Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: MAIL (02/18/16)
TITLE: When God says "No"
By Elaine Hemingway
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Throughout the ages men have called on God, but more importantly, God has called on mankind. He calls to unbelievers to take heed and respond, and even in Old Testament times the call was to hear, to turn from evil and follow His direction. Through the price that was paid for us we have Jesus, interceding for us before our Father, but often we are too busy to recognise or follow His directive. I wonder how many people have received an answer to their requests without recognising it as a simple “No.” A “no” given for a reason that would only be revealed aeons later could not have been understood, for example, by someone crying out for a comfortable solution to his problem. I think of inventions born of necessity or by accident, going back as far as the wheel and its probable first recognition back around 3500 BC as a piece of tree trunk in a usable shape.
Did anyone ask for an instrument for substantial progress but not recognise the answer? Our God in His wisdom allows His chosen ones to make a statement in the world, moving us on to new experiences and opening our minds to fresh opportunities. Often an answer is given before a request is made, and I think of those fascinating Old Testament characters that unknowingly have shaped our world today. Step by step we have taken their knowledge and understanding to achieve far more than they could have asked or imagined. When the clay tablets used for imprinting the first cuneiform triangular lettering became too heavy or numerous to carry, who discovered the parchment usage for scrolls?
How did the wheel develop into an essential commodity found in everything from a wrist watch to a computer to a printing press? Its first use on Mesopotamian chariots in around 3200 BC took about one thousand years before the Egyptians gave it spokes and fitted it onto their chariots. In other cultures it is surprising to learn that although ancient and considered clever, the Aztec and Maya civilisations never discovered or used anything resembling a wheel. Was this because the news of the One True God had not yet reached them, and prayer to false gods is not answerable?
I wonder, when the exiles from Jerusalem sought news from their families, did they cry out for some form of message to reach them and assure them of safety or special needs. Did Paul, in his prayers, seek a quicker way of relaying his messages to the churches he wished to visit? Did John, from his prison cell, seek ways in which he could send encouragement to his followers? Could they ever have imagined what lay ahead in the centuries to follow?
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, (who cannot be blessed and challenged by this epistle?) he wanted to stretch the minds of his readers that they may better understand the far-reaching dimensions of God’s eternal plan for His church. At that time how could he have envisaged us, a couple of thousand years later, being able to read the Word of God, send and receive devotional insights by e-mail, learn of blessings and persecutions throughout the world; a world more expansive than he knew and understood at that time?
Yes, our God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform, and we can gratefully bow to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us ... (Ephesians 3:20) And this through all generations.
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