by Molly Audiss
As I sat today in a loud, crowded school gym, and watched the teen boys playing basketball, I couldn’t help look around at the variety of fans in the bleachers. We traveled to Michigan yesterday to watch our son and his team play in a tournament at a Christian school. Excitement filled the gym! The home team’s school band played, and people were talking and cheering. I happened to look to my left and there, about 20 feet from me, sat a young teen girl with her mother. She was crying, not just crying, but sobbing. Tears streamed down her face. It was so odd to see her sitting there looking completely grief-stricken, surrounded by hundreds of happy fans.
I watched the girl for a couple minutes. I truly felt sorry for her. All the while the woman next to her, whom I assume was her mom, did not seem distressed by her daughter’s tears. She continued to watch the basketball game. I don’t know if the girl had received bad news, or if she was simply a middle-school teenager that was “having a moment.” (We’ve all been there.) But the contrast of her emotions to the others in the building made me think. This was the thought that came to my mind: It would be so hard to be God.
Our God, in His omniscience, knows every thought that every person is thinking. In His omnipresence, He sees every act that every person is performing, all over the world, all at once. He hears every prayer that each person prays. He feels every emotion that each person has, simultaneously. Good and evil, happiness and despair, victory and defeat, it is all taking place, all at once. God sees it, feels it, know it. He saw the player give his all on the court, while the cheerleader was praying hard that her team would win the game, while a family member in the bleachers may have been consumed with financial worry, wondering how they could provide any gifts for their family this Christmas. The Lord knew exactly why that girl was crying, and somewhere close by someone was grieving the recent loss of a loved one. The junior-aged boys on the front row of bleachers were cheering with all their might, as their teacher sat behind them, possibly counting the days till Christmas break! God knew all the feelings of those in that gym today, and everywhere else. Wouldn’t it be difficult to know that much? To see that much? To feel that much? What a compassionate, loving Heavenly Father we have! He takes on the responsibility of all His children all day, every day. He never sleeps.
Two teams played against each other. Both teams were, no doubt, praying for a win. Whose prayer gets answered? God is constantly making those types of decisions. I think about our own American history; take the Civil War. Both sides felt justified in their pursuit of winning the war. Both sides had Godly Christians praying that God would save them. General Robert E. Lee had the reputation of being a humble man of prayer who loved the Lord and sought His guidance. The President, Abraham Lincoln, also sought the Lord for a victory. Two humble Christians praying to God. To answer “yes” to one meant a “no” for the other. Have you ever thought about that?
At the same time a godly bride-to-be is praying earnestly for sunshine for her outdoor wedding, a sincere Christian farmer close-by may be begging God for rain for his wilting crops. Whose prayer gets answered? These are decisions that our God is always making. What an amazing God to be willing to care about every little thing we think or pray.
For this reason why we must trust that the Lord loves us, no matter how He answers our prayers.
Sometimes He may deny our request, a request that is so very important to us; but, in so doing, other people get a “yes” to their request. One team wins; the other must lose. God loves them each the same. We cannot judge God’s love for us according to how many times He gives us our petition, or grants our desires.
Decide to believe in the unconditional love of God for you, regardless of how He directs your life.
If we base our Father’s favor on on our lives in something so changeable as our possessions, our health, our benefits, our comfort or ease, our amount of friends, or how well others treat us— we will never rest in the confidence of His love, nor the security of His protection and care. He loved Job on the day he lost his children. He loved Joseph on the day he was arrested and thrown into prison. He loved David when we was hiding from Saul in caves, fearing for his life. There are seasons of ease and seasons of trial in each of our lives. God is with us through both. He gives abundance, and He may take it away. He has reasons why He does what He does- but never does His love waver.
Let’s stop looking at the lives of others and deciding whether they are being blessed or being punished by what we see. In Genesis, Abraham was a very wealthy man. He had so many herds of animals (the measure of a man’s wealth in that day), that he and his nephew Lot had to move apart from one another. He was a rich man! At the same time, he was denied the privilege of fathering a child. In that culture, being childless was considered a curse. So, which was it? Those around him may have thought his God loved him and blessed him, or they could have thought his God was angry with him and was punishing him. The fact is, we don’t know what God is doing in anyone else’s life. We better steer clear of passing judgment. Only God knows what His child needs and when and why.
It is good for us to be happy for every good thing that happens in our lives and in the lives of others. Let’s grieve and pray for others when they endure difficult trials. But we need not try to understand what God is doing in a person’s life by what they have and what they don’t have. We simply do not know.
My little brain cannot imagine having all the knowledge and responsible that our great God carries! Thank God, it’s not up to me to know or decide, so I will leave life to the One Who can understand. I’ll trust that His decisions come from a heart of love. I won’t waste any time trying to judge whether someone is being blessed or being punished by what they own, or what happens in their life. God knows. God cares. God has a plan. That’s enough.