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When God Does Not Fit

Today’s Reflection

GOD HAS A HABIT of working in ways that I find annoying. One of my best friends started following Jesus after reading an evanglistic tract, despite the fact that I believe tracts to be impersonal, offensive, and ineffective. And I know an extended family member whose life was transformed through a God-encounter mediated by the recovery of a lost pet. Particularly upsetting to me was the time my small-group leader, a woman whom I trust deeply, experienced a miraculous healing of cold sores after a televangelist encouraged her to place her hands on her television screen. Mere seconds after placing her hands on the screen, she was instantly and verifiably healed. Her husband, whom I also trust, confirms the story.

I don’t know what’s worse: the report of this miraculous, straightforward healing in a season of life during which a friend of mine in his mid-twenties was dying of allegedly treatable cancer or the fact that the healing was facilitated by a televangelist with theology and politics that I found distasteful at best and miraculous at worst. God’s total disregard for my cultural, political, and theological preferences is deeply troubling and profoundly offensive to my sense of how God and the world ought to work.

– Matthew Croasmun
Let Me Ask You a Question

From page 81 of Let Me Ask You a Question: Conversations with Jesus by Matthew Croasmun. Copyright © 2018 by Matthew Croasmun. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Have you ever experienced a time when God has acted and it not fit your understanding of God? If so, how did you respond? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry….

2 Corinthians 6:3, NRSV

This Week: pray a prayer of thanksgiving every day this week. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ephrem (June 18).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Jill June 21, 2018, 3:47 am

    Uh – how about virtually all the time? How about – pretty much the last six months…seeing my parents suffer and struggle – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. My initial responses are pretty much human, lacking an appreciation for God and His ways – questioning, sometimes anger…even rage, at times desperation. And – He takes them all. And The Spirit moves and I settle down, settle in before Him. Eventually I get to – “Thy Will be done”.
    I am intrigued by this excerpt from this book. May have to look into it a bit further.
    Up very early this morning. Significant time to read and pray before dad picks me up for our golf.
    Spent time yesterday with my sister. Things haven’t been the same since we had our big blow-up on New Year’s Eve. Yes – we have certainly “made it work” through everything with our parents, but there is this constant undertone. I think we are going to be spending time together each Wednesday. I tried to remain prayerful throughout our time together, to keep my emotions in check and to try to love her in a God honoring way. He is such a mighty fortress – my strength comes from Him.

  • robert moeller June 21, 2018, 6:13 am

    God’s ways are not our ways, even the Bible says so. However God works is always best, God is good. The man dying on the cross next to Jesus at one point scoffs a Jesus and later Jesus tells him he will be with Him in paradise.
    God has seen me through tough situations, I recognize that, am thankful for it, and pray that it will happen again. Some people say this phrase is a cop out to explain what can’t be proven by science or history, but I think it is very true” God works in mysterious ways. Thank You, Lord. You are God and we are not.

    Very thankful for the way things have gone for Gloria since it was decided to stop treatment. She seems to be doing quite well despite the diagnosis. That’s a blessing. I am very hopeful that she will have many more of these good days.

    That Jill and her Dad can golf together is also a blessing, a change of environment, a different focus, all helpful in maintaining the ability to be care givers.

    Prayers for Marcy, her health, well being, thankful for the positive prayers and post she makes.

    Prayers for Julie, her hands, foot, and situation. May the situation be resolved well at God’s pace.

    Prayers for Lou and the wet basement, hope the source of the water is found soon and the problem solved.

    Prayers for Andrea, her daughter, communications between them, her grandson, and her husband Lowell.

    Prayers for Mary, her job and parents. Mary, I think God puts you in places where you are needed. You are the important replacement for the missing cog on the wheel. Thankful your parents are doing well.

    All of you are terrific at sharing, praying, helping, and being present often when your own situation is tough. You are all blessings. Thank you!

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling June 21, 2018, 6:50 am

    Thanks Robert!

    Your words are so true. Today, a colleague did not show up cause she was suck, another went home at 3pm. I had to reshuffle my tuitio schedule cause a student was not from our centre but attending my tuition and i had to take care of tuition as well as centre students. On top of that, i had to go back one hour later. Thank God for wisdom and strength.

    Blessings

    • Andrea June 21, 2018, 8:11 am

      Mary, may God give you strength. Bless you.

    • robert moeller June 21, 2018, 11:26 am

      Great work on your part Mary. I agree with Julie’s well written comment. Your ability has earned you a reputation and you are sought after. That’s a blessing.

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling June 22, 2018, 8:46 am

        Thank you Andrea and Robert for your prayers and inspiring words!

        Blessings and may all be well for you and your family

  • Julie June 21, 2018, 7:51 am

    Mary, you are a blessing to your students, your supervisors, and your family. From your posts, it seems as though your reputation as a wonderful and patient teacher is wide spread and many seek you out. Blessings to you and prayers for strength to meet your many demands. Prayers for your parents, for pain relief and continued improvements.
    Prayers for Jill, Gloria, Larry, and Becky. Family dyanamics are difficult to navigate under the best of situations and they find themselves in a stressful time. Family cohesion is needed to support one family member as they live out a decision which with the others are not wholly in agreement.
    Prayers for Robert and Erich. Prayers for Robert to faithfully follow Your timeline for bringing Erich to acceptance of You and Your love.
    Prayers and blessings for all of the wonderful UR family members and thank you again for your words of support and prayers. They soothe and strengthen me.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling June 22, 2018, 8:49 am

      Thank you Julie for your encouragement

      You are always so refreshing and inspiring

      Blessings

  • Andrea June 21, 2018, 8:10 am

    Thank you, Robert. Your presence here is steadying.

    I agree with Jill. God surprises. God’s answers are so often counter to my pleading. It is not limited to me, and my difficulties are nothing compared to others. I think of the genocide that took my grandfather’s family in the first World War, and wiped out entire communities and towns in the country he grew up in; and today, the children who have been forcibly removed from their parents, which I consider a crime against humanity. In my person life, a highly dysfunctional family of origin, and all my struggles as an adult. Sometimes, it seems, God works through one’s suffering for the benefit of others. Jesus’ life, His promise to help us bear the cross – brings sense and order to what is incomprehensible. Still, I do not understand the immense, unabating suffering I see in the world. Why, God.

    • robert moeller June 21, 2018, 11:37 am

      Don’t, can’t have all the answers. Why there is so much suffering in a world created by a loving caring God is a question my son asks. He uses it as reason there is no God.

      Have seen a PBS program on the Armenian genocide during WWI. I knew of it, but not so much about it until I saw the program. What humans can and do do others is often times so horrible people wonder if it is true, and sadly it is.
      Have we learned from it. In some ways I say yes, in other ways no. It seems as if every country or region has to go through it on their own and until that happens the possibility of it happening again raises its ugly head.

      God can do anything from the expected to surprises and everything in between. “Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from heaven above.”

      Thank you Andrea for your posts with many different facets and focuses.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling June 22, 2018, 9:00 am

      So true Andrea, when you said God works true one’s suffering. My cleaner at my working place was sharing with me about her childhood, poverty and suffering, etc. She told me she understands the suffering of being poor and that is how she can relate to the poor children in our centre, etc.

      When my dad was in the hospital for three months, i also learnt about
      The suffering of the patients and also have compassion for people who have family membets in the hospital

      Thank you God for trials in life to help us grow and understand what others are going through

      • Andrea June 22, 2018, 10:36 pm

        Mary, thank you for your wise words. It is so true, when one suffers, the best outcome – the only outcome that makes sense of suffering – is the development of compassion and caring for the suffering of others. As you say: thank you, God, for suffering that helps us grow stronger in compassion.

  • Kenneth Miller June 22, 2018, 3:07 pm

    As I read today’s devotion, I immediately thought of this quote below:

    People ask God why He doesn’t do something about the homeless and starving peoples of the world. Don’t they realize that God is asking them… the same question? Robert Ross

    When people place blame on our loving and caring God, this has always been hard for me to understand. Man has created these problems, not God.

    Keeping Faith Alive,
    Ken

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling June 23, 2018, 3:03 am

      Thank you Ken for the quote and for keeping faith alive!

      Blessings!

    • robert moeller June 23, 2018, 6:36 am

      Thank you Ken for these truthful insightful quotes. Glad to hear from you.

      I echo Mary’s thanks for keeping faith alive.

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