Hmmm. So I have a lot on my mind right now, I think I should start with what we discussed in 4him last night/evening/afternoon.
Basically, Steve spoke on a simple idea: “what is God to you?”. We all got into small groups and we wrote down our ideas. Then we put all the ideas on the whiteboard. Things like Head of Household, Bodyguard, GPS, Entertainer, Provider, Mr. Fix-it, and the like were examples we had.
Now, Steve said one very important thing: “many people think of God like a Vending Machine,” and while I don’t, I don’t and I don’t think I’ve treated like a Vending Machine that much (I probably have, but I can’t remember specific instances). One thing that he said is we’ll pray things like, “God, help me pass this test.” And I realized that I don’t think I’ve ever prayed that. My prayers involving tests and exams have never been, “give me knowledge I don’t have,” its always been, “give me the ability to use that knowledge. No freak outs or panic attacks.” (Which I have all the time. In times of emergency I have a tendency to panic and freak out. It’s a bad habit I need to break).
Anyways… that lead onto the idea of pray in general. Why do we pray? Well because we are supposed to ask God for things we want. He told us to. But why? God is sovereign and he already knows what we do or don’t need. So why pray? And it’s a good question. I don’t think I have an answer for it but I think it does have to do with the nature of God.
Why do we exist? The Westminster Shorter Catechism says to “Worship God and Enjoy Him Forever.” I disagree. And I think most of the leaders in 4him disagree as well. We exist to have a relationship with God. In a relationship you communicate. You talk to each other. God talks to me and tells me His plans for my life and I talk to him and ask questions about those plans. He tells me He’ll give me stuff to help me achieve His plans, etc. Even though he doesn’t need to be told that we need stuff or that we want stuff or whatever, God still wants us to tell him because well… in a relationship you communicate.
I think the best thing Steve said during his talk was he asked a very common question, “why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people?” Or at least a variation thereof. Its another question that I don’t think anyone is able to answer. Why is it that some people are born blind and others have better than perfect vision? Why is it that I have friends who are super smart, and others who are average or even below average? Again I can say that God is Sovereign and there are things that we cannot understand because we are mere mortals and don’t have the worldview that God has. But also I think I need to remind people that we live in a Fallen world and until Jesus comes again it will remain that way. God did save us from Hell, but this planet and this existence (weird to say but accurate I suppose) still remains in its depraved state. As such we’ll have trials and tribulations and problems. God made it very clear that, if anything, following God in this life will only make it more difficult (shouldering a cross? Those things are big and heavy!). It might not be “fair” that your brother or whatever had something horrible happen to him or her but God never said he’d make life fair.
So yes… that’s kinda what we discussed at 4him yesterday.