“God works in mysterious, inefficient, and breathtakingly cruel ways.” – Penn Jillette
I ran into a lady Saturday night at a party that I had heard had just changed jobs after working for the same company for almost 20 years. She was basically doing the same thing she had done before with just a different organization. Prying a little bit, I asked her why she decided to make a change this late in the game with retirement just a few years down the road. I expected her to say things like more money, more responsibility, a better working environment, etc. all the reasons you would suspect from someone basically making a lateral move. But she had a different reason, a more divine reason.
Now I have mentioned on more than one occasion that I live in a very conservative area, not Judge Roy Moore, Alabama, Westboro Baptist Church conservative, but for my taste still to far right. I hear on a daily basis about all the wonderful work God is doing in the lives of individuals that surround me. Great jobs, big houses, new cars, exotic vacations, yes God has blessed us. Health, wealth, kids got in to the right school, yes God has blessed us. And why did this lady change jobs after 20 years? She felt, no she believed, it was a change God wanted or maybe commanded her to make. Her logic was this, if God hadn’t wanted her to consider it why would He put the opportunity in front of her? Yes, she really said that.
I have learned over the years that there is no reason to debate with someone who makes a statement like this besides, we were at a party and there was nothing to gain by challenging her view. She, like many in our social circle, already think I am a liberal heathen and I didn’t need to provide her with more ammunition to justify that characterization of me. Also, I wanted to sleep in my own bed that night and if I pissed off “another person” with what I describe as my “good-natured curiosity” my wife would not have been very happy with me.
As I always say if your faith makes you kinder, more caring, less judgmental, and respectful of everything and everyone then go in peace. But in the back of mind I always wonder why God chooses to grace and bless a select few with material riches when so many others, people whose faith in the Almighty is just as strong and steadfast have their needs and wants go unfulfilled? The answer to this question is like the answer to so many answers about the Christian faith, there isn’t one.
At the Mission Church that I attend the pews are filled with the haves and have-nots. The haves have a home, a job, a car, food, clean clothes and health insurance. Most, like me, would believe that they Have not because God waved his magic wand over our heads but because of luck and circumstance, rights rather than some divine choosing. We are the right color, right sex, had the right parents, grew-up in the right neighborhood, went to the right school, married the right person, we were simply in the right place and the right time. These “rights” are what separate us, these “rights” have created the haves and the have-nots since the beginning of time. Our lot in life has nothing to do with our belief in God, or where we stand in God’s pecking order of how She distributes Her gifts and blessings. It’s a roll of the dice.
So why do any of us even need God? Honestly isn’t that the ultimate question? My belief in a “God” isn’t about being showered with gifts and blessings. It isn’t about getting the perfect job, a big house or a shiny new Lexus. It is about helping, loving, sharing and caring for others because that is what He demands of us, that is what He calls us to do. It is about creating the Kingdom here on Earth for those that weren’t or aren’t fortunate enough to have the “rights” that I was lucky enough to come by. “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'”
If you want to attribute your expensive lake house and $30,000 boat to God’s blessing that’s fine, just don’t tell me about it. Go tell the homeless guy sleeping under the bridge with all of his worldly possessions stored in two grocery bags. See if he will buy the fairy tale you are selling. But you won’t, you will write your check to the Salvation Army or the Rescue Mission and pat yourself on the back. Want to see God? Want to see Jesus? Go preach your gospel to the homeless man, tell him how God choose you and He will choose you too if you just believe. Look him in the eye and tell him your story, he will introduce you God if you are truly interested in finding Him.