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Now I'm really confused

Posted: 14 Aug 2020, 11:31
by SilentDawning
OK, as you may have gathered, I've been praying a lot lately.

I have basically been happy to accept the Deist view of God, although I do pray for others and for things needed just in case. But I haven't really been a proponent of regular prayer, or its efficacy since my faith transition. I was comfortable being "alone" in the world with God apparently watching but not really dealing me any interventionist cards.

However, I decided to try an experiment. There is an old friend who helped me when I was a Young Adult. I found out he had a promotion after about 15 years of not engaging with each other (we just lost touch). I called his secretary at work to patch me through, but she said he was out of the country and would call me back. He never did. I followed up with a handwritten letter mailed to his work. He never replied.

For some reason this bothered me to the point I have been making it a point of daily prayer that we will get in contact with other. That he will at least acknowledge me in some way. I set a deadline for August 31st at which point I told God I would assume the answer was no if there was no answer from him.

Well, Lo and Behold, after a couple months of prayer, and 2 weeks before the deadline, I went into LinkedIn to get my profile picture. At the top of the chat feed was a message from him indicating a book he had just written. This was general and to all of his contacts. As you know, these feeds are dynamic. The items that rise to the top are the ones with activity in them (replies likes) so it was a matter of good timing that I saw his post. I responded and asked a question. He wrote me back and essentially, fulfilled the prayer request I've been making to God. I had to search for his name to find the discussion again, but it was there.

Coincidence, or answer to prayer? What are the odds a post from him would be at the top of the feed the only time I go into LinkedIN within the last 6 months? I rarely ever go into LinkedIn now that I'm employed, this was just a fluke. To me this is a big deal because I've been praying for this regularly.

It jars my comfortable world in which God doesn't really acknowledge me...with evidence that maybe he DOES answer prayers.

Re: Now I'm really confused

Posted: 14 Aug 2020, 12:27
by DarkJedi
It could be either - it's up to you to decide what you believe. It seems we have similar LinkedIn habits, but it wasn't my experience, it was yours. If you believe it was a tender mercy it was a tender mercy. If you believe it was coincidence it was coincidence.

Re: Now I'm really confused

Posted: 14 Aug 2020, 12:43
by Roy
DarkJedi wrote:
14 Aug 2020, 12:27
It could be either - it's up to you to decide what you believe. It seems we have similar LinkedIn habits, but it wasn't my experience, it was yours. If you believe it was a tender mercy it was a tender mercy. If you believe it was coincidence it was coincidence.
there is enough evidence for or against as to give you some flexibility in deciding what this will mean to you. I do not mean that you have complete freedom to choose, I believe that your personality and past experiences are heavy influencers. However, you do have some ability to choose and pursue the narrative that makes the most sense to you and adds value to your experiences.

Re: Now I'm really confused

Posted: 14 Aug 2020, 16:56
by Curt Sunshine
I have stopped trying to understand some things, as much as general understanding is extremely important to me.

I have started accepting whatever is - and attributing the unknowable but desired to God. I don't do so out of what I would call knowledge or certainty; I do so purely out of hope. It is what I want, so I choose to hope it is so.

Letting go of needing to know the unknowable has been wonderful for me.

Your mileage may vary, since you aren't me.

Re: Now I'm really confused

Posted: 14 Aug 2020, 21:07
by SilentDawning
My preliminary attitude is that I don't really want this to be an answer to prayer. I don't like being expected to rely on a means of achievement that is so unpredictable and subject to such mysterious rules as prayer.

On the other hand, there is evidence that God WANTS us to acknowledge his hand in all things. This implies that he wants us to give Him credit for apparent answers to prayers even when he didn't intervene.
21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
My attitude toward prayer is still in flux though. It is nice to know that occasionally prayer works for achieving goals that you can't seem to achieve under your own steam. But is it worth the normal sense of futility that accompanies prayer due to most prayers being unanswered? Is what you gain in hope lost on disappointment when you have to accept the thing for which you are praying isn't going to happen?

Re: Now I'm really confused

Posted: 15 Aug 2020, 05:53
by nibbler
SilentDawning wrote:
14 Aug 2020, 21:07
On the other hand, there is evidence that God WANTS us to acknowledge his hand in all things. This implies that he wants us to give Him credit for apparent answers to prayers even when he didn't intervene.
21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
God didn't write that scripture, a person describing their belief in god wrote that scripture.

Scriptures tell us more about the people that wrote them than they tell us about god. Our interpretations of scripture tells us more about ourselves that they tells us about god.

Re: Now I'm really confused

Posted: 15 Aug 2020, 06:36
by LookingHard
DarkJedi wrote:
14 Aug 2020, 12:27
It could be either - it's up to you to decide what you believe. It seems we have similar LinkedIn habits, but it wasn't my experience, it was yours. If you believe it was a tender mercy it was a tender mercy. If you believe it was coincidence it was coincidence.
Exactly what I was going to respond with. The lack of some significant and long-term prayers was the item that put significant structural cracks in my shelf. Once I then ran into the messy history and the cover up Imy shelf was toast and I was slip-sliding down the rabbit hole and dark night of the soul. Once again I literally cried out in prayer for hours each day for nearly weeks with what seemed absolute silence.

I actually have envy for those that feel their prayers are answered.