"God didn't do that. The doctor did," she said. The two other women she was speaking with agreed. Their discussion continued. They wondered why people of faith attributed everything to God. Why would God care? they basically said.
Had I been included in the conversation, I would have shared some things about faith. But because of the situation and the people involved, I felt more lead to listen than to respond. I'm praying I'll have an opportunity to share with those women at some point, but for now I'll put it here on my blog.
I do believe God cares about the details of our lives. I do believe He can cause a back surgery to go well when we've prayed about it. God is our Father. He wants good things for His children. But like a good father, every request we make doesn't come with an automatic "yes." Sometimes "no" or "not now" is the answer we receive. Not because God is mean or doesn't love us. Quite the contrary. When the answer to our prayer isn't what we wanted, it is often because we can't see the whole picture the way God can. Waiting on the Lord is something the Bible tells us to do.
There is a story in 1 Samuel 9 that makes it abundantly clear to me that God does indeed care about the details. In fact, I would say that God is a God of the details. Here's the story set up:
Israel continues to act like spoiled, disobedient children. They mess up, God punishes them, they cry out in repentance and God rescues them. Again and again and again. This time, however, their cry is different. Instead of acknowledging how God has saved them time after time, they decide they need a king to save them from their enemies. All the other countries around them have kings, so why shouldn't they?
"And the LORD told [Samuel]: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king." 1 Samuel 8:7
How very, very sad. They had God as their King. Yet they cried out for a human king. Reminds me of some people today who rely on President's or other government officials to meet their needs instead of relying on God.
So God is going to give the Israelites what they want. He chooses Saul, an unknown young man from the smallest tribe in Israel. But he lives quite a distance from where Samuel lives, and it is Samuel who will need to anoint Saul as king. How to get them together, is the question?
Donkeys, is the answer. Yep. A herd of lost donkeys.
Saul's daddy's donkeys run away from home, and Saul is sent to find them. (1 Samuel 9:1-14) God knew all about it. In fact, I think God orchestrated the whole thing. Nothing happens by chance.
"Now the day before Saul came, the LORD revealed this to Samuel: "About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel; he will deliver them from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked on my people, for their cry has reached me." When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD said, "This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people." 1 Samuel 9:15-17
What do these verses teach us?
- The donkeys ran away for a reason. Sure, it seemed like a bad thing to Saul's family, but it wasn't. It was all part of a greater plan. And the good news: the donkeys were found. (1 Sam. 10:1)
- God knew where Saul was and where he was going. He knows where you and I are too.
- God heard the cries of the people. Even in their disobedience, God cared about them.
- God has an amazing plan in place. We simply have to trust and obey.
Lost donkeys. People demanding a king. A priest trying to lead a stubborn people. A young man destined to rule. Details that did not escape God's attention. Details that were clearly under the Father's control.
Do I think God cares about the details of my life? Absolutely!
This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, Romania, China, Germany, France, Indonesia, Philippines, Israel, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil