I sometimes look back and I’m tempted to believe that the poverty that we grew up under gave us the time and chance to believe in God, in hope that we were going to come out of our situation rather than developing and having a relationship with Him. I later discovered after many years of not seeing any significant change in our ‘needs’ department that despite the stagnancy in that realm our knowledge and love for Him and His word grew to greater heights over the years.
Then there came a time when I was old enough to ask questions. One question that really stuck out amongst all the other questions I had was me questioning the real value behind following a God who seems to ‘intentionally’ overlook our real needs and just keeps on protecting us and supplying our needs with just about enough for the day every time we pray to him. At this point allow me to share a real story about two ladies who lived next door to each other on a block of flats. Lady one was a non believer in God, an atheist, and lady two was a born again child of God and had 2 kids. The non Christian lady also had a kid, but as life normally happens she had all that she needed, but no so with the Christian lady, she was struggling without a job and lacking in every possible way. This lady prayed daily and in the process she would make her needs known to God as the Bible admonishes that we should do so with prayer and supplication and giving thanks to God. See Phil 4:6 ‘Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.’ [KJV]
This went on for many days without any significant change except for the normal ‘familiar’ interventions that the lady had gotten used to. And then one day something began to happen and it would last for a long time. The Christian lady was praying as usual one evening and after prayer she went out and to her amazement besides her door there was a neatly packed parcel that attracted her attention. She picked it up as if knowing that it was meant for her and she took it and went back inside her flat. She opened it and inside she found warm dinner, some clothes, and the exact sizes for her and her kids. This was her first real miracle in her Christian walk. She thanked God and they had dinner. The next day she gave her testimony to her Church folk and it was affirmed that a miracle had really taken place. This went on for the next days as a series of similar miracles happened until they became part of her family’s daily routine. By the end of the month the lady and her kids were living a fully supplied life lacking in nothing.
One Saturday morning the Christian lady saw her atheist neighbour and decided that at last she was going to tell her about her miracles and challenge her to make a decision for Jesus. She has previously witnessed to her but the lady simply told her that she did not believe in the existence of God. They went inside her neighbours flat and she began to tell her about the goodness of the Lord, how he had been supplying her family’s need for the past month, and how this God can save anybody who believes in Him. She challenged the atheist to make a decision right there on the spot. In response lady looked her straight in the face and challenged her to prove that all these miracles were really from God. The Christians stood on her testimony that God did these things in response to her prayer as He promised in His word. The atheist lady asked her to keep quite because she too, wanted to tell her something she did not know. She told her that “every time you prayed to your God you did it so loud that I could not help to ignore your desperate cries and seeing that your God was not coming through for you I decided to step in and help you”. There was silence for a while and the believer in God could not respond as the atheist gave a detailed description of the menu and the sizes and colours of all that she ‘supplied’ them with when their God did nothing about their case.
When it was time for the Christian to respond she looked the neighbour squarely in the face and told her; now I know that God can use anyone and anything in order to accomplish whatever He wants to. And she told the atheist; ‘now you know that God does not really care about how people feel about Him, I prayed to Him, He spoke to you and you actually heard Him, How much more do you still want to hear so that you can follow Him? It is said that on that day she gave her heart to Jesus and was in Church the next day. And in her own words she described the experience as: ‘the closest I have ever been to God was during that month of being used by Him’. My question at this point is does God really care about how we feel like? Does He want to supply our needs? I mean I know what His word says. Psalm 23; Philippians 4:19; Deuteronomy 8 and many other scriptures. Is there something else that we need to do over and above reading, believing and confessing the scriptures, which will give us that ‘experiential’ truth behind these promises?
Can the scriptures really become a reality beyond doubt? Or are we just trying hard enough to meet God half way? All these questions fill the hearts of many of us, but only a few dare ask them because the kind of God that we have been introduced to is an unquestionable God who does things His way and expects us to just continue singing ‘it is well with my soul’ even when we know that it is not. The kind of God I have come to know is the one who throws the challenge to His children daring them to. ‘Come, let us reason together’. I am not a ‘prayer warrior’ but rather a child who has conversations with God, his father on a full time basis. Thinking of what He promised, why He promised and for how long does He remain committed to these promises. In this way I have made progress faster than most Christians simply because rather than praying to God I talk to him about these things. To be continued. MVK