How Involved is God Really?

Posted by on December 23, 2012 in women | 7 comments

I believe in miracles.  And it was with great sincerity that in early December, I got on my knees and prayed (more than once) for some Christmas miracles.

Things were not going well for me nor my little band of friends. 2012 had been unkind: broken hearts, lost jobs, dying parents, struggling testimonies, cancer- and we found ourselves approaching the holidays with heavy hearts.

The words of the famous carol “I Hear the Bells on Christmas Day” came to mind.  And in despair I bowed my head.  There is no peace on earth, I said.  For hate is strong and mocks the song of Peace on Earth, Good Will to men.

I wanted a Christmas miracle (or two or three) for all of us.  Something big, something noticeable  something that would lift our hearts and give us courage.  My prayers went something like:  ”Father, Mother …. things are pretty tough down here in this old, tired world.  We’re hanging on by our fingernails and I’m just not sure how much longer we keep at it.  Please be with us and guide us – and send us more than comfort.  Send us something big.  A miracle.”

Christmas is just two days away – and no miracles.  Actually, it seems that things have gotten worse:  healthcare bills are hight (too high to afford), cars have been totalled, miscarriages continue, love is still unrequited, and the world seems harsher after the shooting in Connecticut. Did God hear my prayer? Has He answered me in some mysterious way that I do not see? Is it about “timing” – and I will I understand later?  Do I need to view this situation with a broader lens?

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: God is not dead nor does He sleep.  The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with Peace on Earth, Good Will to men.

Really?

In asking this final question, I do not want to diminish THE Christmas Miracle that we celebrate each year: the birth (and later the Atonement) of Christ.  This event humbles me and fills me with gratitude. I acknowledge its depth and breath and meaning in my life – and in lives of humankind.

But what about our everyday? Is God involved enough to shift situations in our favor? Does He? And, if so, when?

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7 Comments

  1. I had a similar experience earlier this month, although my prayer was probably less respectful than yours. It seems to me that God really does not direct the daily events of our lives or world. I can’t believe in a God so cruel as to believe He would help me find my car keys but wouldn’t step in to save 20 six an seven year olds from being murdered execution style. I have to believe in a hands off god in order to maintain any belief in Their love and goodness. As for whether They comfort and guide us, I hope so but I must admit that I rarely feel it.

    • Like you, mraynes, I have felt deep guidance, comfort and intervention on occasion in my life, from the mundane (car keys) to the tipping points (my divorce) so WHY oh WHY do not Mother and Father intervene in a mass shooting of little children? So much of the scriptures, lessons, etc of what we’re taught in the church is a huge paradox, it does not always follow a clear pattern and often does not make sense. I do not have the answers but have become more cynical about life and less belief in Mormonism, which purports to have all the answers, and when it does not, simply tells me to pray and read the scriptures more. I do follow what I define as feelings as to what I should do in my life now but they are not always in line with LDS beliefs, such as no longer paying “tithing” on that line on the slip. I do however help support two sister missionairies from my ward with what used to be my tithing money and I consider that my tithing. The temple continues to be a source of discomfort to me so I rarely attend. I’ve digresses from the topic but suffice to say I struggle for answers too. ALSO mryanes, could you please contact me privately. I live in southern Colorado and would enjoy visiting with you about our evolving Mormonism.

      • Sherry

        ‘so WHY oh WHY do not Mother and Father intervene in a mass shooting of little children?”

        I was listening to Emily Parker(one of the little girls who was killed) dad the first night that the shooting occurred. He spoke very eloquently, he stated” That each of us is given free agency to choose to do with life and make decision that we want to make, the shooter chose to do this with his, for any of us to take away his right to free agency is just as evil,” and then he offered prayers for everyone, Including the shooters family. I thought(regardless of how I feel about the church) that what he said was pretty classy.

        After listening to him, I listened to three other Ecclesiastical leaders who stated that its perfectly natural and okay to doubt about the existence of God in face of a tragedy, or any time something occurs where we don’t understand. And I believe that’s true. I also believe that what Robbie Parker stated was true, and I also think that sometimes, its really not that God/ Heavenly Mother allows these things to occur but, its the choice of Men/Women to do what they want to do and sometimes/Men/Women who are bystanders, will sometimes act to prevent these things, and sometimes they won’t.

        As far as miracles, I’m not sure, but, I witness the separation of conjoined twins going home from CHOP in time for Christmas, they looked pretty vibrant and clear eyed to me. their mother stated that her first obgyn told her to terminate her pregnancy. Does that constitute a miracle?

  2. God will never intervene on the free agency of others – unfortunately – when it comes to the terrible tragedies that occur everywhere. However in attending the Christmas program today, which was amazing, I couldn’t help but ponder these words from another Christmas Carol: “Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee, I pray, close by me forever and love me I pray.” After reading your article this morning, those words of this song sunk deep in my soul. I’ve experienced moments of deep despair many times in my life, but miracles do happen sometimes in the quiet moments of our lives – at least it does in my life.

  3. I learned the value of free agency when I pleaded for years for my abusive X to quit abusing me. God did not act on my prayers for the abuse to stop until I was strong enough to leave the marriage. And I have experienced many miracles in my life and much healing. WHich further makes it so very difficult for me to absorb the WHY. WHY do I deserve intervention when others do not? WHY do I receive such great blessings when others do not? I certainly don’t feel more worthy or righteous than others. I do pray everyday and my prayers are mostly gratitude and strength for myself and others as we go thru trials. As a mother, I will do anything within my power to help and bless my family members, yet I wonder about our Heavenly Parents, if they feel the way I do. I don’t know – sometimes it all seems unfathomable…and sad

  4. These are really important questions. Thank you for asking them and for the poll. I have too many thoughts to write now, but I’ll just say I have stopped praying for miracles. I admire people with faith to ask for them but I don’t have that kind of faith anymore. I pray for wisdom, forgiveness, and for God to change my heart, and I feel those prayers are answered.

  5. My experience has been that God is involved both on a large scale and on a very small/detail scale, but it’s not necessarily in ways that I would want or can understand. The more I study the scriptures, the more I see evidence of both the detailed help and sometimes the big miracles, but also how sometimes He lets struggle happen for a long time. And He doesn’t ever take away agency.

    I think the pain of children can be one of the hardest things to understand. I struggled with this latest tragedy as well. Sometimes it all just feels so heavy, so hard.

    But I’ve also felt drawn to look for the little things in my life and as simple as that sounds, it changes how I see the bigger struggles around me. When I feel God’s awareness of me in my daily struggles — not in ways that take them away in some ‘big’ way, but in ways that let me know consistently that He is there — it helps me somehow trust that He sees things differently than I do, both with solutions that I pray for that are not received, and also when I wrestle with and grieve and worry about the struggles of others..

    I look to scriptural examples of how God has put things in place long before things happened, and that helps me believe and trust more in the big picture that I can’t see.
    Deity works across generations and across nations and through time and space and eternity. They work not just in the present, but through compensatory blessings for all, through the Atonement. Our view is so very present and limited to our mortal sense of good/bad — and yet I think they are so understanding of that, too…not rolling their eyes when we don’t understand, but wanting to be present in our lives, to know of Their love and awareness, and to help us grow in faith and trust in Their love.

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