Remember last month when everybody was all obsessed with the Mega Millions lottery because it was up to an insanely high amount? And then, someone else won and they each got millions and millions of dollars?
I don’t play the lottery. But when the buzz hits like it did last month, with the jackpot ridiculously high, it’s hard not to be caught up in all the excitement, because, “hey, SOMEbody’s gotta win, right?”
(Don’t tell Dave Ramsey I said that.)
And of course, when you think about the lottery, you inevitably drift away into the imaginary “what-if-I-actually-won” world and start spending those millions in your mind.
The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright used to tell a story about a time when he was 9, where he and his very reserved, no-nonsense uncle were walking across a snow-covered field. When they had both reach the far end of the field, his uncle turned him around and told him to look back at their tracks. His uncle’s tracks were a straight, perfect line directly from their starting point to where they stood. Young Frank’s tracks were wild, meandering all over the field.
"Notice how your tracks wander aimlessly from the fence to the cattle to the woods and back again," his uncle said. "And see how my tracks aim directly to my goal. There is an important lesson in that."
Frank would go on to say that he indeed did learn a lesson that day that would stick with him the rest of his life.
“I remain in the faith because I have tried all else and know without doubt it is real. I remain sick because I believe in a God that can, but will not. I remain tired because I believe in a God that can speak, but will not.”
This was a quote from message sent to me a few years ago from a man desiring to vent and coveting my prayers.
This is an issue much more common than you may realize. To have unwavering belief in God, but to feel completely removed from His presence. No answers to prayer, no guidance, no open doors, no healing, no happiness.
And yes, it can be frustrating. No, beyond that, it can be torturous. On the one hand, we KNOW God is capable of all things. How easy it should be for him to speak and change our lives for the better! But on the other hand, we know SO LITTLE about God, about His plans for our lives, about what He will do in the future with our present and past.
And so, a season arrives when we feel like God has abandoned us.
What are we to do when we feel this way? What are we to say to others who feel this way?
Pretend I was offering you a crisp and brand new hundred dollar bill. I’m pretty sure you’d take it.
Now, pretend I crumpled it up in my hand. Would you still want it? Of course you would.
Now, let’s say that after I crumpled it up, I threw it in the dirt and stomped on it. Then, I ripped some pieces of it off. Then, I took a lighter and singed some of the edges. Then, I took a marker and drew glasses and freckles on Ben Franklin.
Would you still want the hundred dollar bill then?
The answer, of course, is still “yes.”