"No matter how much I prove and prod, I cannot quite believe in God; But oh, I hope to God that He, Unswervingly believes in me." Attributed to E.Y. Harburg - an American songwriter who wrote Somewhere Over the Rainbow and all the other songs in The Wizard of Oz
We can get God confused with the Wizard of Oz. We can get to the point where we think He is a white bearded magician, somewhere out of sight, who pulls switches and levers to make our lives either considerably better or much worse.
OK so maybe you never thought He was a white bearded magician. But if you are anything like me, sometimes you will have wondered why He does or does not do what we think He should be doing! If He is not a magician, then maybe a great big candy machine that dispenses treats when we slot in our prayers -
"Come on God, I have prayed for so long about this, I’ve been good, I’ve been kind, why don’t you answer me?"
If I were to paraphrase quite a lot of my prayers they would probably boil down to this –
"Why don’t you give me what I want!!?"
Why does He not always give us what we want - especially when we can see no harm in the gift? Why do we not always get the solution to our loneliness, boredom, pain or [insert your problem here] in a neatly gift-wrapped package of our choosing?
Let’s go back to the candy machine. My kids love candy, they would eat candy with milk for breakfast, candy in a wrap for lunch and boiled candy for dinner. As much as I love my kids, and as much as my kids love candy, I will not let them have whatever they want. My love for them means that I cannot let them have whatever they want, whenever they want it. To protect them I have to set boundaries and (here’s a secret) sometimes they can think that I am a bit mean.
So back to God. This is what Jesus had to say about our appeals for help -
"Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?" Luke 11:11-13, The Message
Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. But do all this trusting that God has your absolute best interests at heart. Not the interests you happen to think are best. You may feel like He does not hear, that He does not answer, or that He does not care. He does. He just happens to know you better than you know yourself. Let Him help you over the rainbow, even though the path is unknown.
He believes in you.