Our website, www.SowingSeedsofFaith.com receives hundreds of letters every month from people all over the world seeking prayer and advice on a wide variety of issues and problems. Many of those same issues directly effect and concern us all. So, my experiment this month is to share the questions and answers with the readers of this weekly column. Please write and let me know what you think.
Dear Larry: “I don’t believe in any God. I believe religion is for people who are too dumb to figure out this is all science.” Signed Chad
Dear Chad: If we religious people are so dumb, why did you waste your time surfing the internet bypassing thousands of science web sites until you came across “Sowing Seeds of Faith” which is clearly identified as a religious site. Plus, you must have read a few pages of my religious devotions. Why go to all that trouble just to say, “Religion is for those too dumb to understand science?”
Are you beginning to suspect limits to the answers science can reasonably give? Yes, scientists may eventually discover how the universe was made but will they ever understand “why?” until they know “who” created it and for what purpose? Unless, you believe creation is just a set of random events, like throwing parts in the air and “Shazam!” down comes a computer? And you say we’re dumb?
Why did you take the time to send this letter to me? At one time, did you desperately need God for a crisis and did not receive what you were seeking? Maybe a dear friend or loved one died despite your fervent prayers to God for a miracle? Were you the victim of a horrible tragedy? If so, I am sorry.
Job faced a tragedy and challenged God: “Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself, because I have some questions for you and you must answer them. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Do you know how its dimensions were determined and who did the surveying? What supports its foundations and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?’” (Job 38:1-7) Denying God’s existence is not the answer.
Chad… maybe you should be honest with yourself and think about this question sent by Mary.
Dear Larry: “My son-in law, Rich, went into the hospital for a liver transplant. I felt nothing could harm him. My daughter and I read scriptures every day. We fasted and memorized healing verses. Yet, he died three months later, leaving behind a son just six weeks old. I may not discover God’s plan but I believe He does have a plan. What troubles me is when ministers say, ‘If you believe God’s Word and claim your miracle… it will happen.’ Do we really have control over our miracles?” Signed Mary
Dear Mary: I am so sorry to hear about Rich’s death and I can certainly understand your pain and sense of loss. To answer your question: No, we do not have control over our miracles. I wish we did. Miracles are ultimately God’s choice, not ours. Think of it this way, if we could guarantee miracles, no one would ever die or become sick. Yet, we regularly feel pain, deal with tragedy and even face death.
So Larry, where is God when we cry out for help during times of tragedy?
The Apostle Paul wrote: “God is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5) God provides comfort.
As a minister, I’ve seen situations where people in Rich’s condition are physically healed but not often, which is why they are called miracles. My role is to demonstrate God’s comforting presence in the midst of pain and grief. Science will provide answers but not always the ones we need. What Chad and Mary seek only God can give: reassurance of hope and comfort. Paul continued, “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.” (4:16) Amen.