullers are those who say pulling destroys
 
You cannot have no impact at all on this world. You cannot know what the other side feels or acts. So what can you do?
 
As I said… there is balance. As hard as you push or pull, you will only be met back with equal resistance.
 
To focus on one force alone will only keep growing until you are finally overwhelmed. But a balance between the two, may have potential
 
Pull too hard and you give up what you stand for. Push too hard and you will live and die alone. Do both equally and see what happens
 
If you have morals, live for them. Do not give them up to make others more comfortable. But don’t lock others out because they are not you
 
Do not give up who you are so you can fit in. Do not give up on others so they can fit you.
 
There IS right and wrong in this world. There ARE things people do that hurt others. But you can advise others, not control them
 
Do not be frustrated by the lack of control over others when you cannot control yourself! Do not fight others when you cannot fight yourself
 
Most important, consider no life a virus or a waste. Even those who offend you to your core. Their actions and beliefs are not what they are
 
At the end of it all, we are all people. We will be right on some things and wrong on others.
 
No life is devoted to ruining yours. They are devoted to living life the best that they can, even if they are wrong,they are trying like you
 
Stand strong. Accept generously. Live as an example, not as a crusade! /endrant

What Is Strength?

What is strength? What is weakness?
 
Compared to true strength, are we not all weak? Compared to true wisdom, are we not all fools? Compared to true power, are we not all hopeless?
 
Yet true strength, wisdom, and power are things humanity is not capable of. And as such we lower our expectations. We lower the transfer point between strength and weakness. It is hard to imagine what you have not seen and cannot comprehend so it makes sense that we do that.
 
So by human standards… what is strength, and what is weakness?
 
Some would argue that a strong person is one who goes through life without breaking a sweat. “That person gets all A’s… they pass every trial… they got the job they want, the family they dreamed of, everything is going their way… I wish I was that strong… I feel too weak to even cover basic survival in life… how am I supposed to have the strength to be ambitious as well?”
 
But is that strength? Is that person truly strong? Or has that person simply not faced trials yet like you have?
 
If that were all there were to being “strong” then there would be a strength to weakness the strong cannot imagine.
 
The weak face failure. The weak face hardships. The weak face tasks they cannot overcome. The weak are forced to adapt. The weak are forced to compromise. The weak are forced to think of new ways forward aside from the straight path that the rest have taken.
 
Life WILL have trials… no matter who you are. The fact that you face them while others does not mean you are weak… in fact, it means that you have a strength the strong do not have. To know your weakness, and to be forced to think of a way around it… is that not a strength in itself?
 
I would argue that it is not the strong who can keep moving forward in life. Instead I would argue the ones who keep moving forward are strong.
 
It is not about what strength you have to face the current circumstances that decide if you are strong or not.
 
If Usain Bolt ran against a series of kindergarten students and won…. who would seem stronger? The kindergarten kids who tried their hardest only to lose? Or Bolt who breezed through and won…. Now if the rest of their lives this match continued… who would BE stronger? The one who is simply breezing through on ability? Or the ones who seek to push past their own??
 
It is not strength that lets us move forward… it is moving forward that gives us strength. What matters is not how much you fail. What matters is not how much easier those around you succeed. What matters is that you never give up. Pick yourself up. And keep moving forward!

Distracting Desires?

There is a very strange belief in our world today, that we serve a God who created us with wants and desires (or that he created us and then was appalled to find one day we had developed wants and desires) and that he then demands us to ignore everything we want simply to appease His will. The more I think of this… the more I think this is a question of relativity than a question of cruelty.

This universe has constant… what is good is good, what is bad is bad. However, as humans, our interpretation of the world is very limited by the few parts of it we are able to observe.

To put it simply… there are things I want in life… and there are things I think I want…. What I want is a feeling… one that I’ve tried to find all my life… what I think I want is my current interpretation of that feeling based on how close to it I have been able to get.

When I was a kid it was simple and reactionary… as I grew… that opinion has grown… become more detailed… There are many things that come close to the feeling I am looking for. But looking back I realize how shallow and far most of them were.

I do not believe we serve a God who demands us to suffer to appease Him. Such a God would be in contradiction to everything said about Him. I think we serve a God who wants us to enjoy The world He created as much as He enjoys us His creation… and as such He doesn’t want to settle for shallow feelings when (even though we may be experiencing the greatest feeling we ever have) it pales in comparison to what he holds for us in the future.

I don’t believe God WANTS us to suffer… though there are some who disagree with me and believe He does so He can show how strong He is through us and through the suffering…. I think suffering and emptiness come from 2 reasons…

1. The consequence of not following what He tells us of. And I don’t mean as a divine slap on the wrist… I mean God gave us rules not so He could enforce them but to protect us from the result of going other ways. If you run out in the road as a kid and get hit by a car… it is not because your parents are angry at you. It’s because you disobeyed the instruction they gave to keep you safe!

2. To help us grow closer to Him…. I think pain and suffering DOES make us stronger. But I think it is only supposed to last for a season. A time to draw us closer to Him. To realize our own weakness. To begin to understand His strength. To become sensitive and caring to those who hurt around us. Hard times teach us quite a lot…. but I do not think this means they are meant to last forever.

Now I will be honest… I do not write this out of knowing, for who can truly know and understand God??? In all honesty I haven’t hit that “Enjoyment of life” yet… nor do I know if anyone else has. I look at all that is wrong in life… I look at all that is breaking me from all sides…. I see how hard it is to see any kind of future before me…. and honestly it does make you wonder some times if what others say is true… that we really are just here to go through things we were not made for in order to show God’s strength…. But the more I read the bible, the stronger my faith grows that it can’t be this way.

Because GOD was the one who made us! God was the one who made us unique! God was the one who gave us desires even if sin warped them to convince us cheaper, easier to obtain knock offs would give us the same joy. That is why I have faith that God DOES give us these feelings, desires, differing strengths and weaknesses for a reason. Why I feel these aren’t just “Distractions we must learn to bury and ignore” but promises that God does know what we want and what we need.

We serve a God who loves us… and does all things for our good, not our harm. Have faith, Have strength, fight on!

An Economic Cycle

You know… the more history you learn, the more patterns you begin to see. There is one which has repeated itself time and time again which somewhat frustrates me.
 
A society that looks out for each other and focuses on working together to give what they can WILL have an excess… this is because while it is very impossible for people to sustain themselves on their own… our strengths together don’t add on each other but instead multiply. When people work together, society begins to lay the groundwork to rebuild and grow.
 
However as I said… there will be an excess. More than we need. As people come to realize this, they begin to come up with methods of acquiring this excess for themselves. Ways to capitalize on it and use it to grow the things they are capable of. And not only will they get away with it, but they will flourish. They will flourish so much that people will look up to them, admire them, want what they have, and begin to study and learn about what they did. Though these are often called “A Golden Age” it is more the beginning of the end for the potential that society has to offer.
 
As more people learn these methods to get themselves more, and begin to implement these methods… we hit a new problem…. While people working together causes an excess… that excess is only ye large, and not nearly large enough for every person to live to the extent of someone who devoted their lives on capitalizing on that overlooked excess…
 
think of it this way. If one person were to go to a public building’s garbage dumpster to dump their own garbage while no one was looking… while they WOULD be quite a jerk… chances are there will be enough room in that dumpster that it won’t cause many complications. However if many people see the money this person is saving, and decide to do the same thing… it won’t take too long for that dumpster to be filled even before the company deals with their own trash… the same thing happens with the economy.
 
As people see their own survival wealth beginning to disappear, and all the people who are taking the excess for themselves… they begin to panic. They begin to drag in what little wealth they can and hold onto it. They turn their focus onto their own survival. Trying to make sure they will be able to put bread on their table the next day…. the only problem with this though is what I said before…. if we work to try and give to others and make growth for others to enjoy there will be an excess because our strengths multiply on each other. If we focus entirely on trying to protect ourselves, we will fail… because no person can sustain themselves. At this point our economy crumbles.
 
What happens next can go either way…. Sometimes a nation just crumbles. Desperately clinging to what little value they can hold onto. But sometimes something else happens.
 
Desperate times cause people to make desperate choices. There are those who see that they cannot survive alone and thus start bringing people to themselves. New companies start, new ideas flourish. They face adversity together. sweat together. labour together. And slowly but surely they build something new as the juggernauts of the past collapse around them. And then the cycle resets.
 
I am not saying this is the only cause of economic change. Technology, wars, crisis, and more… these all have an effect on the intricate web. But this is a pattern we see time and time again that few people talk about.
 
A company is formed and makes choices that will help people find work. A few generations later that company makes choices to maintain that company. A few generations later people join that company to improve their own resume. Then it all falls apart.
 
What do we do to face this? Honestly, it’s hard to give advice that involves what majority of the world does… because how does one convince majority of the world to give a different direction a try? I am just one voice making one post on observations I have made. I do not know how to fix a system involving billions of independent minds, some of which have no desire to change, others of which are too scared to try… But I think there are some things we can do.
 
Be careful of who you idolize. There are ways to be productive that are not as productive as they look. Aim to help others, and inspire others to help those around them. Pray… a lot…. we really need it more than anything.
 
We cannot control what others around us may do. But we are each of us responsible for the actions we ourselves make. Take this responsibility seriously. Look out for those around you as you can. Be patient with others, be diligent, be deep in prayer

Stop! Think! Pray

What do we do as Christians?
 
Do we progress? Do we stay the same?
Are we accepting? Or are we firm?
Are we liberal? Or are we conservative?
Do we outreach? Or do we focus on improving ourselves?
Do we take the fresh creativity of the young? Or the experienced wisdom of the old?
Do we go out into the world? Or do we shun it?
 
The more I think about it… the answer is “yes”… to all.. in balance. Because while there are many good things out there…. extremes cause problems.
 
But how does one keep all those things in balance? It’s not something you can make a method for as each situation is different. It is something beyond data crunching and memorization. It requires wisdom, knowledge, reflexes, the knowledge of all variables at every given time and how the infinite possibilities will affect those variables individually…
 
So in other words… yes… it is impossible. But didn’t you become a Christian, because you accepted that this life was something bigger than you could handle?
 
See, Christians aren’t called to “Make their way to God” to “Forge a path to God.” to “Climb their way up to God.” Christians are called to “FOLLOW” God. To trust His paths, and look for His guidance. It’s terrifying in practice, yet very reassuring when you think about it.
 
Yet we don’t do that. Instead we find ourselves simply reacting to our current circumstances. Creating scapegoats to ignore higher responsibility. Trusting our own decisiveness over God’s divine direction.
 
The world goes hot, we go cold. The world goes cold, we go hot. We demand to be the polar opposite when both sides have fallen off the line.
 
“The world makes relationships too open. Let’s make them incredibly awkward and overthought! In fact! Paul says singleness is close to Godliness so let’s make bumperstickers of that!”
 
“The world has gone from skimpy clothing to nudes posted everywhere! Let’s say technology is a plague upon our society distracting us from God’s path and talk about people of different styles behind their back!”
 
“The world is fascinated with witchcraft, bhudism, and yoga! Let’s say all fantasy stories,, wise sayings, and flexible exercises are the devils work!”
 
When you see them written out together like this, they seem even more ridiculous than usual… yet I see so many people flip from one extreme to another at the drop of a hat.
 
There are two ways you can find yourself in moral territory you never meant to arrive at.
 
First is the slow method… Go one step at a time. If you slowly crank up the heat, a frog will boil itself alive before it realizes the water is hot. In the same way, as we slowly justify one step then the next, it is easy to go frighteningly far.
 
“Humans evolved from monkeys. That means our differences must be from different strands of evolution. That must mean some of us evolved differently than others. That must mean some of us are further ahead than others. That means that if we breed the strongest together then we will evolve faster. That means that we should stop the weaker from breeding by sterilizing them. That means we’re spending good medical supplies and money treating lesser humans who we want to die out anyways. That means it would be more efficient to just kill them out now.”
 
That was what happened in WWII (though many countries arrived just before those last two steps) I hope that one is an old enough process to raise less drama, but we arrive at equally disturbing justifications in many areas today.
 
The second method is the one I’ve been talking about today… and that is being so focused on your assumed enemy that you lose focus on where you are yourself.
 
There are three ways to be controlled by something. To love it and do what it wants. To hate it and do what it hates. And to fear it and do whatever it doesn’t do. In all three of those situations you have no control over your life anymore. Your obsession with your quarry is what controls you.
 
So stop reacting! Stop acting like you’re told to act. Stop believing what you’re told to believe. God wants a relationship with YOU. The curtain in the temple was torn. You don’t need a translator anymore!
 
Pray through your opinions and beliefs! (Even this post!) You have a 24/7 open line with the creator of all of creation! Stop looking to News Stations or Christian Magazines about what your opinions should be! Those are meant to aid your thinking, not replace it!

For What Do We Stand?

For if there is no God, then what is there to live for? What reason is there to try? What hope do you have to look forward to? Do you rely on mankind who betray you and hold you only at the value of what you can give them? Do you trust yourself when there is so much you cannot control or see coming? Do you just hide yourself away and try not to think about how meaningless your existence and attempts to be good and decent are in this world?
 
But… If there is God…. then what have you to fear? When life comes crashing down around you. When things don’t work out the way you expect. When threats come towards you at every angle… what do you have to fear?
 
Because it was never your burden to carry before you break. It was never your only hope that society will humor you and provide for you. It was never some sheer bout of luck or chance that some people survive and some people don’t. The God who created this world looks out for you. Cares about you. Has a plan for you so long as you rely on Him.
 
Those who turn to the Christian path for a life of comfort and ease will not last long. One does not follow God’s path because it is easiest… in fact more often than not it is the most terrifying… one follows God’s path because it is Good! And because you will do the Most Good on it!
 
Life is hard and holds many hardships. Many unexpected turns. Many let downs. Many things that will terrify you. You will make mistakes, be betrayed, be abandoned, be ridiculed, be abused, be taken advantage of, be hurt, be scarred, be broken, but so help me you serve a God who refuses to let you be Destroyed!
 
Stand up. No matter what you are going through. Know that this may catch you off guard. That this may make things harder than you thought. But this was never about what YOU could do.
 
You are not alone! You never were. Take comfort, take confidence, and move forward!
 
Amen