When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayers; Pray!

A few times now I’ve asked the question… what do you do when God doesn’t answer prayer? What do you do when instead things just get worse?
 
You watch as your hope slowly goes away. You wrack your brain for what you could be doing wrong. You work yourself to passing out because “Your still standing! That means you can still do more!” Subconsciously you lower your expectations to your prayers because… well you’ve been going for months, and years now of having your prayers not answered… it’s okay… you know the answer… why would it change now??
 
The answer though, at least from what I’m starting to see, is none of those things above.
 
So what do you do when God doesn’t answer your prayers? What do you do when instead your situation continues to get worse and worse?
 
You pray again…. And you believe….
 
Pray and persevere! If you wake up to find that nothing has happened, pray again! Perhaps there is a level of spiritual warfare you are not aware of like in Daniel. Perhaps God is using this to help you grow. But pray again!
 
Is God bound to helping you? Does God HAVE to answer prayer?? OF COURSE NOT! He is God! He doesn’t answer to you and me! He isn’t bound to codes and rules! He is God!
 
But! It is because He is God that you can take faith that He WILL provide. That He WILL answer prayer. Not because He has to, but because it is who He is!
 
But what if He doesn’t answer prayer? Then what will happen to me?? Won’t I just look like a fool desperately whacking my head against this same wall as I slowly drown? What if I’m missing something? What if I was wrong all along?? What if God wants me to do it myself??
 
PRAY! PRAY! PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY!
 
If God wants you to do something differently then ask for Him to show you! If God is waiting for you to do something, Ask Him what it is.
 
Do we serve a God who is mute? Who plays a “hot and cold!” game with us in finding His will? Does He delight in seeing us torment ourselves worrying about if we are doing it right or not???
 
DON’T BE AN IDIOT!
 
If you’re that worried about if you’re doing things right or not, then ASK GOD! ASK HIM! ASK HIM FOR CLARITY! He created the universe with nothing but His voice, do you honestly think He can’t get through our thick skulls to clear things up?
 
I cannot say this enough. If you truly believe in God, then why do people question this so much? Why do people feel it rests on their shoulders alone to determine what’s God’s will and what’s just our own selfishness talking?? If that’s the case you may be better off not believing anything at all! If you don’t believe that God can do so little as explain what He wants you to do when you genuinely want to know in spite of your fear, then what good is it to ask ANYTHING of Him??? Are you turning to God because you truly believe there is a creator far more powerful and wise than you could ever hope to understand?? Or are you simply fulfilling some sugar pill of a reason to have morals.
 
If you believe there is a God then BELIEVE THERE IS A GOD! If you don’t believe God is there, then don’t! How empty a life would we live in if we tried to go half way???
 
And what if God doesn’t answer? Did Abraham see himself turn into a great nation? Did Moses see the promise land? Did the disciples see the return of God??
 
These people devoted their lives to causes they never saw happen in their life times… are they to be pitied? Did they waste their lives that they could have spent building up wealth and security on something they felt might happen yet never did???
 
NO! The Bible praises them. We hold them in high respect for their faith. Even though they did not see the exact thing they were looking for come to fruition, the journey God took them on in their faith rewarded them in ways we do not realize. But even if they didn’t… is it not better to die following God than to live running away from Him?
 
What can this world offer that’s worth living for? Wealth is a cold companion, relationships can feel shallow, people betray us, power is fleeting, fame turns against us… Without purpose and the rock to stand on, are we not just biding time until we die? Is it not better to die living for something than to live to fear dying??
 
And if you do start to doubt… what will happen? Will your life problems suddenly go away because you stopped trusting in God? Will giving life your best suddenly start working because you stopped giving glory to the creator of all things?
 
The only reason that would work is if there was someone pleased enough with your lack of hope to stop fighting you and give you what you want. The only one who would find joy from such a choice would be a devil, and be careful when he gives you what you want. The juiciest bait lies in the deadliest trap.
 
If God does not answer your prayers, that is His choice. That is His right. That is His decision. BUT DON’T STOP PRAYING! AND DON’T STOP BELIEVING!
 
It is God’s choice whether He answers your prayers or not. It is your choice whether you’ll keep believing in Him or not.
 
No matter what trial you face. Be it spiritual, mental, physical, legal, societal, mechanical, or any level of problems you can find yourself in… God CAN save you. God says He WILL look out for us. God says to ask and He WILL answer, provided we chase His will. BUT! Even if He doesn’t. Even if we fall. Even if we lose everything and are laughed and ridiculed out… Even so! I will still follow Him. For He is the only choice there ever has been.
 
Amen
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In the Belly of the Whale

What do you do when you’re in the belly of the whale?

I see a lot of posts, and hear a lot of advice from people who laugh and give nostalgic smiles, and say things like

“I used to be like you… full of dreams, full of passion. But I realized that life didn’t work that way. You need to buckle down and work hard. Put aside your passions until your can afford it. Put a fire under you and take on the jobs you don’t like… because even the best jobs are going to have days you don’t like! But God is faithful to those who work hard. Those who have ambition. Those who take life into their own hands and instead of waiting for him to do something make something with what they have! Remember the parable of the talents!”

But the problem is… what if your dreams and passions are to keep food on your table and a roof over your head? What if it’s not about doing work that’s unpleasant, but being overwhelmed from crying yourself to sleep as your body continues to break down one thing after another? What if you’re dealing with the sins in your life, trying to make responsible choices, but then thieves come, investments fall through, unexpected expenses keep popping up with health and things breaking?

5 years ago, I tried to live life according to my dreams… I took a job offered to me that would bring me closer to the person I was dating, I got an apartment that I could afford and seemed sturdy and safe. My plan was to work my way up and muscle through the grunt labour for a year or two so I could apply for better jobs and put my business diploma to use. Then when I was self sufficient I would marry my girlfriend, and we could live a nice, simple life, trying to help out those in our community around us by sharing with what God had blessed us with.

But as I worked there, I discovered something worrisome. I discovered that my best was below mediocre. I discovered my body was physically not capable of keeping up with the bare minimum requirements needed to keep working.

For an entire year I pushed myself. I lost about 60 lbs (40 of which were in the first 2 months), I saw my doctor, I exercised, I ate well, I pushed myself to the point that I would pass out for two days straight, and was often coughing up blood from the exertion barely being able to speak anymore… and yet not only could I not keep up with those who would simply be chatting or goofing off… my numbers were actually getting worse! I tried applying for other jobs, but my employee profile was tied to my ability to do my job, so my resumes would be instantly thrown out before they were even looked at. I was given a tough choice… quit with no job, or risk permanent damage to my body….

I chose the former and moved back home… then ended up working 6 hours a week for a year which put me into further debt. I wasn’t just a victim… I shop when I’m stressed… sometimes it’s for investments I think can help me move forward, sometimes it’s for distractions to distract me from reality around me. I got to my eyeballs in debt in spite of my applying everywhere and trying every angle I could get… Finally I fasted and prayed, and the next day I was offered a job as janitor at my church that I hadnt even applied for.

Around that time, I started studying Japanese. Originally it was just a step towards learning many languages (make your first your hardest and all other languages will be easy) but during that time, God slowly put Japan on my heart more and more. Till finally I asked Him to send me where He wants and He put Japan on my heart….. But I was up to my eyeballs in debt… and graduated college not university which makes immigration tough! And I knew my parents would hate the idea considering how much trouble I was already in!

So I backed out, justifying it by saying to God, “If you can provide the way there and win over my parents, I’ll study the language because thats all I can do!”

And I continued running… hiding and waiting for there to be less and less obstacles in my path… God offered many opportunities for me to follow… People who seemed eager to help me, contacts in conversation schools and churches… but I put them off… because I was scared… because I felt I couldnt do it… I was Jonah running from Ninevah. Though not because I feared Ninevah, because I feared the land I was in right now.

When I had the injury back in May, I realized I couldn’t run anymore (literally) I realized, it wasnt about trying to find a safe path to follow God… I needed to follow God so HE could lead me down the safe paths. And so I applied for University… I did serious research. I confronted my parents. I studied seriously…. I took myself from If God makes a way” to “I WILL follow Him!”

But now I am in the belly of the whale…. it must have been hard for Jonah… to finally decide to follow God and realize it was beyond his power to do so…. I understand that fully… But what do you do in those situations? When questions like “Where will I live, where will I work, how will I afford these next 2 years until I can go?” Fill your head.

You pray. You pray and you follow God.

The whale that prevented Jonah from going to Ninevah is exactly what got him there.

Pray and follow God. Trust in Him, not your own understanding. Human wisdom and pride are poor companions for following God. Focus on what you can do now. Let God worry about what you can’t do.

You are not making the path. You are following the maker!

You can do it. You are not alone. Amen

The Way Forward

Give God Your Best!
Continue To Strive To Improve
But realize that it is not your strength that can save you.
Realize until God says it’s time for you to be saved you will not be.
 
Is it your own failings that are holding you back? Would your life have been better if you had known about one weakness or another? Do you panic constantly about what sin in your life you can’t find yet that is keeping you from moving forward??
 
Don’t be crazy. If God worked like that how could anyone move forward? Are we not all sinners? Do we all not fall so short of where God wants us to be?
 
If life is not going the way it should then pray. Pray for God to save you. Pray for God to show you all you need to improve on. Pray for God to give you the courage to endure and the wisdom to move forward. But if you cannot think of how to improve, or if you stumble after trying so hard to overcome one sin in your life…. will God keep hitting you until you get it??
 
If there were a sin in your life you knew about but would rather justify or ignore than deal with than that is different. In fact, there will be many who will tell you this is the case as others can pick up the appearance of evil in yourself better than you can… but only you and God can truly know your heart.
 
If you know of sin in your life, deal with it! Even if you fail at dealing with it, keep trying to deal with it! Pray to God for help, He is very reliable when it comes to dealing with temptations! But if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong. If you can’t think of how you can do any better in your old weakness. Should you be beating yourself up on how you cannot move forward?
 
Does God’s plan rest on your shoulders? Does God’s plan rely on you having the purity of a saint? Does God’s plan require you to have a greater strength than any other human in the world?
 
God does not ask you to be perfect to complete His plans. In fact the Bible says many times that you never will be perfect.
 
It is not our goal to be perfect and lead His plans. It is our goal to follow Him!
 
God has used liars, cheaters, murderers, and lunatics. Idiots, cowards, the depressed, and the anxious. God CAN use you. God WILL use you. Realize your current circumstances does not rest on your shoulders alone. It is God who will decide what and when your rescue will be. And He will do all things for His glory and your good. So trust in Him!
 
Amen

Fighting the True Enemy

Do not spend your life fighting people. It is exhausting and a waste of time.
 
Are people ideals? I have never met an ideal person in my life! We are so much more complex than that.
 
Ideals are. People choose. But as we choose we change how we see this world.
 
We do not change what truth is, for truth is only truth no matter if you see it or not. But as we accept one thing or another, aspects of the truth becomes easier and harder to see.
 
No aspect is easier to see than the faults of those around us. No aspect is harder to see than the faults within ourselves.
 
We are slaves bound to our beliefs. There is no helping or changing that. But as far as slaves go, we are given more freedom than most. We are slaves who can choose our master (though our current master may fight a bit before they let us go)
 
But throughout it all, no matter what belief we serve, or aspect we chase after. We are still, and always will be humans just like EVERY one else. Our perspective is limited. We overlook important consequences to our actions every day.
 
Did Disney make films with the intentions of telling girls to be bound to misery until some man comes along to save you enthralled by your beauty? NO! He wrote movies to inspire children to dream, in a day and age where dreams were considered worthless and the future looked grim and hopeless.
 
Was candy invented to create a world of obese, and unhealthy children? No! It was made to give children something they enjoyed and would want.
 
And yes I will go there. In WWII, there were many unforgivable and inhuman things done, but did Germany turn to Hitler because they wanted to get together and torture Jews and Gypsies, as well as several other types of people? NO! They were won over by talks of the financial suffering inflicted upon them by the treaty of Versailles, and the Jews and Gypsies were used as scape goats, with books upon books of biased stats and reports showing how they were the cause of the world’s problems and suffering through conspiracies and manipulation…. much like what we talk about our scape goats of current day.
 
Does this mean that these people were justified in their actions? That we should celebrate and support their beliefs because they originally meant well?
 
STOP TREATING THIS WORLD AS BLACK AND WHITE! You’ve spent 60-some years now protesting and parading about how this world has many shades to it! Support the belief yourselves!
 
Bad things happened. Some by innocent mistake, some by the slippery slope of throwing away morals.
 
BUT HERE IS THE POINT!
 
The bad things we do are not ingrained in who we are. They are not part of so many rotten spots that you have to throw away the entire apple.
 
We come to accept one lie, like we are wiser than anyone else. We are more important than anyone else. We are capable of things the rest of the world is not. We have to protect ourselves as the entire world is against us. An entire people live with the only purpose to conspire against us. The world is scared of us. Etc
 
Once that lie takes root. Other falsities begin to sprout from it.
 
Creatures evolve from survival of the fittest -> If only the fittest bred it would probably cause a species to evolve faster -> Clearly we are the genetically advanced race because we understand this and I know we’re pretty strong -> We should avoid having children with lesser genetic samples -> In fact we should keep other genetic samples from having children altogether! -> in fact why are we wasting our important medical supplies on people who are genetic wastes. Why do we even treat them as humans when we’re their genetic superiors. Let’s just kill the trash and be done with it for the sake of the world!
 
This isn’t made up. This is the thought process that led to a giant number of deaths in WWII… and the scariest part of all is that up until that last segment, it wasn’t just Germany, it was all of Western culture taking part. This is the power of justification. This is the power of blinding ourselves to our own actions by focusing only on those we consider our enemies.
 
But at the same time. All the evil that was done, sprouted from one, strong, deeply rooted lie.
 
“We are better than others.”
 
This one lie is the root of much of the most evil deeds done in this world, though it comes in many unique flavours.
 
“We are genetically superior to others!”
“We are morally better than others!”
“We are less manipulated than others!”
“We are religiously better than others!”
“We are bloodline wise better than others!”
“We are monetarily shrewder than others!”
“We are patriotically better than others!”
“We are politically better than others!”
 
The list goes on, but the root is all the same. It’s the belief that you are justified in your actions because you are better than those around you. But if you can cut off that root…. the rest of your arguments falter.
 
If you are not better than others, than why should you not help them?
If you are not better than others, then what right do you have to attack or abuse them?
If you are not better than others, why should all focus be about you?
If you are not better than others, why should you force them to do what you do? Encourage them yes, but force them??
 
We all focus on the external battles alone. Those who start mobs. Wars fought. Murders done. Mistreatments made…. but in each person in each physical war… there has been an internal war they are fighting.
 
The aggressors in a physical war are always the losers and victims of their own internal war. And believe it or not, they are already suffering for it!
 
Pity the racist, for they miss out on the pleasure and wisdom of so much of this world!
Pity the sexist because they will never benefit from the wisdom and abilities of the opposite gender!
Pity the anarchist, because they have locked themselves in a world where they believe themselves to be the only person who will ever look out for themselves!
Pity the vigilante, because they have found themselves trapped in an ever growing lust for greater and greater suffering for those they call their enemies. It is a world where the hate you throw at your enemies begins to pale to the disgust you find in yourself.
 
People are not your enemy! This world is not so simple as that! Fight against people and you will not stop their cause. You will simply strengthen their resolve. They will tell themselves that this world needs people like them all the more because people like you exist!
 
Realize you are targeting their ideals. Ideals that have been founded by a stem that has taken root!
 
The stem of a plant is the furthest down and thus the hardest to find, but it is also thinnest, and easiest to cut.
 
Attack the twigs and branches, and you will spend your lifetime pruning away. Attack the stem, and the whole plant will fall over in one fell swoop.
 
But more than anything. Realize you are human as well.
 
DO NOT tell yourself you are better than them simply because you cannot understand their most topical actions.
DO NOT tell yourself they are less than human because of what they have done.
DO NOT tell yourself you are justified in doing whatever you want with them because your cause is just and theirs is evil.
 
You are fighting ideals not people. If you become their ideal, to fight their ideal, you may have won the battle, but the war shall continue with you as the new enemy.
 
Finally, though I have said this many times, I find people need it spelt out as clearly as can be these days,
 
THIS IS NOT TO SAY ‘DO NOT STAND UP AGAINST EVIL!’
 
Evil will always be in this world. Evil will never be fully defeated. But we have a duty to stand up for those who are hurt and to protect them, and fight to build a better future.
 
What this IS to say is that if you truly want to fight evil, and not just fulfill a vindictive buzz, make sure you target the true enemy, and not just the little grunts who follow him.
 
News flash for you. Your enemy doesn’t care how many of his puppets you abuse or torture. Actually it makes him delighted to see you turning over to his side!
 
You are in the middle of a war. It is a much bigger war than most people ever live to realize. If you want to keep fighting puppets and meat bags, you will only find yourself overwhelmed and then taken to the side you thought you hated the most. But if you cut off the supply routes, build up defenses, and show the grunt soldiers the lies they were told about you were false, you will watch as your enemies begin to collapse, imploding one after another.
 
This is not a simple schoolyard fight. This is war.

When Your Best Gives You Nothing

What do you do when God doesn’t answer prayer?
 
What do you do when your best falls flat?
 
If you were being lazy, or not willing to give up a problematic vice, then at least you would have the comfort of believing you could dig yourself out of your current circumstances if only you kick your butt into gear…. but what if you’re already doing everything you can think of?
 
Now I don’t mean to say you’re doing everything perfect, because let’s admit it… we’re human beings. Our perspective is so limited that there’s no way we can figure out every possible answer… but if you’re praying, reading your bible, addressing weak areas, looking to others for advice, grabbing opportunities as you see them, making opportunities when you can’t see any, addressing areas you keep putting off, throwing yourself out there, and trying to stay open to where you are weak.
 
Not that you are doing it perfectly, but that you are giving it the best effort that you can.
 
We like to believe that as long as you put in enough effort, things will go our way. That anyone who doesn’t seem to keep up, is clearly not giving it their all… but there are also times when life just stinks.
 
When you give out resumes but they all fall through
Where you network with others but are quickly overlooked
Where you advertise but are immediately overshadowed
Where you budget, but unexpected experiences come up
Where you give the quality but have no fame
Where you try new things, but fall through
Where you give your best effort, but are slower than those who slack off
Where you fight through pain, but it doesn’t matter since you can’t bring results
Where you look for advice, and hear only what you already know
Where you look for comfort, but can not find understanding
 
There are times where you long to move forward but you no longer know what forward looks like.
Where if you panic and try anything, you’ll end up somewhere worse, but if you hold out and stay, things will fall apart anyways
 
So what do you do when human logic is clueless?
What do you do when human effort fails?
What do you do when the path forward is not clear?
What do you do when there’s no explanation for how badly things keep working out?
 
You pray. You pray. You pray.
 
When people ask me what I’m doing and I say I am praying… I do not say that to mean I don’t do anything on my own. No. I apply for jobs, I sell my wares and services, I seek opportunities, I look for ways to improve my weaknesses, to grow my skillset, to improve my existing one. I budget, rebudget, and rebudget again. I seek advice, learn from others, make connections.
 
Yes, I do all the things I can think of to do, but I tell you now that all those things in and of themselves are worthless if that is what you think what will save you.
 
Even if my odds of failure are 10000:1, if the Lord is still holding me back to teach me, then that 1 time will hit every time. If I were going by worldly standards I’d have nothing to say but that my luck is horrible…. but because I know God I can say I am still learning and growing.
 
So what? Has God abandoned me? Am I just sitting by waiting for judgement to come?
 
No! I would not say that at all!
 
I stand on a battlefield with thousands of enemies, and three giants have been approaching me closer and closer. They are giants who wish to kill me. They are giants I cannot defeat. They are giants I have prayed ceaselessly for months for God to save me from. They are giants who continue to remain untouched.
 
So where is God? What happened to my hope? Are my prayers so useless? Is it wrong for me to want? Is it wrong for me to hope? Is it wrong for me to ask? Am I just abandoned? Are my prayers defective??
 
It is true that the giants remain untouched…. and if the giants were all I looked at, then yes. I would say I had been abandoned… And yet… God has been at work…. He has been slaying countless enemies one by one. Enemies I have put off dealing with for far too long. Enemies who had weakened me. Enemies who had held me back.
 
I am still no match for the giants before me. No matter how strong God makes me, there is no way that I can save myself. But why would God take time to repair a ship He intended to let an approaching storm destroy? In that I can find encouragement, when all that lies before me is despair.
 
Now I want to take a moment to say, that I am not saying this as one who knows he will be saved. To tell you honestly, I’ve had my prayers unanswered time and time again…. it shames me to say there are days when I almost feel expectant that I will be ignored again… I have no proof that God will not let me drown. That God will not let me be attacked. That I won’t come out of this beaten beyond recognition.
 
But I do not serve God because He can save me. Were He to abandon me to my fate, were heaven itself to be not true. I would still have to serve Him. I do not serve God for what I get out of it. I serve God for He is God!
 
But Because I serve Him I ask Him. Because I serve Him I know His love for us. Because I serve Him I feel the courage to ask. Not because of what I deserve. But because He loves me enough to listen to my concerns. Because He loves me enough that He will provide and protect.
 
However, if I am to fail… my one regret would be that I am sure there would be those who would look at me and say “After all the talking he did! This is his result??” and believe God to be a fake. Or even worse! Those in the church who would say “We tried to warn him. God only helps those who take initiative. God only helps those who lead the way.” and use it to solidate such beliefs within their minds.
 
I will confess I would love to be saved. I don’t like hurting every day. I don’t like being scared at all times. The chains around my neck choke me to the point I feel I can hardly breathe. But more than anything… since God has brought me this far, I would love to be able to show the world what faith in Him can do.
 
I know there are many who read these posts, even when there are few who seem to like or comment. I get stopped from time to time from people who thank me, whether they agree with me or not, for giving them something to think about, and it makes me glad.
 
But I can rattle off philosophy, theology, economics, observations, and theories for as long as I can breathe…. but even still, there is no greater witness than to live your faith out to the fullest.
 
These last 5 years have been rough. These last 3 months have been murder…. but if there can be any good to come from my suffering, I want it to be this.
 
I want people to see what it means to choose to have faith. And more importantly I want people to see what wonders God can do with it.
 
Amen

Follow Him

Why is this world so scary?
 
Why do we hold so much fear?
 
What job will we have?
What will they think of us?
Will I get in trouble for this?
Will this work?
Will I have enough money to pay my bills this month?
Will I end up on the streets?
Will I lose everything I own?
Will I go bankrupt?
Will I live my life single?
Will they be offended?
Will they be disappointed in me?
Will they scold me again?
Will I lose support?
What if I get sick?
What if another emergency comes up?
 
We take worry after worry upon ourselves. We lose sleep and energy over obsessing over them. We go to great lengths to knock out as many threats as we can… but to what end?
 
You can give life your best to the point of exhaustion and depression, but if God so wills in, you will be accused of being a slacker.
 
You can apply to thousands of jobs, with a perfect resume, and wonderfully supported cover letter, but if God so wills it you will continue being overlooked and picked over for people with better smiles
 
You can be supportive and wise, but unless it’s the time God permits, you will only ever be considered “Just a friend.”
 
You can search the wisest people for direction and advice, but unless God inspires them, they will just tell you what you’ve already known and have already been working on as if it is the “Save all Answer”
 
You can live like a monk and save what pennies you can, but unless God protects you, all it takes is one scam, one unexpected crisis, and you’ll find yourself even deeper in the hole.
 
You can obsess over self care, taking all sorts of medicines, avoiding things you’re weak at, and exercising to grow stronger, but unless God watches over you, in three seconds you can have an accident that will ruin everything.
 
We are not on this earth to please others. We are not on this earth to protect/provide for ourselves. We are not on this earth to show the best business practices, wisest lifestyle choices, or best relationship advice.
 
We are here to follow God where He leads. To show what He can do through us. To show how He defies all logic. How to the world His logic is madness, but to Him their wisdom is meaningless.
 
At the end of the day, do not worry about the hundreds of thousands of people you must keep happy in order to follow God. In the end you are only responsible for following Him. If people get angry at you, it is because He let that happen in your life. If you go through loss, it’s because He let it happen. But do not be sidetracked trying to appease the many voices that come at you from all sides. Focus only on following God! He is able to restore all that you have lost and more. He is able to protect you no matter where you go. He is able to provide for you, no matter what you have. He can do more with nothing than you could do with everything.
 
Follow Him so you can have no shame. No matter what others say. No matter how they misinterpret you. No matter how they judge you from your state of life, not what you are doing. Realize God is the judge. God is the provider. That there is nothing you can accomplish without Him. So cling to Him, follow Him. Trust in Him
 
Amen

The Prodigal Son(s)

I was doing some thinking on “The Prodigal Son” today and it made me realize a few things that I often have just accepted and overlooked.
 
1. There are two sons… I know this is obvious, but when you think about it a bit more you start to realize the implications of this.
 
This was just a story Jesus made up. There was no facts to keep up with. Everything in the story was in it for a reason. So why include a second son? Was it just to show that we shouldn’t be envious when those who seem to do less than us seem to get more? Was it to show the outrage that it was the YOUNGEST son who demanded inheritance? Or was there something more to this? Was it just to show how the father loved both sons equally?
 
From a writing point of view, the two sons are very much foils to one another. While we don’t know for certain, it seems to be insinuated that while one felt entitled to ask for everything in spite of doing nothing, the other seemed to give his best without asking for anything (which is why he seems to be so upset when the younger brother comes back and gets so much more than he has)
 
To put it another way… I see many times in the church today, two types of Christians. The first treat God as their personal genie.
 
“ASK GOD AND CALL THIS HOTLINE AND YOU CAN HAVE A RICH HOME, BEAUTIFUL WIFE, AND ALL THE MATERIAL THINGS YOU WANT!”
 
The other side I see however, are people who see that first side and are so (rightfully) appalled at what they see that they go to the other extreme and feel they carry the weight of this world on their backs.
 
“God helps those who help themselves. God will support you but YOU have to do the grunt work. For miracles to happen you have to MAKE them happen! If you feel God calling you one way then make a business plan of how you’ll make it work and if you can’t well… maybe you aren’t hearing God right or maybe He means in like… 60 years or something.”
 
And that also doesn’t work… On the lighter end of things, God DOES want us to ask Him and for us to rely on Him. He says it time and time again in the Bible. On the darker side of things however… people who try to force God’s hand often regret it.
 
What happened when Saul tried to force God to protect them in battle because HE thought it was the right choice? What happened to Abraham when he tried to have a kid another way because HE thought he was running out of time and HE had to make God’s will happen? What happened to Peter when he fought against the Roman guards because HE thought that HE needed to protect God to keep God’s will happening? What happened to random person who tried to catch the arc of the covenant from falling because HE thought that it would break if HE didn’t intercede??”
 
We are so used to the bible telling us that these people did wrong that we tend to villainize them and make them appear so much weaker than we are in our eyes… when the truth is, it’s SO easy to do!
 
“God said for me to do ____ but I see no path forward. I should try to get my life together and THEN follow Him.”
 
“God put this cause on my heart, but I need to make ends meet this month, so maybe I’ll write a note to send them money or time when I can afford it.”
 
“God really put that person on my heart right now…. but they’re so radical liberal, and I’m with my incredibly extremely conservative friend right now… so I should try to find them later on.”
 
I’m not the one who can say what is the right answer or wrong answer in situations such as these…. but what I can say is how easy it is to out-logic God’s will and justify turning back… because sometimes…. often…. most times God asks us to do crazy things!
 
Which leads to point 2
 
2. It was never about what the brothers had or didn’t have.
 
The younger brother asked for the inheritance…. and here’s the crazy part… he got it! The younger brother complained about the younger brother getting a crazy party when he came home when he still had so little.
 
The thing that I realized from this, was that it was never about what they had or didn’t have.
 
The younger brother had stuff in abundance…. yet he failed. Why? Because he was living life as HE saw fit, (which brings us back to what I was talking about before)
 
It doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have. What matters is what God can do with it and if you are going to trust God with it!
 
He defeated an army with clay pots and torches. He toppled a giant with a kid and a smooth stone. He protected a nation with a talking donkey… owned by the person who was going to curse said nation in the first place. He fed 5000 with a few loaves of bread and some fish. He created mankind out of dust and some breath. He created the whole of reality out of nothing! Whatever you have or don’t have, GOD CAN USE IT!
 
It’s not about what you’ve been provided with. It’s about what you trust God to do with it, because even if you have nothing, God can do everything! And even if you have everything, you can still waste it all and accomplish nothing.