1749) Vending Machines and Prayer (part two of three)

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     (continued…)  I just finished reading a book by Eric Metaxas called Miracles.  In part one the author defines miracles, and discusses why even in this age of science we should not rule them out.  He also looks at the miraculous world all around us, and, at the miracles of the Bible, especially the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus.  In part two, Metaxas tells stories of miracles that he has heard about; limiting himself to stories told to him by people he knows personally, and trusts.  Many of the miracles have to do with answered prayers, and he has many stories of such answers—again, all by people he knows.  There is even one story very similar to the one my friend tells about lost keys miraculously appearing out of nowhere.

     Eric Metaxas is no naïve, illiterate, gullible, backwoods, snake-handler.  He is a New York Times best-selling author, a columnist and radio host, and, has a ministry called ‘Socrates in the City’ that attracts many of the high-powered politicians, intellectuals, and business leaders on Manhattan.  Metaxas asks all the tough questions about prayer that you would expect from such an intelligent person.

     One of the tough questions Eric Metaxas asks is, “Why should God care about answering prayers for lost keys and headaches, when God seems to be ignoring prayers about the cruelty in North Korea, the ever increasing arsenals of nuclear warheads, tens of millions of refugees, and ongoing starvation in Africa?”

     There are no easy or complete answers to a question like that, but the Bible does give some insights.  Two are in Psalm 62:8, which says: “Trust in Him at all times, pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”   ‘Pour out your heart before Him,’ it says—whatever is on your heart, large or small, world peace or lost keys.  We are God’s children, says the Bible, and just like children, we can bring before God whatever is on our heart, ‘at all times,’ says the verse.  All times and all places and all kinds of requests.  “God is our refuge,’ says the verse, and therefore, it says, TRUST IN HIMTrust in God to respond to your request, in whatever way he sees fit, in large things and in small.

     God did answer my prayer for healing that one time, but not the other times.  But then God did take away those headaches completely, or at least I think it was God.  On a deeper level, it was God who gave me my head in the first place, and everything in it.  That in itself is an amazing miracle, when you think about all the many things that a head can do.

     But what is a healed headache compared to the Holocaust and Hitler and Stalin, and all the unanswered prayers in those awful war years, to point to just one example?  But who knows what prayers God did and did not answer during that desperate time?  For a while, the Nazis looked unstoppable.  What if London would have fallen, and the United States would have had to face the Nazis without the British, and without that military base of operations thirty miles from continental Europe?  And London may very well have fallen.  What if the D-Day invasion had failed?  It very well might have.  And what if the Nazis would have been the first to develop and use the atomic bomb?  That also could have happened.  Maybe God was answering prayers all over the place.  If he wasn’t, perhaps humankind would be extinct.  God does give us a free will, and evil people will always use that free will to kill and destroy.  God also does answer prayers.  That too is clear in the Bible and true to many people’s experience.  But why God chooses to act or not act, in situations large and small, is beyond our ability to understand.  There is always so much we do not see.  And so, “Trust, at all times and in all ways, trust in God, for He is our refuge.”  (continued…)

The Eric Metaxas Show has a feature called ‘Miracle Mondays,’ which you may find at the below website.  You may also go to that site’s homepage for more by Metaxas:

http://www.metaxastalk.com/miracle-mondays/

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Psalm 62:5-8  —  Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Isaiah 55:8-9  —  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

James 4:3  —  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

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Lord of Lords, grant us the good, whether we pray for it or not,
but evil keep from us, even though we pray for it.
–Plato (c.427-348 B.C.)