Have you ever just wanted to give God a call? I'm talking about having an actual number from Him in your contacts, digits to dial up when you're ready to pray. Have you ever just wanted to hear His audible response from the other line when you start asking the hard questions?
#1: What are You doing?!
Or, better yet,
#2: Why aren't You doing anything?!
Because, I don't know about you, but in the day we're living in...
I'd love to have a nice chit chat with Father God.
The good news is that...we CAN, (and we don't even need a phone to do it)! We can pray to Him wherever we're at in life—no matter the place, no matter the time. But, it's much harder to do so when you believe that God is too weak to handle hard conversations. Even further, when you think you have to filter your prayers through these emotionless, desensitized cliches in fear of not wanting to offend Him. That's what trips many of us up. We don't pray because we don't think we have the right words to say, that we don't have the only prayer God wants to hear. Yet, you may be shocked to read that God can handle messy prayers, that He doesn't flinch when your prayers aren't the cleanest or the clearest, chaotic and imperfect. He can handle angry prayers, short prayers, loud prayers, quiet prayers, and the type of prayer I want to talk about this month?
Oh yeah, readers.
This month, we're getting real.
How many of you have ever doubted God? It could've been skepticism towards His goodness, His power, even His entire existence. I know I have! And, it's when I would pray those prayers when I would realize that God's power doesn't weaken at my many question marks.
And, thank goodness that it doesn't! Because if it did, with the way I've doubted Him, God wouldn't have much power left! But, if you want the truth, it's tempting to doubt God's power—especially in times like today.
I mean, look at what's been happening! People have died. Families have been split up. Businesses have gone bankrupt. People are getting angrier, less patient, and more aggressive. It doesn't look like God is doing...anything!
And, should we even talk about the situations people are dealing with OUTSIDE of the virus—before the spread even began? What about all of those who were dealing with depression long before the pandemic? What about those who were grieving? The students who were struggling in school already—what about them? Should I even get into those who deal with the fear of death?
The list can go on & on & on. It kind of makes you wonder...
Is God...ignoring us?
Does He not see what's going on? Shouldn't He be moving with a sense of urgency? I mean, come on! People are dying down here, Lord! Don't You care? Because if You really cared, wouldn't You have this mess cleaned up by now? Don't You want to deliver us from this? Can You? Well, if You can...why DON'T You?!?
And, for those of you who aren't afraid to admit it, you would confess that not only are these questions that have run through your mind at some point, but they are also prayers you've been too afraid to pray.
I'll say it again:
God can handle you asking these questions in prayer. Don't forget: He's a lot stronger than you think. But, if you want to talk about questions, readers, this is a good one:
If God does do what we hope He will do in our lives, would we love Him just as much if He didn't?
Because, however we answer that question reveals a whole lot about our faith.
It kind of reminds me of the scene in Daniel 3 of The Bible. Three heroes (I call them) Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego were faced with death by fire, solely because of their refusal to worship the gods their culture worshipped. And, their response to their imminent death in verses 17 and 18 blow my mind every time I study it. Read their response to the king who wanted to kill them here:
"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."
...I think we all can agree:
Their response is mind-blowing.
But, perhaps the only way we can see how amazing their response truly is is if we understand the context given in verse 15. The king asks them this:
"...what god will be able to rescue you from my power?"
And, that is an excellent question, which thankfully, the three men knew the answer to. In verse 17, they reveal that God is indeed able to save them, and we read later on in the chapter that He does! But, verse 18 is where their true, unshakable, and incredible faith is revealed:
"But even if He doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."
Heavy emphasis on the "...even if He doesn't."
This statement alone reveals something powerful about strong faith:
It's not really about the questions we have, but about the response we give.
Because many of us are wondering if that same God still exists today, that the God who delivers people from fiery furnaces can also deliver from global pandemics, job loss, depression, heartbreak, addiction. Or, some of us may believe that God will do it, but after staring at these things so long in the face, begin to wonder "...won't He?"
But, just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose to serve God even if He didn't do what they were believing Him to do, I don't know about you, but I want to be able to remain firm in my faith in that way too.
I want to have a faith so strong that even when I feel like God isn't listening, even when I feel like He isn't answering any of my calls, even when He doesn't do what I've been asking Him to do, I never want my hallelujah to die out.
Because even while I was still a sinner, He died for me. Even while I couldn't do anything for Him, He did it all for me. So, when my faith asks, "Won't He do what we're praying for Him to do?" it's strong enough to believe that He will. But, even if He doesn't, I want my faith to lie on the sole basis of who He is and not what He can do for me.
For, as I walk through more troubles and face more obstacles, the testimony in Daniel 3 tells me this:
Nothing beats an "even-if-He-doesn't" kind of faith.