Not An Answer To Prayer, Or Charlie Gets A Job Remix Edition

If you’ve hung around this blog for a few months, and God bless your poor little heart, then you likely know that in April I unexpectedly lost my job, as the company I worked for closed. It wasn’t til late July that I got a replacement, however it was a temporary job, as I was covering for someone on maternity leave.

Part of my logic in taking in the job, in a decent-sized medical facility, was so that I could get my foot in the door and try to find more permanent work with the company. At the time I actually had a job offer for a full time gig doing something I desperately didn’t want do, so I  passed it up in faith.

Unexpectedly, as life usually is, it worked. Today I signed papers as a full time employee. And I am grateful.

My mom has remarked over and over again that it’s an answer to prayer. I know what she means but I disagree. You see, for me to get this full time job, it meant that someone had to get fired. Fired for breaking a big time rule. And I’m very reluctant to think that this person getting fired was God answering my family’s prayer. That doesn’t sit well with me.

I’m turning this announcement in a post that’s wandering some greater things. This last week I’ve seen old college acquaintances ask for prayer for God to move in aiding the process of settling a home purchase, and another ask for prayer for their car sitting in the mechanic.

This is sticky. Certainly I believe God can do all and that nothing is too absurd and God blesses those with faith, yet those things seem a little off. Does God move corporate personnel changes and the in-workings of the mortgage process?

So I’ve got a job. I’m grateful, though it came at someone else’s expense. It is their fault for doing something that warranted getting fired. What did God do? I do believe he provides more than moral support, but…

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20 Responses to Not An Answer To Prayer, Or Charlie Gets A Job Remix Edition

  1. Heretic here. I believe God answered your job back in July. Temporary or not. He did not cause that person to break a rule but He can use that situation to open a place for you. I tend to agree with your mom (see why I am a heretic?). I believe it was an answer to prayer-one that I have been praying for since you lost your job. I can cross you, I mean the job search, off my prayer list. 🙂

    • Carolyn says:

      I’m going with Bill. God doesn’t make people break rules. But He can use anything – even someone else’s disobedience – to further His kingdom. I’m guessing that in His kingdom, He wanted you to have a job. Considering that God knows a lot of stuff, maybe He positioned you for this job back in July, because He knew whats-his-name could not be dissuaded from breaking that rule. It’s a thought. My question for you, Charlie, is why God wouldn’t move in all of these things that are parts of our daily lives?

      • now that I agree with – that God can use anything. I’ve seen that over and again. Maybe it’s splitting hairs, but I think there is a difference between God having that person break a rule and God using that event.

  2. Jeff says:

    I, unlike Bill, believe prayer is a placebo. A way to explain what otherwise is just a random happening. I don’t think God has anything to do with getting a job, solving housing crisis, repairing cars, making sick people well, or interfering with lifes ups and down. However, like a placebo, if it makes you feel better then by all means have a chat with your invisible friend in the sky.

    • John says:

      I have heard your position many times, but I still have to wonder. If there is no God and your appearance in the world is a product of chance, then you really serve no purpose, do you?

      • Jeff says:

        I have never said there is no God. I think we all can live with purpose. I just don’t think it is all predestined.

    • Chris says:

      Then what are you referring to when you condescendingly mention: “your invisible friend in the sky?”

      • jeff says:

        If you knew me you would know I am never condescending. I just think most people, for all times, has thought of God as an invisible friend in the sky. No matter what religion or belief structure.

  3. I’ve struggled with prayer over the last few years, because like you I don’t see God manipulating circumstances in response to our prayers as often as we would like to think. I plan to blog about this soon, but here’s the rub: If what we pray for was what God wanted for us anyway (God’s will and such), then He was going to do it anyway. If what we pray for was not what God wanted for us, then He’s not going to do it anyway. At what point is our prayer changing God’s mind? I’m lost on this one.

    • John says:

      I can identify completely with your position and it is a hard one to resolve, but we are to pray because of our relationship to God. God does not and has never changed his mind. What you say is true regarding God’s Will. All I can say is, Jesus prayed and thought it was important.

      • But there are examples in the Bible when it quite clearly says He changed His mind, sometimes as a result of prayer.

      • I agree with both of you. I think God has changed in mind in Scripture, and I also think we pray because of our relationship with him. We pray because we know him and he’s involved in our lives so we can’t help but discuss what’s going on, but I think if we only pray asking for things we’re not much different from kids and santa clause.

  4. And herein lies my difficulties with the statement “God is in complete, absolute control and is totally sovereign.”

    Yes, that sounds heretical to many. Even, honestly, to me. But to deny the fact that this kind of issue tears deeply at the fabric of faith for me is to just flat out lie.

    I say that God CAN do anything he pleases, and he has the absolute power to do and change anything that he wishes. But I’m NOT at all convinced that he causes EVERYTHING.

    Which leads to an unresolvable conflict with theology and soteriology that leans on predestination and election.

    Because I can simply see no way prophecy to be guaranteed without intentional evil and intentional good.

    This means that not only was Peter chosen for salvation, but Judas was (in theory) chosen for damnation.

    The question of “answered prayer” rips at me. Yet I continue to pray. I am trying to consciously ask God for “big” things that might seem small to some, and those prayers seem to be being answered. Not always, but I am still rather in awe of the things that I have prayed for which God appears to be answering. Can they be seen as coincidental or simply “destiny”? Yes. And I think that will always be true. Because some prayers do not seem to be answered.

    Exactly how “active” is God? Does he indeed care in detail about the small parts of our lives, as I have publicly proclaimed so many times, or is it that our faith simply gives us the hope and belief that are necessary to get our own butts into gear? Does “personal saviour” and “indwelt with the Holy Spirit” really mean that I can pray for a redlight to turn green and it will happen? Or a child to be conceived and it happen? Or food to be blessed so that in some way, it is more effective than if I don’t say that prayer? Or for someone to be “touched” by God and come to realize Jesus’ love for them?

    I want to truly know what it means to “know” this God, this Jesus, this Savior, this leader, that so many have so “simply” placed in a box called the Romans Road.

    While I do not like the idea that God is hiding from us, because I genuinely believe that he is chasing us, I’m somewhat convinced that “absolute sovereignty” paints a picture to many that is not quite right, and is possibly terribly wrong.

    Yeah, I know. His ways are far above mine, and I’m ‘wrong” simply for wondering. I need to just believe and shut up. Yeah, I know.

    • Darius says:

      “I say that God CAN do anything he pleases, and he has the absolute power to do and change anything that he wishes. But I’m NOT at all convinced that he causes EVERYTHING.”

      Bernard, the Bible seems to indicate that He IS in charge of everything. That He guides small things, like the roll of die, to huge things, like killing His own Son.

      If God is indeed all-powerful and all-knowing as the Scriptures say, then He logically MUST be responsible for everything that happens, yet at the same time not guilty of everything (for example, He doesn’t cause people to sin). I think the mystery lies in how He can be in total control and completely sovereign yet still allow people to be responsible for their behavior. And I’m cool with that mystery, since the Bible seems to be. When (theoretically) pushed on this point in Romans, Paul responds with “God is the Potter and can do whatever He wants with the clay.” He doesn’t try to explain away the tension. He merely says that God is in control of everything, even who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, yet He also is just in holding His creation accountable for its behavior.

  5. Carolyn says:

    There is a parable somewhere in Luke about a woman who kept bothering a judge until he gave her the justice she wanted just to shut her up. Jesus said that we should pray like that. I think that prayer is a spiritual exercise. I think that God likes to hear from us, for one thing. But it is also a time for us to listen to Him. Maybe He knows what He is going to give you anyway, but that doesn’t mean He wouldn’t like you to ask Him and acknowledge that He is in control. I’m thinking that I would rather here people say “It’s an answer to a prayer” too much than not have them ever acknowledge that God is ultimately in control of everything, whether or not He chooses to exercise that control.

  6. Charlie, congrats on the job! I can relate to your question. Recently a woman in our church had an organ transplant. It was timely and may have saved her life. Everyone was understandably very grateful. But I had a tough time with the suggestion that it was God who had done it. Somewhere somebody had to die (and probably not from old age, otherwise the organ wouldn’t be suitable). Did God bump off someone else so that this Christian lady could get her organ?
    Sometimes I think it’s better just to be thankful and leave it at that.

  7. David says:

    Look, if someone got fired and you got the position, and you asked God for a job, then it’s an answer to prayer. It seems anyone that gets a job in this economy gets someone else’. That is the logic pretty much all over. I am guessing that you didn’t ask God to not give you someone’s job – so I think again it’s an answer to prayer.

    If you felt really “off” about it, you would not have taken the job, right? I am really good web designer and I have often been asked to do XXX sites for big money. It’s “off” in my book and I won’t do it.

    So there you have a perfectly logic approach to God – or fate. You should be happy.

    However; God can do what he darn well pleases, he used death to glorify himself,and will do the same with us. How logical is that?

    In the end we are His kids, and now that you have one that asks for things, isn’t it your pleasure to give her what she ask for as long as it doesn’t hurt her?

    Glad you are working.

  8. Carolyn says:

    saw today:
    “Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.”
    ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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