I have heard people say it so many times and I see it written on so many beautiful pictures posted all over the popular social networks: words like, God walks with you. God will not let any harm come to you. God wil protect you. God will carry you through those bad patches…etc.
I have had a fairly good and happy life thus far. I have had my share of bad spots. There were times when I believed and times I didn’t. There were times when I thought I understood and times when I didn’t.
I am questioning whether God is with us every moment of every day and whether God does protect us in the way that most believers seem to accept.
The obvious questions from non-believers are, when thirty thousand people were killed during floods in Bangladesh; when three kids died in a taxi accident in Johannesburg; when thousands of families were dislodged and hundreds killed in Syria, including children; when hundreds of women and children are raped and abused last year…where was your God?
Prayer…of course we all pray for good to triumph in this world; but where is God? You said God is everywhere; you said God would protect; you said…
Maybe we are looking at the situation all wrong. Maybe we are expressing our expectations rather than the reality. Maybe we are hoping, more than anything, that should some bad event be looming on our horizon, that God will be there to protect us from it; to wipe it from our horizon so that it does not materialize. Maybe we hope that when we say “Have Faith!”, “Have Faith!”, “Have Faith!”, that this mantra will ward off undesirable events.
But clearly, it doesn’t happen like that. It seems, that is not what God does. God does not guarantee that a family in a war zone will not get blown up by a missile; that children will not be molested and murdered, that good people will not come to harm. God gives no such guarantees to Believers or Non-believers
So, what is actually happening here? I have no better way of explaining my understanding than to simulate putting words in God’s mouth, so to speak. If I were to ask God where He was when so many suffering people needed Him; when I am asking Him to look after my family; to take care of those who are vulnerable; to ensure no harm comes to harmless kids; to ensure that my future will be bright; to regenerate nature to ensure my children and their children will have a healthy planet to call home, etc…
Maybe, just maybe His answer would be;
“I have given you the earth and all its resources to look after. I have given you free-will to decide which path of righteousness you want to follow. Instead you are abusing the planet, you have turned your mind to everything but a path of righteousness. I am not your servant standing ready, waiting on you to call on me to come clean up your mess and fix what you have broken. You are in charge of the world. You have been given a treasure of mine to take care of and you seem to be thrashing it. You can hand back to me a broken planet, but you know what that means… You will have destroyed yourselves in the process.
“You can ask me to give you the wisdom to deal with complex problems and I will help you. You cannot ask me to fix the problems for you. You cannot ask me to save lives if you are the ones lifting the guns and taking aim. You cannot ask me to protect young children when you keep putting them in harms way, when you have designed a society which churns out vile individuals. When you have designed and take part in a system which places high value on accumulating goods and low value on being charitable.
“For you to correct things may take a while, but to make the change isn’t difficult. Apply your mind and choose a righteous path. Stop accumulating. Be charitable. Stop wanting more. Don’t take more than you need. Calm yourself. Be a calming force on those around you. Keep your loved ones close to you and make a loved one out of every person you meet. Be honest with those around you. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with Me.”
As a starting guide we can make use these principles;
- Respect. First learn to respect yourself, respect who you are fundamentally, without all the glam and glitter. Then EARN the respect of those around you. Be respectful in how you address others. Human beings are all on the same level and everyone deserves to be respected.
- Discipline. Be disciplined in the way you live your life. Don’t be harsh on yourself, but don’t allow yourself to become ill-disciplined. Teach discipline to those around you.
- Charity. When you see a need, respond to it. Always ask, “How can I be of help in this situation?” Be careful not to be charitable at a distance. Get your hands dirty. Money is a good start, but it does not solve all problems. Sometimes you need to give of yourself, your time, your skills, sometimes just a hug and a kind word spoken directly.
- Equality. As I’ve said earlier, all humans are on the same level. Treat everyone equally, young as well as old, friend and stranger, poor as well as rich, from different coutries and different tribes, all deserve to be treated the same as everyone else.
- Temperance. Self-mastery. Know yourself, your abilities, your confidence levels, your short comings, your failings and your successes. Use this information to build yourself. Be in charge of who you are. Don’t allow your boss, your job, your commitments or your conscience to run your life or to decide what kind of person you will be. You have chosen a path of righteousness, that is the person you want to be. With that in mind, be the master of your own destiny.
So, in our communications with God, stop coming across as lazy beggars. Stop throwing your problems at God like dirty washing to a washing machine.
God gave us a healthy body, a strong intellect, free-will. These are excellent tools. He also gave us an abundant world to manage on his behalf. It is too big a job for any of us to do on our own, but if everyone does their bit this world can be like heaven on earth.
Keep your body healthy, your intellect sharp, and exercise your free-will. This world is our responsibility. It needs tools which are in excellent condition to maintain it.
And when we do struggle with a problem, God will be there to guide us, not to fix the problems for us.