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A Philosophical Question: What about when God doesn’t answer prayer …

[Warning: This post reflects my own personal opinions/views!]  Higher Ways – Steven Curtis Chapman

So I prayed that it wouldn’t snow (so our tiny [in the scheme of things] quizzing night could go ahead smoothly) and others like Mr Baldwin’s young daughter prayed that it would! The cartoon above is an interesting one simply because it’s often these little things (these unanswered prayers – big or small) that are the reason that people stop believing! I once asked a Year 8 kid why he (a once Christian) now called himself an Atheist – his response – because he once prayed for Chelsea to win, and they didn’t! (which confirmed, in his mind, that there was no God or even if there was a God He wasn’t worth believing in)  There are so many people who feel just like Calvin, only they have prayed for things much more important than a few inches of snow (or for no snow!). I can’t help but think of Charles Darwin – who started off  in Cambridge studying to become  an Anglican clergyman and a believer in the literal truth of the Bible. He learnt John Herschel’s science which, like William Paley’s natural theology, sought explanations in laws of nature rather than miracles and saw adaptation of species as evidence of design

He had ten children: two died in infancy, and his darling daughter Annie’s death at the age of ten had a devastating effect on him. In 1849, Anne caught scarlet fever along with her two sisters, and her health thereafter declined; some authorities believe that she suffered from tuberculosis. I imagine he must have prayed …

… but she died.

Truth is – God always answers prayer. In His [Higher] way. Ways that we aren’t always likely to understand with our pea-brains. Also, we don’t get to dictate how life pans out – but I’d like to think we are right to ask, and pray and trust. (even for the small things). That’s what it means to be in relationship. It’s one thing to trust God when he answers our prayers (big or small) but it’s an even greater thing to trust/praise him when he doesn’t.

Our quiz is a tiny thing in the huge arena of far more important events/incidents, but the philosophical implications associated with any sort of hope/request/prayer are interesting to consider …

Higher Ways – Steven Curtis Chapman great song [lyrics] by Steven Curtis Chapman

If I could only fly
I’d go up and look down from the sky
So I could see the bigger picture
And Lord if I could sit with You
At Your feet for an hour or two
I’m sure I’d ask too many questions
‘Cause there’s so much going on down here
That I must confess I just don’t understand

BRIDGE
But I have prayed
And at your feet my whole life has been laid
So I wont worry I wont be afraid
‘Cause my soul is resting on Your higher ways
Let the road ahead become unclear
I am Yours so what have I to fear
If my soul is resting on Your higher ways

CHORUS
Your higher ways teach me to trust You
Your higher ways are not like mine
Your higher ways are the ways of the Father
Hiding His children in His love

BRIDGE
So let it rain
And if my eyes grow dim with tears of pain
This hope I have will not be washed away
‘Cause my soul is resting on Your higher ways

Someday I will fly and
Maybe then You will take me aside
And show me the bigger picture
But until I’m with You
I’ll be here with a heart that is true
And a soul that’s resting on
Your higher ways

“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”
G. K. Chesterton quote
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November 30, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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