Sunday, September 4, 2016

Why Doesn't God Care About Me?

Have you ever wondered, Why doesn't God care?
Who am I kidding...of course, you have. 

I think we have all been through something immensely painful and thought, God has abandoned me. He isn't answering my prayers. I see no way out. 

Maybe there isn't a God.

I have struggled with this a lot in my life. Here is what I've figured out:
Faith without works is dead.

Dead my friends.
Not napping. Not dormant. Dead.

Why does the Bible and the BOM ask us to exercise our faith?
Well, that is the existential question.
To keep it alive.

For just a minute; think about exercise. Physical exercise. Think about training for a marathon, or IronMan, or lifting weights, kick boxing, swimming a race. How do you prepare? Do you sit and stare at the pool and think, "Alright, God. I'm jumping in. Make me float!"
Do you stare at a weight machine and think, "I'll start with 100lbs and take it from there."
Or do you pick up a 3lb dumbbell and work up to it?
If you've never ran a race in your life, how far do you think you'd make it in a 10k?
The bottom line is: how HARD do you train? When you really want to succeed, how much physical effort do you have to put in?

A freakin ton.

That bench press won't press itself.
Are you going to blame someone else-God even- for your inability to bench press 200lbs?

Having faith is ever so different than just believing in a God, and doing what we consider convenient in our personal conquest of mortality. Going through the motions and earnestly putting God's will above your own are going to lead down different paths. Like a stroll through the park, or a climb to surmount a mountain. One demands much more strength and stamina.

Spoiler alert: this earthly life is the mountain, not the stroll.

Transfer that amount of physical exercise now to the concept of faith.
How hard are you training for a testimony of God? Like, really?
Be honest with yourself.

How much do you EXERCISE your faith?
Are you building up to something great?
Are you at a great level, and now you're maintaining?
Are your faith muscles weak or bulging?
(Flex, baby)

After you've thought about this for a minute, think of that scripture again. 
Faith without works is dead.

It is the hardest thing in the world to ask yourself, truly honestly, in a raw moment of pain,
Is God quiet because I have failed to exercise my faith in Him?
The painful part is...usually the answer is yes.

It stinks the big stink. But the scriptures are full of promises. BUILT ON TWO WAY .AGREEMENTS. God will and CAN perform miracles, He answers prayers, rescues, comforts, but He requires something of us.
I know. How could He possibly expect anything from the lazy mortal human world, right?
We want to snap our fingers and hit a button online and have God's help express shipped over night while hardly moving from our tear-stained pillows and grief.
Unfortunately, this isn't the case.

Our Heavenly Father loves us and WANTS to help us in all of our trials (trials, by the way, he so lovingly granted us to help us learn and grow to become like Him) but that help IS conditioned upon our faith. And faith without works is dead.

Now to the fun part.
How do we exercise our faith?

For me, BEARING TESTIMONY of what I know is equivalent to a hearty ab work out five nights a week. I want a six pack. And I also want a six pack of spirituality. When I speak of the things I KNOW to be true, my faith gradually increases. My faith in God is incrimentally expounded, bit by bit, as I curl and squat and sprint through my experiences. 

I can tell you I doubt. I doubt almost every day. And I hurt. Man, do I hurt.
But I recieve answers and small whisperings of help when I am exercising my faith. When I do MY work, the Lord does HIS. He has to. It is part of the everlasting covenant in the Bible.
What else is in this promise? 
"When ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."

I mean, isn't God's grace enough?
I don't even like running.
Sorry. This is part of God's plan. 
When you really study His word and His gospel, you come to understand just HOW MUCH is required in our part in mortality. How much work we actually do HAVE TO DO. Why? The REWARD!

Now for the tricky part. It is exceedingly difficult for us mere mortal humans in our haste and selfishness to ask ourselves, What could I be doing more?
If you find yourself crying, on your knees, begging, PLEADING, for God to hear and help and comfort, do the remarkable and ask, Lord, what would YE HAVE ME DO?

My answer is consistently: Have faith.

This faith is useless if I do not exercise it. I have to keep it alive. My promises and blessings are contingent upon it.

"I the Lord am bound, when ye do what I say."

He is bound! By eternal concepts.
Therefore, I have no choice but to ask myself, What am I NOT doing, if the Lord's hand has ceased to bring me peace?
I know, the big time stink again.
We couldn't possibly be doing anything, wrong, right?
We're perfect.
Nay, my friends.
We screw up all the time. We feel alone, and yet we turn our back on God more than we even realize.
Faith needs to be exercised almost incessantly and part of this is sharing our experiences, being a witness of God and Christ at all times, that we may "bear one another's burdens, comfort those that stand in need of comfort."

I promise you, I PROMISE YOU, God is not absent because He doesn't love you.
I promise He isn't even absent at all.
It is hard, and takes a significant amount of humility, to understand what we are doing to push the Lord and His comforting Spirit away. But please, take the steps to do so. You'll be amazed what you find when you release a little bit of pride. When you decide to do more squats (spiritual squats) you'll find your faith growing, your blessings more abundant, your trials smaller, and you'll live with more peace.

This I know. I have experienced it.
I do doubt, and frequently. It is hard.
But I do push ups, I run, hard and fast, I even slow to a jog sometimes when life gets crazy...but I never stop.
Stopping means I lose my muscle strength (testimony) and I get weak and lazy...and wind up alone and in pain.

"Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I shall give ye rest."

This, coupled with our diligent work and exercise, will bring about great happiness.

God does care.
Do you?

By Brittany Shannon

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