When God Answers
I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:10-11
A businessman, late for an important meeting, could not find a parking place. Finally, in desperation, he cried out to God: “If you’ll help me find a parking place, I will start going to church again.” Immediately, a car exited in front of him. While pulling into the now open space the man said, “Never mind. I found one!”
What is our response when God answers prayer? Honestly, I think most of us are reluctant to believe God answers prayer because it is safer to believe things happen randomly. Who am I that God would bless my life? We are more likely to note when God does not answer prayer – at least not in the way or the time we wished. Even the most optimistic of us find it easier to believe the unfortunate occurrences in life are more the “norm” than are the good things. It is as if we believe the good in life is an anomaly that will be paid for with bad – a self-fulfilling prophesy that seems to prove its own truth. In his book Immortal Diamond, Fr. Richard Rohr writes, “Humans find it easier to gather their energy around death, pain, and problems than around joy…It is joy that we hold lightly and victimhood that we grab onto.” Why would that be true? Why do I focus on the weeds in my flowerbeds instead of the brilliant colors shining out through the weeds?
Why am I surprised when good things happen to me? Why would I question whether the hand of God is at work in my life? As a father, it is expected that I care for my children in good ways – why would I expect less from God. If we are children of God, as the Bible says, why would we receive anything short of extraordinary blessings from God?
We cheat ourselves by not stopping to enjoy a beautiful sunset or by marveling at the dahlias peeking out through the crabgrass. We do others and ourselves a disservice by submitting to pessimism, under the guise of “realism,” expecting the worst. We are to be co-creators of beauty, not prognosticators of doom. Sometimes, we must force ourselves to find the blessings of every moment, believing they are there. Where we focus our attention is a choice. The writer of Ecclesiastes follows the verses above by saying, “I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live.” These are still solid words to guide our days, thousands of years after they were written. God has made everything suitable for its time. Looking for a blessing in life? Look closer – blessings are all around us, all of the time.
Come home to church this Sunday and be blessed.