I have some friends who are struggling with problems in their lives. Where I live, the economy is weak and people are losing their jobs, and a good friend is losing a business. The process of closing the doors and trying to pay debts is painful to watch. I am a Christian, and I pray for my friends, but the problems are still with us.
Is God ignoring us? Is there a reason why we can’t have a miracle?
In the Jewish religion there is a debate called “Holocaust Theology.” After millions of innocent people were killed, in terrible places like Auschwitz, religious Jews started asking ‘Where was God?” They want to know why God did not stop the atrocities against his chosen people.
- RELATED: How could God have allowed the Holocaust?: Huffington Post
I don’t want to be a comfortable Christian, telling those people now, what they should have done differently many years ago. No one wants an armchair quarterback, but we can all relate to the problem, that our problems don’t always go away when we pray.
So, what if God doesn’t help us?
I had my own experience, when I left high-school. Today I am a high-school drop out because I did not graduate; I still need a few more credits to graduate. That was a big part of my problem. My plan was to go to university, and to make a new life for myself. Neither of my parents went to high-school, and we were not a rich family, so I was insecure and moving into unknown territory.
In school, I completed all the courses I needed and left in December, and I started working in January, to pay my university tuition in September. If you are wondering, the university only wanted a record of courses, they didn’t care if I had a diploma.
I was a naive boy from some bad schools in the public system, the black-board jungle. We had problems with drug dealers and criminal violence in my schools, and I left as a survivor. I’m not exaggerating any of that.
Then I started my first job. A man in our church put in a good word for me, and I was hired as the delivery boy for a shop that repaired construction equipment. Here’s a sample of went wrong: The pay was very low. The winter weather was cold and the days were short; I traveled to and from home on transit buses, in darkness. I had to drive all day on icy roads, and I hardly knew how to drive. The other workers were abusive to the new kid; they shouted and swore at me all day, every day, and often threatened to fire me. I stayed because I knew I would lose my dream of university and a new life, if I quit. That time was much worse than what I just reported. I have only given you a sample of my problems.
In summary, this is what happened: I remember standing at a bus stop on a cold snowy day, and asking God to help me with my life. I know a believer puts their faith in God, and that is a personal decision. I didn’t join a religious tribe or football team when I became a Christian. I made a personal decision.
That was when my troubles started. I lived for eight months through my personal ‘perfect storm.’ Every fear and insecurity in my life was amplified and served to me, every day, and the stress began to make me physically sick. I was able to tolerate the abuse until the end of August, when I quit and enrolled in university. Strangely, my boss was angry. He wanted me to stay and operate an industrial roller welder, and they were going to pay me five dollars an hour. He swore at me, and promised me that I would never make it at university. I think now, that they couldn’t find anyone else who would work for them. Other people quit, and the whole company went out of business a few years later.
So where was God in my young life? I think I know now.
When I prayed, at that bus stop, in the snow, I was a naive boy with no skills for my adult life. Eight months later, I was a young man with a foundation in my life. If my life was a house, I wanted God to decorate the upper floors with new curtains and wall paper, and instead He sent a crew to the basement to work on the foundation. That is what I needed, but not what I wanted.
It’s all in the Bible. Jesus told us “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7: 24 and 25)
That seems like a good idea, until you live it. Foundation work is painful.
And I agree with the Jewish leaders who look at the Holocaust and say “Where was man?” The worst things that were done to those suffering people, could have been resisted. God made us the answer, but the Allies had other priorities, during the war. Also, an evil thing is never good but it might produce something good. The Holocaust was a foundation for the nation of Israel; today those people have a sense of focus and determination that they did not have before.
If you are asking God for something important in your life, I encourage you to keep asking. Just don’t be surprised if the repair work starts in the basement, and the attractive decorating comes later. We are praying to a source of wisdom that is much higher than us.
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11: 33 to 36)