Donald Miller got me thinking. I’ve been reading Searching for God Knows What. He talks about how we can’t use formulas for how we relate to God. We can’t just pray for X and expect it to appear on our doorstep 24 hours later. That would reduce God to being a celestial vending machine.
Yet God created many formulas. The universe runs by an infinite set of formulas that govern how physical things work. When two hydrogen atoms are combined with one oxygen atom, water always results. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen (Hebrews 11:3).
However, people (and God) are so much more complicated than just a set of formulas. I’d guess that God has countless formulas running in the background that govern how our minds and souls function. And yet there’s that free will thing. God created us to have choice, which indicates He enjoys variables.
Part of the beauty of relating with God is that He has depth and richness of character that takes more than a lifetime to grapple with. If you are married, you can say the same is true of your spouse.
Back to prayer and vending machines… Though we have no guarantees about how God will work in our lives, we can trust that He knows what is best for us – and that He bears our desires in mind too! You parents – if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? … So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him (Matthew 7:9 & 11).
(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)