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Pointers along the way #108

Would you like God to change?
- Jacob Ninan

"If God is so loving and almighty why does He allow so much suffering in this world? If He loves me why isn't He answering my prayers?" Questions like these are very common, coming up from people when they cannot understand God. We all have many questions concerning God, and especially when we are going through some difficulty such questions take on extra forcefulness. These questions may come up because we are confused, or because we are dissatisfied with the way God is. As His children we instinctively know that we are not supposed to be dissatisfied with Him. But we can't seem to stop such thoughts from coming up.

It is not only about God. Even the thoughts about the people we live with or deal with can be in the same way. We are unhappy with the way they are, and we wish they would be different. Many people's prayers are full of petitions to God to change these other people. They keep waiting for the change, and after some time they begin to get upset with God for not answering them quickly.

What does God have to say about this? "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps.46:10). He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the same yesterday, today and forever, from everlasting times (Re.1:8;He.13:8). Do we really want Him to change? Isn't the problem really with us, that we don't understand Him well enough? We don't really imagine that there could be anything wrong with Him where He has to change, do we? We have to change in our thinking and our responses. We have to recognise how God is and change our ways to fit in with His.

It is of course not quite the same when it comes to people. People have their faults, and there is nothing wrong in wanting them to change. It is good and right to pray for them too, though not in a spirit of complaining but love. But while we wait for them to change, don't we need to make some changes ourselves?

Perhaps we need to work at 'accepting' them as they are, with their faults, in order to make sure that our response to them remains loving and non-judgmental. This 'acceptance' can go a long way in helping them to change! If they find us being critical or taking a 'holier than you' attitude, will that not drive them farther away?

Many times when our mind is focussed on someone else's faults we become more blind than usual to our own faults. Even though we proclaim doctrinally that we are just sinners saved by grace, our attitude and behaviour at such times tend to be high minded. Let us work on putting on an attitude of humility, in our thoughts about God and other people.