In case you have never noticed it, the phrase "be careful what you ask for" seems not to be any truer than when applied to what you ask of God. And the harder you fight not to get the answer, the harder getting the answer becomes. Let me do a "for example" here.
Earlier in the week, I wondered to myself if I love God enough. I suppose that I'm not alone in that the whole "with all your mind, all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength" is a bit of a reach to love anyone or anything. And it made me think whether I am- or can- do my part.
So Saturday I had to work some OT. My particular task leaves me a lot of time for "deep thoughts" as the day goes on, and I was mulling over something from the night before. I had been on twitter following the hurricane hitting Mexico on the "PrayforMexico" hashtag when I happened upon what I took to be your typical atheist. "Why bother with praying to your God for Mexico", he said, "when according to you, he unleashed the storm in the first place?" I responded with, "You come to a prayer hashtag to say this? Quit trolling." And a few hours later, much to my surprise, he answered, "That's actually a pretty good cop. Sorry if I offended."
Having never had an atheist apologize for pimping his agenda, I was taken aback. But I had one more layer to the story, which was the usual 10AM-11 AM run of stupid annoying bad crap happen on the job. So I whined, and whining led to "yeah, you've got it so much worse than the poor souls in Mexico", which led to the twitter topic coming up, which led to my questioning God on how in the world we are supposed to REALLY answer the fellow's question- the whole "why God allows bad things" conversation yet again. And I thought about the answer Job got when he questioned God in anger- basically, "Who are you to question ME"- along with the perception that if I wasn't going to calm down, that was all the answer I was going to get.
So I tried to calm down. And the discussion from there went sorta like this:
Me: I understand that You are perfect, and your will is perfect. There are things I don't know- why You allow the things You allow- that none of us will ever quite get. So how AM I supposed to answer an atheist? How do I make him believe?
God: I make him believe, if he chooses to. You just lead Him to me.
Me: The way the Great Commission is phrased makes a person think otherwise, but let that go. How can I lead such a person to You, when I can't answer these questions?
God: When he comes to me, I will give him answers to ease his mind. You just point him in my direction.
Me: Okay, I get that. But how do I bring him to that point? I look at where I was when You saved me. It was easy then, I had no questions. I don't know that it would have happened 30 years down the road, that it would happen now.
God: Then I chose the perfect time to call you, didn't I?
At that, I threw in the towel. But more than that: I realized a lot of things in that little moment. That a lot of us get the Great Commission backwards. That God HAD given me more than "Job answers" once I calmed down. That God DID have a perfect plan for all those who will answer the call as I had. And that I loved Him more than I realized for it.
Saturday night I watched the new episode of Doctor Who which in large part revolved around a girl who'd been given immortality questioning why she couldn't travel with the Doctor. Her heart had grown cold in self-defense over "800 years of memories, trying to hold them in a normal human brain". In the end, she herself discovered the reason he wouldn't take her or tell her- that he travels with companions who live a fraction of his life because for them life is fleeting, and precious still. And as we get older, I thought, we all need that. We get tired, we break down, we tell ourselves we've seen it all. Then we watch a little child, and share the joy of them learning the wonderful things of life for the first time- and isn't that the same joy God takes in us?
And that is why, perhaps, that God doesn't share all the answers with us. That is why, no matter how far we bring someone into faith, it is the one-on-one with God that they TRULY learn from. Sometimes, if the person is stubborn like me, He has to lead them around the barn the long way. But in the end, you get to that place where you just smile and put it into His hands. After all, He's been at this a long time, He should know better than me.