Have you ever wondered if your prayers ever get answered or do you feel like you are talking to the sky? I’ve been a Christian for going on thirty years now and in those thirty years, I know I have had prayers answered and I know some are still waiting to be answered.
One of those prayers has been “Lord, am I making an impact on those around me?” I ask this because looking at my life through my eyes, well…let’s just say it’s a good day when I can remember that I am a Christian. My life doesn’t reflect on what a Christian should be or do, (like there’s an actual mold that God uses to stamp us into a ginger bread man form when we first believe.) What I mean is when it comes down to explaining the things I believe, I’m rather quiet about them, almost to the point of – “please don’t notice me.”
At work, I may get teased about not going to a “nudie” bar and not having sexual escapades that will make Hugh Hefner blush, but then again, I love my wife and son so why would I want to harm those relationships that are the very most at the core of my heart? (And about those “sexual escapades” if the same is true in adult life as it is in high school, then most of those stories are nothing more the filler in a cow pasture.) Drinking alcohol ties my stomach in knots. I don’t care for the stale smell of nicotine on clothing or breath or food, so I don’t smoke. And my cussing is to a minimal and usually to myself to snap me back to reality, not to use as a weapon. So I ask – “who wouldn’t want to live my life of boredom?”
Then this happens.
While I was at work the other day, I was driving a forklift when I went by one of my co-workers, I wave to him and he hollered back to me something about a man of faith. A little while later, we were in the lunchroom and I asked him what he meant.
In all of my seven years that I have known this man, he hasn’t as so much indicated that he has any kind of faith whatsoever.
When Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion” came out I was speaking to someone else about it and Craig, that’s my co-worker name, came up asked me what was the to-do about the film. I told him that it followed the Biblical scriptures of the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life. I told him that no groups were singled out in the film to make them feel guilty or any other negative emotion, except that of the human race.
While in the lunchroom, he told me that he has been going to church for the past few weeks. When ask why he’s been attending, he told me that his girlfriend’s grandson need some interaction with kids his own age, since where they live, there’s hardly any kids. Both of them felt that the public schools weren’t the right environment, so they enrolled him in a Christian academy so that the grandson could learn some of the Bible from an educational background as well as good morals.
Although Craig didn’t say if he was a believer, he told me that he wanted to know some answers if the grandson had questions.
I have another friend at work. His name is Art. Art took a leave of absence in October with cancer.
On his last Sunday at work, I prayed over him, asking the Lord to keep Art and his family close to the heart of the Lord and that mercy and grace and healing will pour down upon him. That was the gist of the prayer. Art is back to work now and is cancer free. He told me that it was the prayer that helped him through some tough times.
Back in February, I was in the lunchroom, reading a book on the Christian view on a just war. One of the members of the janitorial staff asked me what I was reading. I told her and I thought she would back away and go about her business. Not to sound presumptuous on my part, but usually if I ask a person what were they reading and I got hit with a title like that one, I might just back away knowing I was over my head. She didn’t. She then told me that she was reading a book that talked about the different world cultures views on Hell. She then told me that she was taking a philosophy course and that that was one of her books.
This is where the prompting started. In my head, I heard – “ask her if she thinks there is a hell?”
So I asked.
Her reply was no, she didn’t think that there was a hell. “When you die, your just dead.”
Next question came to mind.
“Do you believe in God?”
As before, I asked the question.
She told me that she did believe in God.
By this time my will had quiet down and I was amazed of what was coming out of my mouth. Believe me when I say that I have no idea what was coming next.
“You don’t believe in an afterlife, yet you believe in God, why?
She never really answered that question. There was just a long pause. I let her off the hook with – “you’ve never really thought of it, have you?”
She told me no, she hasn’t.
The next question came – “are you a happy person?”
She told me yes. But then she added – “people can make their own happiness”
Before I could follow up with any more enquiries, a co-worker, who is also a brother, came up and joined in the conversation.
“But what standard do you base your happiness on?”
(I think the Lord might have been prompting him also.)
He continued. “You say you believe in God, but you make your own happiness. Just a thought, but shouldn’t your happiness be base on Him and not what you can do?”
I was wondering a few months ago if I was making any headway with my Christian walk and faith at work. That prayer has been answered with Jamie, the girl the asked me what I was reading, Craig and Art.
I could end this here, but I won’t. I have a feeling some one else may read this and think -
“That’s all well and good, but so what?”
My point is that a sad part of today’s culture, at least here in the good ol’ U.S. of A, is we may lift a prayer up and because we don’t get a answer in five seconds, we assume God doesn’t hear us or care about us or even is existent. I think this is brought about because we live in a technological culture where if we push a button, we get a favorable response, all in the blink of an eye.
We hand money to a person at a fast food drive up window and get our food at the next window all within a matter of two minutes. If we are at home and want to have a hot meal in a short amount of time, we “nuke” the food in a microwave oven. Doesn’t it seem that we take the same attitude when we lift prayers up to God? Just something to think about the next time when you lift up something in prayer.
I’ve also learned that God is in the details of our lives, moment by moment. We need to be patient with His responses because: 1) we're important to Him and 2) we have no control over our lives ten years from now or even ten seconds from now. It is He, the Holy One of Israel, that is directing our steps in the lives we lead and hears our pleas.