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Old 02-10-2019, 02:34 AM   #1
Trapped
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Default How do you know God cares?

I have a hard time denying the existence of God. All the unbelievable intricacies, interconnectedness, and interdependences of the natural world, space, our bodies, 3.1 billion letters coding the DNA in each of our cells, etc, etc, etc....... There is a creator. This didn't all just happen as a product of random chance. To me it's undeniable. There is a God.

What I have a hard time coming to, though, is a remotely solid conviction in the existence of a caring God, or a personal God. A God who made me for a reason. Who thinks I'm worthwhile. Who cares when I suffer. Who shows up when He is needed. Who is actually touched with the feeling of my weaknesses. Who will actually judge rightly at the end of things in a way that will be in my favor in the instances where it should be in my favor because I matter to Him at all.

How do you know God cares? For every response I can think of, I can also think of a corresponding opposite that would indicate God didn't care.

I know God cares because he healed that person's cancer. ---- The person in the next room over didn't get healed of cancer.

I know God cares because he gave you good parents. ---- The neighbor's parents beat him regularly.

I know God cares because he gave you a steady job and a place to live. ---- Other people have lived their whole life in starvation and malnutrition in rags and war.

I know God cares because the surgery was successful. ---- The other person died on the operating table.

Etc.

In the Bible God's care for people, when he was on earth, was for his literal care for them - healing their sickness, giving the blind sight, making the lame walk, setting free the oppressed, feeding the hungry, etc. There was direct care. But he doesn't do that anymore, and for the care you can point out today, I can point to many others who are NOT getting that care.

How do you know that God actually cares?

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Old 02-10-2019, 09:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: How do you know God cares?

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Originally Posted by Trapped View Post
In the Bible God's care for people, when he was on earth, was for his literal care for them - healing their sickness, giving the blind sight, making the lame walk, setting free the oppressed, feeding the hungry, etc.

How do you know that God actually cares?
Mat 7:7* Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:*
Mat 7:8* For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.*
Mat 7:9* Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?*
Mat 7:10* Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?*
Mat 7:11* If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?*

Maybe it worked that way 2000 years ago, when all kinds of mythological things happened all the time. But it doesn't work that way today. Maybe we just don't believe in mythology any more, and they only work if we believe in them.

The belief that we can get favors from god(s) by propitiating him/them likely goes back to our stone age days.

Anywho, I few years back I had growths removed in my bladder. I remember one night I had difficulty urinating before going to bed but was successful.

So I went to bed thanking God. Then I wondered if God appreciated my appreciating Him, and what "He" did for me.

I woke up unable to urinate. Catheter time again. I guess not.

Did God care about Job? Did replacing his children do the job? I lost a son. No replacement child could ever replace him. In fact, if I were Job I would have been insulted.

Why do I still love God? Because I have to love someone, or something, and just loving sky doesn't work.

Like I told God when I lost my son, while pumping my fist at Him : "Hurt me all you want, I'm not escaping or running away."

God is a habit to me. A bad habit or good one? I don't know.

Thanks for the new thread bro Trapped.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: How do you know God cares?

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What I have a hard time coming to, though, is a remotely solid conviction in the existence of a caring God, or a personal God. A God who made me for a reason. Who thinks I'm worthwhile. Who cares when I suffer. Who shows up when He is needed. Who is actually touched with the feeling of my weaknesses. Who will actually judge rightly at the end of things in a way that will be in my favor in the instances where it should be in my favor because I matter to Him at all.

How do you know God cares? For every response I can think of, I can also think of a corresponding opposite that would indicate God didn't care.
The best way to know God's love and care is to believe His word, to believe what He has written to us. Unfortunately, Trapped, I think you are a victim of teachings. Endless teachings about God, about your life, about others' lives, about all that you should do, about all that you should not do, about, about, about . . . These have merely become laws, traditions, and ordinances to insulate you from God Himself. Only faith in His word can cut thru these layers of insulation.

I encourage you to prayerfully believe His word. Start with the Gospel of John or the book of Romans. Open your believing heart to God using His own words to speak to Him. Speak His word back to Him as a prayer. Listen to hear Him. Connect your heart with Him on the throne. Go past the teachings to the Person who authored them.

This may sound like mere spiritual talk, but this is real. This is the real life of every child of God. How do we know that He loves us? Because He said so. He loves us unconditionally. He loves us with an eternal love. Even when we were dead in sins, He loved us. He proved His love on the cross. Nothing in this entire universe is as sure as His word of love to us.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: How do you know God cares?

When I was a young person I recall a serving couple telling me that they were praying for me. I was like, well.....thanks for that, but as far as impact on my life, it is as good as not praying or caring at all. You can be 5 miles down the road in your house praying your butt off for me, but if I'm miserable and depressed in my own house, the prayer doesn't "matter". That kind of "caring" doesn't matter. You have to reach out for it to mean anything to the person being cared about. There has to be a connection or a direct effect, otherwise it's as good as not caring.

Same here. God can say He cares, God can make sure His word says He cares, but where is that in our life? Otherwise it's as good as not caring. If the Bible didn't say God cares, I would have no other indication that He does. If those who believe the Bible weren't around me saying God cares, I would have no other indication that He does.

Creation shows me God is infinite and amazing and powerful, and I can grasp a certain level of care in that He made everything so perfect for our survival and a wide array of variety for our enjoyment and amazement, but that is for my physical existence. I don't see His care for my person, my soul.

Jesus' death shows God cares about our eternal situation. Okay.

The Gospels shows God cared about THOSE people's person and current situation. Okay.

What shows you that God cares about YOUR person and current situation?

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Old 02-12-2019, 07:29 PM   #5
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awareness, Your catheter story made me laugh because that's how I think too. I had a similar situation when I was younger where I had to give up my dog because of other people's decisions and choices, not mine. I was devastated. As we were driving to give the dog away, the rain got so bad we began to turn around to abort and try again another day. Although I was struggling with the Lord at the time, I more than willingly thanked the Lord for giving me a few more days with my best buddy and thought the Lord cared because He could see how much I was suffering at the impending loss.

A little while later the rain abated and we turned back around and gave the dog away. While it was painful already, the "psych!!!!" moment in the middle made it all the worse, as if the Lord knew I was devastated and thought to add a twist in the middle just to let me down and make it that much more painful. Guess He didn't care after all.

I recognize that using outward circumstances is a fools errand in identifying God's care and would make God schizophrenic since our life is a constant stream of ups and downs. But it seems like people point to outward situations all the time as an indicator.

I can't imagine being God and giving the "all clear" for suffering to pour out on Job......and then turning around and trying to claim that I loved Job. Not sure if Job's first set of kids appreciated the "care" either.
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:34 PM   #6
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The best way to know God's love and care is to believe His word, to believe what He has written to us. Unfortunately, Trapped, I think you are a victim of teachings. Endless teachings about God, about your life, about others' lives, about all that you should do, about all that you should not do, about, about, about . . . These have merely become laws, traditions, and ordinances to insulate you from God Himself. Only faith in His word can cut thru these layers of insulation.

I encourage you to prayerfully believe His word. Start with the Gospel of John or the book of Romans. Open your believing heart to God using His own words to speak to Him. Speak His word back to Him as a prayer. Listen to hear Him. Connect your heart with Him on the throne. Go past the teachings to the Person who authored them.

This may sound like mere spiritual talk, but this is real. This is the real life of every child of God. How do we know that He loves us? Because He said so. He loves us unconditionally. He loves us with an eternal love. Even when we were dead in sins, He loved us. He proved His love on the cross. Nothing in this entire universe is as sure as His word of love to us.

Ohio, thanks for your post.

Years ago an elder told me that what I needed was to read the Bible. I balked, saying that I had never gotten much from it. He responded that in that case, I should then consider it like medicine......it may not taste good but you need to take it in to heal your sickness. That was the first time anyone had said anything I could sink my teeth into - his reply contained a level of acknowledgement that the Bible isn't necessarily something easy to take in, rather than crushing me for having the gall to say that I didn't love the thing with every ounce of my being. I could wrap my head around something not being pleasant, but necessary, like medicine. And at the time I was struggling and couldn't deny that I needed some sort of "medicine".

So I resolved to read the Bible every day for a year. And I did. I didn't want to, but I did. I viewed it like medicine. I didn't want to crack open the pages, but I did. I had been told my whole life in the church to just tell the Lord exactly how you feel, even if it's "I don't want to open to You right now". I wasn't going to spend the year faking piety, so I was just honest every time - "I don't want to be here, but I come to You in Your word", or "Lord, nothing in me wants to read the Bible, but here I am. I am here, this is the best I can do. You have to meet me." Some days it was "I think what I'm reading is so dumb and not helpful at all. He who is weak eats vegetables? Was that really worth putting in there?" I couldn't pretend to be anywhere I wasn't, and the Lord sees right through that anyway.

I had heard for years people excitedly talking about how the words leapt off the page, or the words became spirit and life, or how they just couldn't stop reading and it was so amazing. I fully expected that to happen at some point in the entire year. Even though I could barely do what I was doing, I thought God would honor in some small, tiny way that I was trying, reading, seeking, coming to Him through His word, giving Him the opportunity. I had been told my whole life that God is just there, all around us all the time, just waiting, waiting for a crack, waiting for an opening, waiting for an opportunity, for us to open to Him so He could "stream in", "dispense Himself", etc...... Well, what is coming to His word every day for a year if not a crack, an opportunity, an opening?

The Lord never showed up. My outward situation didn't change, which I was hoping a little for but didn't expect, but my inward situation also didn't change, which is what everyone says happens and I desperately needed. After a year, I put the Bible away.

I often think that being a Christian is great for analytical people, but I've always hated analysis (i.e. in literature.....in English classes in high school my most dreaded essay topics were those that made a statement and then ended with the command "Analyze" - ARGH!!!) I hate analysis. Just say it plainly! I hate metaphors and similes, especially when talking about the literal meaning of your life. Just say it! Say what you want from us! Say what we need to do! Don't mix it in among a thousand verses so you have to connect a thousand lines and dots and wonder if this word used over here has relevance to the same word used in another context by another author - it's just a game that I don't understand why we have to play.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:19 AM   #7
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Ohio, thanks for your post.

Years ago an elder told me that what I needed was to read the Bible. I balked, saying that I had never gotten much from it.


Watchman Nee likened this to washing rice. You wash rice, when you pull the sieve out of the water the water runs out. It seems you don't retain any water but the rice gets washed. I found that if I sat and read the Bible for 15 minutes I'd feel better even if I didn't think I had retained anything.

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He responded that in that case, I should then consider it like medicine......it may not taste good but you need to take it in to heal your sickness. That was the first time anyone had said anything I could sink my teeth into - his reply contained a level of acknowledgement that the Bible isn't necessarily something easy to take in, rather than crushing me for having the gall to say that I didn't love the thing with every ounce of my being. I could wrap my head around something not being pleasant, but necessary, like medicine. And at the time I was struggling and couldn't deny that I needed some sort of "medicine".
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So I resolved to read the Bible every day for a year. And I did. I didn't want to, but I did. I viewed it like medicine. I didn't want to crack open the pages, but I did. I had been told my whole life in the church to just tell the Lord exactly how you feel, even if it's "I don't want to open to You right now". I wasn't going to spend the year faking piety, so I was just honest every time - "I don't want to be here, but I come to You in Your word", or "Lord, nothing in me wants to read the Bible, but here I am. I am here, this is the best I can do. You have to meet me." Some days it was "I think what I'm reading is so dumb and not helpful at all. He who is weak eats vegetables? Was that really worth putting in there?" I couldn't pretend to be anywhere I wasn't, and the Lord sees right through that anyway.
This is very strange to me. Why do you have this attitude? I think Ohio must be right, it must be due to what people have taught you.

My attitude was completely different. I grew up in a church where they never talked about the Bible (IMO) and I always thought "I am not here to listen to your opinion about the Vietnam war, I want to know what the Bible says, why can't you just focus on that?"

I used to always go to the library and have the sense that somewhere in this building there is wisdom and knowledge hidden, if only I could find it. Then I discovered Colossians 2:3 -- "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him".
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:26 AM   #8
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Ohio, thanks for your post.
I grew up in a huge Catholic family. I too was "Trapped." We lived next to the projects. Those on welfare today have more than we did. With all the dogs, cats, and my brother's albino rats, we had dozens of us in a 3 bedroom house. I was not a happy camper. I was overweight and not athletic. I had lots to complain about. And I did. I was always in trouble. All the things I liked to do were bad. Except for math and money, there was nothing good that I liked. My parents were constantly getting calls about me from neighbors, from school, and from the police. My mom did what she could, but she was maxed out. After one incident, she made me read the Bible. I tried hard, but I couldn't make sense of that old KJV and got stuck in Romans. I faked it and gave up. I got in more trouble. Being so miserable, I was stoned every day. I went to work and school everyday that way. Made no sense, but that was my life. Like I said, I too was "trapped." More like enslaved.

I met a guy at work, who took the same class as I. My car broke down, and he gave me a ride 25 miles out of his way. His new wife was divorcing him because he just met Jesus. He would talk and laugh about his life with the Lord. He gave me a paraphrased NT. After working 9 hr, then going to night school, I opened that book in bed. Jesus visited me. In the twinkling of an eye, I became a new person. I could talk for hours about the many changes in my life.

Trapped, only God really knows you, and knows what you have lived thru. I can only suggest what has helped me. I too had a million reasons about what didn't work. I can only testify of how He saved me from sin and misery. Doesn't mean my life has been easy since, but I have learned that He is trustworthy, and He promised us that if we seek Him, we will find Him. You can hold Him to His word.

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29)
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:56 AM   #9
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I know God cares because:

Logic: People, idealistically at least, value love and caring for others above all. It makes no sense that we would fundamentally and consistently feel that way but our Creator would not. If there is love and caring, surely God must exhibit the best examples of them.

The Bible: The Bible is the most amazing book in history. Nothing in it has ever been proven to be false. It was written over a period of 1500 years, by 35 very different writers, yet is amazingly consistent in its message. All seeming contradictions can be explained. Many of its prophecies have come to pass. There is no other book like it. It must be what it says it is: the written word of God to us. It tells us God cares.

Jesus: There was not other man like Jesus. He could not be a product of fiction because no one could have invented him or the things he said. He was clearly who he said he was, God with us. He told us God cares. Further, he died for us, and there can be no greater demonstration of his care than that.

Jesus and the Bible: The Bible testified of Jesus. Jesus confirmed the Bible. The fact that the most amazing book and the most amazing man would confirm each other cannot be coincidence, and redoubles the reasons to believe that both are true. Together they tell us God cares.

My experience shows me God cares: This doesn't mean God won't let me go through hardships, but that when I do he is always with me tenderly reassuring and encouraging me. If you trust him and abandon yourself to his care, you will experience it. I've experienced it again and again. I cannot deny it. Many things that have happened to me don't make sense, but I believe and have seen that these are all lessons to bring me closer to him and to a higher and deeper place than I could ever reach otherwise. When you get to the end of your rope, and all and everything else has abandoned or betrayed you, he will be there, right at the end of that rope with you, caring for you.

Sometimes I lose faith, but he remains faithful. But if you withdraw from him, it just makes it harder for him to help you. Trapped, Ohio is right. You need to simplify and get back to God himself--the real, present living God, who is Jesus, and who is in you as the Holy Spirit. Get to know this person.

Here's one of my favorite verses:
I complain and groan morning, noon, and night, and he hears my voice. Psalm 55:17
Do you see what that says? It says David complained to God all day, and God heard his voice. Take your complaints to him. Tell him exactly how you feel. Don't do it with a hard heart, be open. But don't hold any feelings back. He will hear you. That is a promise.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:00 PM   #10
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Years ago an elder told me that what I needed was to read the Bible. I balked, saying that I had never gotten much from it. He responded that in that case, I should then consider it like medicine......
Doctors prescribe medicine specific to a condition. If the medicine doesn't work they prescribe a different one.

Maybe you're taking the wrong medicine for your condition. Try Nietzsche. His words sometimes leap off the page, I find.

Or try The Gospel of Thomas. It's a short read :
http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html

Anywho, I guess you're gonna have to self medicate.

Good luck ... and blessings ... I hope you get free.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:05 PM   #11
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Doctors prescribe medicine specific to a condition. If the medicine doesn't work they prescribe a different one.

Maybe you're taking the wrong medicine for your condition. Try Nietzsche. His words sometimes leap off the page, I find.

Or try The Gospel of Thomas. It's a short read :
http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html

Anywho, I guess you're gonna have to self medicate.

Good luck ... and blessings ... I hope you get free.
Harold
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:25 AM   #12
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Harold is joking, Trapped.
Not about getting free ... and blessings. And finding the right medication. Trapped could be suffering from Religious Trauma Syndrome, and need counselling more than the word. :
https://www.babcp.com/review/RTS-Tra...-Religion.aspx
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:35 AM   #13
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Not about getting free ... and blessings. And finding the right medication. Trapped could be suffering from Religious Trauma Syndrome, and need counselling more than the word. :
https://www.babcp.com/review/RTS-Tra...-Religion.aspx
I'm with you there. But Neitzsche is not the prescription for that. Interesting reading, but no real hope there, and a lot of half truths and deceptions.

Actually, Neitzsche is best read as a revealing example of the mind of someone who is trying to replace God with ego and make it sound virtuous. Ayn Rand was a student of Neitzsche and she did the same thing. A lot of noble-sounding stuff that is meant to lend honor to self-centeredness.

Neitzsche hated religion, which is understandable as far as that goes. Unfortunately he threw out God with religion, which was his dirty little secret--get rid of God by associating him with man's religion. A classic atheist bait-and-switch.

He died in a mental asylum of insanity brought on by syphilis--and unless he somehow found Christ, he didn't experience resurrection. His words could not help him, nor could his hatred of religion.

Here's what G.K. Chesterton said about Neitzsche:
"This, incidentally, is almost the whole weakness of Nietzsche, whom some are representing as a bold and strong thinker. No one will deny that he was a poetical and suggestive thinker; but he was quite the reverse of strong. He was not at all bold. He never put his own meaning before himself in bald abstract words: as did Aristotle and Calvin, and even Karl Marx, the hard, fearless men of thought. Nietzsche always escaped a question by a physical metaphor, like a cheery minor poet. He said, 'beyond good and evil,' because he had not the courage to say, 'more good than good and evil,' or, 'more evil than good and evil.' Had he faced his thought without metaphors, he would have seen that it was nonsense. So, when he describes his hero, he does not dare to say, 'the purer man,' or 'the happier man,' or 'the sadder man,' for all these are ideas; and ideas are alarming. He says 'the upper man.' or 'over man,' a physical metaphor from acrobats or alpine climbers. Nietzsche is truly a very timid thinker. He does not really know in the least what sort of man he wants evolution to produce."
-- Chapter 7 of Orthodoxy
Neitzsche, it should go without saying, certainly did not believe God cares, so it's really thoughtless advice to recommend him to a brother trying to understand if God cares, unless you believe he doesn't.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:58 AM   #14
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Modernity acted effectively as a wrecking ball on the traditional concept of God. Humanity needs to re-imagine God.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:14 AM   #15
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Modernity acted effectively as a wrecking ball on the traditional concept of God. Humanity needs to re-imagine God.
Reimagine that God cares, and that He loves us to the uttermost?
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:11 AM   #16
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Modernity acted effectively as a wrecking ball on the traditional concept of God. Humanity needs to re-imagine God.
Humanity needs to get to know God as he is. And he is a God who cares.
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:08 PM   #17
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Humanity needs to get to know God as he is. And he is a God who cares.
I've heard this since diapers. And I'd like to get into it with you, but I feel we need to hear from Trapped before going around and around with it.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:28 PM   #18
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Reimagine that God cares, and that He loves us to the uttermost?
Do you imagine a God who allows sentient beings to suffer unspeakable horrors in this life and then condemns the vast majority of humanity to suffering for Eternity.? Now explain how He [if you imagine God to be a He] "loves us to the uttermost." If that's how you imagine "Him" then, it seems to me that logically and morally, you need to re-imagine God, cuz your God is a contradiction and a monster.

As an example, please explain how God cared for the approximately 6 million Jews who were exterminated in Germany in the 40s. Did God consign them to hell afterwards because they were Jewish and didn't believe in Jesus? You seem to think that you have all the answers, so surely you can answer these questions. I, on the other hand, find them disturbing and perplexing and I can't answer them. So, I at the very least, need to be able to re-imagine God. But, I think I am just one of billions.

And, if your answer is that God showed that he cared by dying for them on the cross, please explain how that is comparable the suffering and death of a true mortal, since you have also professed that Jesus was omniscient and knew that he would be resurrected in three days. Even while Jesus was supposedly dead, he wasn't really in the sense of total oblivion ordinary humans face because he was in Hell preaching the Gospel to the dead there. I'm looking forward to your answers and hoping they are good ones for the sake of Trapped and me.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:39 PM   #19
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Humanity needs to get to know God as he is. And he is a God who cares.
How do You KNOW? Because the Bible tells you so? If that's all you have, then, what about all the internal evidence that the Bible is a fallible book written by ordinary pre-scientifically-minded humans? And, what of all the evidence about nature and the world that contradicts the Bible.? It seems you must ignore that. Isn't it really the case that your belief in God and that "He cares" is based on faith and not knowledge? And isn't it in fact faith IN SPITE OF the world you know through your senses?
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:49 PM   #20
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I've heard this since diapers. And I'd like to get into it with you, but I feel we need to hear from Trapped before going around and around with it.
I intended to wait for Trapped too. But, Ohio and Igzy had questions which deserved answers. Hopefully Trapped will find the discussion helpful when he returns.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:54 PM   #21
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Watchman Nee likened this to washing rice.... I found that if I sat and read the Bible for 15 minutes I'd feel better ...

This is very strange to me. Why do you have this attitude?
ZNP, I'd heard the rice washing thing many times too.....the washing of the water in the word. That's why I expected there to be an inward change after a freaking year of washing. Nothing. You also mention feeling better after you read......I would ask what you do when you read and don't "feel" better? Does it mean it was a waste? "Don't go by your feeling" is a common LC refrain.

I understand my attitude may be strange, that's why I put this in Alt Views. My attitude was the way it was because I had been forced to live my whole life as if reading the Bible and the ministry was worthwhile, when by my experience it wasn't. I never, ever picked up the Bible to read of my own initiation or on my own time because it's all I ever heard the rest of the time, and none of it was real. I figured giving the Lord a year chance might be the opportunity I had been told He was looking for. He didn't care to show up.

In thinking about your question, I think I was closed to the Lord as a younger person because I had always heard things like "He will take away anything you like". He would require that you give up or sacrifice anything you happened to delight in humanly. He was never passed off as a God who was "for me". He was just out to hurt me. This is backed up in my own life more than the thought that "God cares" is backed up.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:04 PM   #22
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Jesus visited me. In the twinkling of an eye, I became a new person. I could talk for hours about the many changes in my life.

Trapped, only God really knows you, and knows what you have lived thru. I can only suggest what has helped me. I too had a million reasons about what didn't work. I can only testify of how He saved me from sin and misery. Doesn't mean my life has been easy since, but I have learned that He is trustworthy, and He promised us that if we seek Him, we will find Him. You can hold Him to His word.

Ohio, thanks for your story and I certainly appreciate hearing your experience. I do feel like I've gotten a "glimpse" of a different God by reading some other Bible versions or hearing speaking from other Christian teachers, but then I come back to my actual life and what I heard or read is just a nice story not applicable to me. I've been waiting for the "twinkling of an eye" moment my whole life.

Because of my experience, I don't have the energy to "search with my whole heart" for God. He has to meet me halfway. I don't have the energy to seek for something I don't have the confidence or faith will honor the seeking or will ever be there or be worth the seeking.

I've essentially been expecting Him to rip everything away from me and reduce me to nothing and break me, and the past year He has done exactly that through a long string of events totally outside my control, no matter how much I tried to make things better. When He does that, usually what one would expect is for Him to appear, but again, He hasn't, even though I have literally been on my knees in tears and anguish. There has not been a moment, not even one, when I could remotely say that He is the God of any comfort, much less of all comfort.

I know it's hard to help someone's personal experience. I'm not expecting you to be able to say a magic phrase that will unlock it for me. It just helps to get it out though. Thanks.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:27 PM   #23
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I know God cares because:

Logic: People, idealistically at least, value love and caring for others above all. It makes no sense that we would fundamentally and consistently feel that way but our Creator would not. If there is love and caring, surely God must exhibit the best examples of them.

The Bible: The Bible is the most amazing book in history. Nothing in it has ever been proven to be false. It was written over a period of 1500 years, by 35 very different writers, yet is amazingly consistent in its message. All seeming contradictions can be explained. Many of its prophecies have come to pass. There is no other book like it. It must be what it says it is: the written word of God to us. It tells us God cares.

Jesus: There was not other man like Jesus. He could not be a product of fiction because no one could have invented him or the things he said. He was clearly who he said he was, God with us. He told us God cares. Further, he died for us, and there can be no greater demonstration of his care than that.

Jesus and the Bible: The Bible testified of Jesus. Jesus confirmed the Bible. The fact that the most amazing book and the most amazing man would confirm each other cannot be coincidence, and redoubles the reasons to believe that both are true. Together they tell us God cares.

My experience shows me God cares: This doesn't mean God won't let me go through hardships, but that when I do he is always with me tenderly reassuring and encouraging me. If you trust him and abandon yourself to his care, you will experience it. I've experienced it again and again. I cannot deny it. Many things that have happened to me don't make sense, but I believe and have seen that these are all lessons to bring me closer to him and to a higher and deeper place than I could ever reach otherwise. When you get to the end of your rope, and all and everything else has abandoned or betrayed you, he will be there, right at the end of that rope with you, caring for you.

Sometimes I lose faith, but he remains faithful. But if you withdraw from him, it just makes it harder for him to help you. Trapped, Ohio is right. You need to simplify and get back to God himself--the real, present living God, who is Jesus, and who is in you as the Holy Spirit. Get to know this person.

Here's one of my favorite verses:
I complain and groan morning, noon, and night, and he hears my voice. Psalm 55:17
Do you see what that says? It says David complained to God all day, and God heard his voice. Take your complaints to him. Tell him exactly how you feel. Don't do it with a hard heart, be open. But don't hold any feelings back. He will hear you. That is a promise.

Igzy, I understand what you are saying about love and caring in humanity pointing to the existence of it in God. However, evil and spite and pure venom also exist in humanity - I just experienced more of it yesterday.

The existence of the Bible doesn't hold much weight for me as an argument. I've been surround by it, hearing "since diapers" as awareness said, and I'm still here asking the question about God's care.

Jesus is an interesting one - one apologist pointed to the "explosion" of Christianity as a historical fact after Jesus's death, and that if His death and resurrection weren't real, nothing else would have caused that explosion. I can't square Jesus and the present day, though. What does Jesus have to do with me in 2019?

I'm glad you have undeniable experience you can point to that He tenderly reassures and encourages you. I doubt I'd have started this thread if I could say I'd had a similar experience. This may sound shallow, but in my experience, even if I am broken and coming to God for healing and comfort, when He inevitably fails I often find more help in watching movies or older intellectual game shows. Mental distraction and the "take me to a different world" of movies has been much more of a balm to my mind than Jesus never showing up has ever been. I'm not even a movie watcher and frustrate most of my acquaintances when they talk about movies and I've never heard of most of them. I just turn to them when I'm against the wall and nothing else works, including the God who "cares".

You say "He will be there, caring for you." How do you know? What does this mean? What has this looked like in your life? This is the thing I am most interested in.

It doesn't really matter to me if I complain and God hears my voice. So what if He hears? You can hear and yet be indifferent.

This is just my honest response and I don't mean any of my questions in a challenging or belligerent way, rather inquisitively. I appreciate your post.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:43 PM   #24
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Do you imagine a God who allows sentient beings to suffer unspeakable horrors in this life and then condemns the vast majority of humanity to suffering for Eternity.? Now explain how He [if you imagine God to be a He] "loves us to the uttermost." If that's how you imagine "Him" then, it seems to me that logically and morally, you need to re-imagine God, cuz your God is a contradiction and a monster.

As an example, please explain how God cared for the approximately 6 million Jews who were exterminated in Germany in the 40s. Did God consign them to hell afterwards because they were Jewish and didn't believe in Jesus? You seem to think that you have all the answers, so surely you can answer these questions. I, on the other hand, find them disturbing and perplexing and I can't answer them. So, I at the very least, need to be able to re-imagine God. But, I think I am just one of billions.

And, if your answer is that God showed that he cared by dying for them on the cross, please explain how that is comparable the suffering and death of a true mortal, since you have also professed that Jesus was omniscient and knew that he would be resurrected in three days. Even while Jesus was supposedly dead, he wasn't really in the sense of total oblivion ordinary humans face because he was in Hell preaching the Gospel to the dead there. I'm looking forward to your answers and hoping they are good ones for the sake of Trapped and me.

zeek, great questions. It would be easy to transmogrify this into "Why does God allow suffering?" or "the problem of evil", which I know there are other threads on, although I think it's easy to differentiate the original question from that.

I'm not saying that you were going down this route, but just to clarify for those reading so we DON'T go down that route, the existence of evil and/or suffering doesn't bother me as much, since free will and the "evil/good > moral law > moral law giver" argument satisfy me sufficiently there, at least for now.

The question is, in the middle of this suffering, how do we know God cares? How do people who go through unspeakable suffering, more than 6 hours on a cross, or a day or two of being scourged and reviled, know God cares? How does He show He cares? Does a verse reference get those enduring horrific mental, physical, emotional suffering get them through, or even just the regular suffering typical people go through with betrayals and abandonment, and is it actually backed up in their experience and not just as a mental construct that isn't real?

Your bold and caps "How do you KNOW" is exactly where I'm at.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:54 PM   #25
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I've heard this since diapers. And I'd like to get into it with you, but I feel we need to hear from Trapped before going around and around with it.

awareness, self-medication is at this point the only thing that has gotten me through. God has put me in the LC so that I have no real friends in the LC or outside of it either. This means no human comfort. For God's sake, as I type that right there, how do I know God cares when He has put me in a place where I, as a human, can get no human comfort and then He doesn't step up and fill in the gap? Why create a person to endure that kind of thing?

When God also doesn't show up, that leaves self-medication or a mental breakdown. I'm not talking about destructive stuff, just crutches that get me through and occupy me in a positive or neutral way.

I'm not gonna turn to Nietzsche for actual help, but I have been thinking recently of reading more things like that. I have respect for the Christian apologists who are clearly well read and get into this stuff so they actually know what they say and can speak to it.

You are more than welcome to go ahead and get into it with zeek and Igzy and others; I'm checking in every day or so and can contribute when I have time. I don't feel like I own the thread; more just started it to create discussion and I'm glad to let that lead wherever it does. If it veers off way far I can pipe up.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:19 AM   #26
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Default Re: How do you know God cares?

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How do You KNOW? Because the Bible tells you so? If that's all you have, then, what about all the internal evidence that the Bible is a fallible book written by ordinary pre-scientifically-minded humans? And, what of all the evidence about nature and the world that contradicts the Bible.? It seems you must ignore that. Isn't it really the case that your belief in God and that "He cares" is based on faith and not knowledge? And isn't it in fact faith IN SPITE OF the world you know through your senses?
That's the whole deal. That faith triumphs over the senses. But it's not blind faith. For example, if I have faith in something spiritual other than God, that faith is blind, because there is no experiential validation of that faith. But time and again I have been at the end of my rope, and God has come through. Sometimes without, but always within. I can't explain it, but he is there loving me and reassuring me. I know him, I touch him, I see him. He cares. And he shows me some light, and I see like I never have before, and I realize more how wise he really is and how little I really see or know.

Zeek, the fact is the kind of KNOWing you are insisting on is not the kind God gives in this life. He doesn't give proof, he just gives evidence. You can evaluate the evidence as it suits you, but you will be accountable to him for how truly honestly you did evaluate it, and he knows exactly what is going on in your heart. So, yes, it is a test of faith, and of character. Nothing is provable. That's because God is a first principle, an axiom, and axioms always have to be taken by faith. So the question is not whether you take things on faith, because you cannot live without doing so. The question is what you will take on faith and why.

Zeek, You are describing exactly how it is (though in a rather cynical way). God is so great he expects us to believe. He has answers for all your questions. But you have to trust him. There is sufficient evidence, in nature, in history, and in our experience to do so, IMHO. And that determination has proven to be the best one I've ever made, though I certainly had many excuses to give up on God.

In the end, everyone will KNOW. But there is no test, no challenge in that kind of knowing. God is not going to give us a math proof of him in this life. Then again, you really don't have a math proof of much else either. So choose.
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Old 02-16-2019, 10:33 AM   #27
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Trapped,

When you say God or Jesus don't "show up," what do you expect that "showing up" to be like? What isn't happening that you expect or hope would happen?
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:18 AM   #28
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As an example, please explain how God cared for the approximately 6 million Jews who were exterminated in Germany in the 40s. Did God consign them to hell afterwards because they were Jewish and didn't believe in Jesus? You seem to think that you have all the answers, so surely you can answer these questions. I, on the other hand, find them disturbing and perplexing and I can't answer them. So, I at the very least, need to be able to re-imagine God. But, I think I am just one of billions.
God cared for each one of them. Just like he has cared for everyone else in history who has died. If you think this life is all there is, then naturally you would think sufferings in this life are all-important. But the Bible says this life is a blip compared to eternity. And the Bible says, in the end, God will wipe away every tear.

Each adult heart will be judged based upon what he or she knew and the faith or lack thereof that was a response to that knowing. Whether they ever heard of Jesus or not, his work can be applied to them. Children will not be judged. All will come back in the kingdom age to finish their growth. That's what the kingdom age is for.

You are imagining the horrors of misinterpreted Scripture, not of God as he is. God cares and he will judge each of us fairly and justly and even mercifully.

I believe that the final numbers will be 2-1. Most will end up saved. God is not going to concede defeat. Most will be saved via general revelation and a general realization and repentance to God, many at their deaths, and some possibly soon after.

Only the ones with determined, hard hearts will be eternally lost, because they want to be. They are those would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven. So be careful you don't put yourself in that number with your bitterness.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:31 AM   #29
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Default How do you know God cares?

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Do you imagine a God who allows sentient beings to suffer unspeakable horrors in this life and then condemns the vast majority of humanity to suffering for Eternity.? Now explain how He [if you imagine God to be a He] "loves us to the uttermost." If that's how you imagine "Him" then, it seems to me that logically and morally, you need to re-imagine God, cuz your God is a contradiction and a monster.
Chapter One of the Book of Job makes it abundantly clear Who loves us to the uttermost and who is the real monster. This chapter, without question, coupled with the rest of the book, solved forever the so-called philosophical "Problem of Evil."

IMHO, the greatest tragedy on earth is to never have faith in God, or worse, to have once had faith in God, and then discarded it as worthless.
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Old 02-16-2019, 01:41 PM   #30
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awareness, self-medication is at this point the only thing that has gotten me through. God has put me in the LC so that I have no real friends in the LC or outside of it either. This means no human comfort. For God's sake, as I type that right there, how do I know God cares when He has put me in a place where I, as a human, can get no human comfort and then He doesn't step up and fill in the gap? Why create a person to endure that kind of thing?
Well that's brutally honest, to say the least. I didn't mean to run straightway to God-is-dead-Nietzsche. But on second thought you and Nietzsche seems to share in the same despair. I won't get into it out here -- in Nietzsche hate land -- but Nietzsche was actually despairing that God was dead.

My initial response, in my head, to 'does God care?' was, I'm here, so He must care. Same for you.

But you make a good point. If He cares because we're here, then why make us suffer? That age old question, well shaped in classical antiquity ... and echoed in the book of Job.

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When God also doesn't show up, that leaves self-medication or a mental breakdown. I'm not talking about destructive stuff, just crutches that get me through and occupy me in a positive or neutral way.
I hope this forum is helping. I actually know of mental breakdowns after leaving the LC. The answer provided of 'turn to the Word' brought one to mind. I grew close to a very intense , driven, and given, brother due to heading up service groups with him.

Long and short of it, during the turmoil I was going thru in the c. in Ft. Lauderdale this brother took off to Anaheim, to be closer and more given to 'the flow.' But there the contradiction between teachings and practices caused so much cognitive dissonance that he ran north to a locality where he could get far away. Ultimately, even there he was losing his mind so much that he had to let it all go or go out of his mind. I remember him telling me years later that he had to even let go of reading the Bible.

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I'm not gonna turn to Nietzsche for actual help, but I have been thinking recently of reading more things like that. I have respect for the Christian apologists who are clearly well read and get into this stuff so they actually know what they say and can speak to it.
Open up a little. Good things have been known to happen.

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You are more than welcome to go ahead and get into it with zeek and Igzy and others; I'm checking in every day or so and can contribute when I have time. I don't feel like I own the thread; more just started it to create discussion and I'm glad to let that lead wherever it does. If it veers off way far I can pipe up.
Somebody other than Untohim needs to keep me in line. Thanks.

And I might get into it with zeek and Igzy, if there's a point. There's no point in calling into question subjective perspectives.
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Old 02-16-2019, 03:52 PM   #31
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Well that's brutally honest, to say the least. I didn't mean to run straightway to God-is-dead-Nietzsche. But on second thought you and Nietzsche seems to share in the same despair. I won't get into it out here -- in Nietzsche hate land -- but Nietzsche was actually despairing that God was dead.
God wasn't dead. Neitzsche's faith was dead. And I don't hate Neitzsche, I hate the way he was deceived.

The bottom line is this: God deserves our faith. You can give me a thousand or million reasons why you think he doesn't and I'll still say he deserves our faith. Because all those reasons don't hold a candle to the reasons we should still have faith in him. If you hold on and trust God sincerely to the end, you will not be ashamed or disappointed. In fact you will be delighted. That's basically it.

Hell is full of people who still think they are right. Now I sympathize. I can sit here and give you reason after reason why I shouldn't believe, starting with why did God allow my wife to leave me. But I've learned this very thing: The things in our lives which make the least sense to us are those in which God is doing his greatest work in us.

I have seen the reality of that. I could be bitter and curse God and sit around licking my wounds. Or I can be smart and say, "You can do no wrong. Yet will I praise you." And you know what? When I do that he takes me to places I never would have experienced otherwise. That's what's going on in this life.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:11 PM   #32
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Goodness, I left an unfinished post up while I went off to work. And came back to this irrational heated mess ... all over if God cares. WOW!

I'm more concerned about caring out here than if God cares right now.

And btw Trapped, two things that came to mind concerning you today, that might be helpful.

First, music is great medicine. I thought to tell you that when I heard the song Don't Stop Believin' by Journey on the radio. Don't know why. Maybe it was this verse :
Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on
Also : Laughter. They say laughter is the best medicine. I say, laughter is a secret of the cosmos. So I hope that you can at least find laughter. Are you able to at least laugh at yourself?

I've found that, where there is no laughter, there is problems.

Brother Trapped, just consider that you are a pimple on the ass end of creation, and have a healthy sense of humor about it.

Reminds me of, "a time to weep, and a time to laugh." Just leave out, "All is vanity, and vexation of spirit," from Ecclesiastes. Those were the days before Prozac.

One more btw. A sister very dear to me, that I've known since the 70s, started taking Prozac some years ago, after the LC, and it turned her life around.
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:51 PM   #33
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Humanity needs to get to know God as he is.
What helped me the most was to know God as those who wrote the NT knew God (or 'were known by God' - Gal 4:9; cf 1 Cor 8:3), thus I can't say that I know God, but rather have begun to appreciate how little we know God as NT writers and their readers did. Today we read words (the Bible) and imagine everything to fill in the blanks. All the lost stuff we don't know we replace, and so our self-made imaginariums become our "knowing", all propped up with a few "crucial verses", never realizing we have layers and layers of cultural assumptions.

I went back and began to study ancient Church history, and to consider, perhaps, what the people back then thought about things. Lo and behold, it seems the NT was part of an on-going conversation. There actually wasn't a 500-year "blank spot" between the Old and New Testaments. There actually was a conversation going on, behind the NT message of gospels and epistles, which it continually alludes to. The interpretation of the OT didn't take place in a cultural vacuum, to be "restored" by Calvin et al centuries later.

But that oral conversation has almost completely been lost. But it was there. "Who do men say that I am" and "News of him spread throughout the land" and "all the people were talking about this". All this talk had shared meaning (even if different conclusions). That meaning has been lost, mostly. Most of it was gone within a few centuries. So instead of filling in the blanks with my culturally-mandated suppositions (as Nee, Lee, Darby et al did), I allowed myself to be ignorant. To be teachable. To not know.

My own personal turning point came when a little old lady smiled at me. I was in a foul mood that morning, and had no particular reason to smile, but I just decided out of sheer perversity (why not?) to smile instead of scowl. So I smiled and nodded courteously (or my impression of it), and said (with a little pomp), "Good morning!" She smiled back, and greeted me in turn. Wow! I can be nice! It's as easy to be nice as to be grouchy! What a revelation that was. Until that moment I was a black hole of need. Me, me, me. Suddenly I wanted to be nice to people. It was my destiny. Suddenly I wanted to care about the "other". To reach out. If nothing else, to nod and smile. Just because I could.

Eventually, years later, I began to read the Bible again. But 9/10ths of my spiritual growth (if there's been any) has been following that moment of revelation, with the "unlearning" almost all my old spiritual/doctrinal assumptions. I think that the whole "recovery" (or "restoration" or "reformation") concept has been undermined by our ignorance of how much was actually lost. So we settle down short of the promised rest, congratulating ourselves on having arrived.

There's clearly a conversation behind, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"(and no, I'm not a Hebrew Roots Law-Keeper) There's a conversation behind the questions put to John: "Are you the Christ" and "Are you the Prophet". But it almost seems as if the 17th and 19th and 20th-century conversations didn't feel the need to reference them, as present needs were too pressing, and the accretion of ignorance had long since covered over the loss. So the gap remained, un-noticed.

But does God care? I don't know. I guess that's why they call it faith.
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:38 AM   #34
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But does God care? I don't know. I guess that's why they call it faith.
I feel I know he cares, but I can't prove he cares. I can just give witness to what I've seen. And that's all the Lord asked us to do. He never said go out and prove things.

One way to look at it is if God doesn't care, then what are we doing here debating? Why are we wasting our time on a God who doesn't care?

So to me, believing God cares must be axiomatic. Because in reality you cannot function believing he doesn't. That is a life without hope.

That, combined with my experience of his care, is enough for me. Does that mean he does everything I wish he would. No. Does that mean my circumstances don't sometimes seem pointlessly arbitrary. No.

Life often seems to say that God doesn't care. But when I consider it from the standpoint of eternity, of what really matters, of my closeness to him and his intent for me to get to know him, and not from the temporal things of this life, then there is no doubt in my mind he cares. He obviously is trying to do a work in me, and if I cooperate with that great things happen within me, while my outward circumstances might still be somewhat disappointing, or perhaps even suggesting that he doesn't care.

Put simply: Faith is believing God cares, knows what he's doing and is in control, regardless of what your senses tell you.

I would say your decision to smile at the lady was an act of faith, faith that at the core of things there must be something good, perhaps even a God who cares.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:11 AM   #35
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I feel I know he cares, but I can't prove he cares. I can just give witness to what I've seen. And that's all the Lord asked us to do. He never said go out and prove things.

Put simply: Faith is believing God cares, knows what he's doing and is in control, regardless of what your senses tell you.
Great points. Glad to see your faith has grown thru trials!

If we would step back for a moment and ask God Himself whether or not He "cares" about us, He might say, "What an absurd question, are you stupid? Did I not allow My Son to be brutally shamed and crucified for you all? Did I not prove My love once for all?"
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:33 AM   #36
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Put simply: Faith is believing God cares, knows what he's doing and is in control, regardless of what your senses tell you.
Good post Igzy.

Evidence that God cares is encapsulated in "Mat 5:45* That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."*

This evidence proves that he cares not only because I'm here, but because He has massive cosmological systems in place for me to exist here.

But since most of these systems are following what we call natural laws, it could seem that He put these massive cosmological systems in place, running on automatic, so that He doesn't have to personally care.

Does he intervene in these systems, to personally involve Himself in caring for me? I like to think so. When everything else fails, where else do I have to turn?

Does the Bible prove he cares? Well it proves He cared during Biblical times. Intervention into natural law systems happened all the time in Biblical times. If such interventions happened today, such that happened back then, then no one would question if God cares.
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:43 AM   #37
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Faith is believing God cares, knows what he's doing and is in control, regardless of what your senses tell you. I'd say your decision to smile at the lady was an act of faith that at the core of things there must be something good, perhaps even a God who cares.
It was sort of a random act of kindness on my part, to smile and say hello, because there was no reason to smile, especially because my life was trending sharply downward at the point, and it had been for some time. But I just decided out of pure perversity to smile and pretend I was happy. (or was that God's grace?) And this random stranger smiled back, and the world began to glow with new and fresh light.

I interpreted that as “God cares” in my own hermeneutic scheme, while others (atheists) might interpret that experience otherwise. And I as a Christian had my own formulations of “God” as well, and as an ex-LC Christian had even more suppositional baggage yet to discard. But I was on my way.

My last post (#33) was disjointed as it was late night/early morning and I was less than cogent (or worse than usual). So I’ll try again.

Igzy said, “Know God as He is”. My response was twofold, with the two aspects being mutually supportive. The first was regarding mental comprehension, the second regarding experience. First, I've begun to sense how little we really know, i.e. how much was once known (commonly understood) in the 1st century (NT) era, but which meaning(s) got lost in time. And that loss of knowledge has led us to impoverished interpretations of scripture, both NT and OT, plus weird and imbalanced behaviours and associations that follow. Three sub-points to make my case, all LC-derived.
A. The complete hash that WL made of the Psalms. No basis for what he did in NT reception. But he did it, and thousands swallowed it. Looking at it now, there's nothing but ignorance, both in production (ministry) and its passive acceptance.
B. Once I was conversing with an elder in the LC system and also with a rank-and-file member. I mentioned something of Christ seen in the OT type, but which wasn’t promoted by WL. But the elder couldn’t deny the clear NT correlation, so he just shut his mouth and looked straight ahead. The conversation up to that point had been lively. The elder could not disagree, but since WL hadn't covered it, he couldn't agree, either. So, silence. The other member sat there mute, as the elder wasn't talking. Talk about an awkward silence.
C. In John 1:21 they ask John, “Are you the Prophet?” and in the RecV there’s no comment but a cross-reference to Deuteronomy 18:18 where a footnote says, “God would raise up this Prophet through the incarnation of Christ to speak the word of God. To speak God’s word, i.e., to prophesy, is to dispense God, to speak God forth into others. This is what the Lord Jesus did as the Prophet raised up by God." Then two rather prominent gospel quotes given in Acts (3:22, 7:37) without comment in the RecV. So we're supposed to believe that Jesus was the Prophet in the NT, a "Prophet like Moses", because he prophesied? Is that it? Paul wrote, "We can all prophesy, one by one"... we are supposed to think that the question in John 1:21 and the quotes in Acts 3 and 7 meant only what WL's one footnote in Deut 18 said it meant?

My point was that we (Christianity) have lost so much of the early discussion surrounding the NT text that we'd create our own understandings from “special” verses, and even half-verses (!!), and at the same time, we're free to ignore or minimise other verses (John 1:21; Acts 3:22, 7:37) that obviously had importance to the gospel narrative at that time. So I ask, do we really know God?

On that basis, I no longer presume to "know God". If perhaps God doesn’t seem to care about me today, this isn’t due to God’s carelessness or indifference or impotence, but rather due to my ignorant disconnect. My attempts to find God’s providential care are often spotty due to my disconnect with the word, but still I’m arguably better off than when I presumed to have it sussed. Truly, those most blind are those who don't know they're blind. Amen, amen.

Second point is experiential. My ability to be kind to a random stranger, and the instant blessing from the experience, showed that “What you do to others, God will do to you.” Oh! That's what Jesus meant! Not in the bye-and-bye, but in real time. From that moment of revelation, I oriented toward serving others, and even when I didn’t get the repayment in kind, the act of service itself became its own reward. Eventually I realized this was at the core of Jesus’ teaching.

Have I succeeded in my mission? I don’t know. But everything I gave came back many-fold, pressed down, shaken, running over. It’s true. Yet in the LC they not only don’t teach this but suppress it. “Don’t waste your time”, we were told by the FTTA trainer in a meeting. I was there and heard it, and he wasn’t going rogue. The man is now at the peak of the Blendeds’ heap in Anaheim. So he was clearly channeling WL's wishes.

That's what I mean by "un-learning". We have to unlearn a lot, both in practice and (mis)understanding, before we can know God as He is.

(I don't imply that either Trapped is stuck in the self-centered black hole I once was, or Igzy suffers from lack in "knowing God". I'm sharing perspectives on my own history and journey, and don't claim MOTA-ship or guru-hood. I'm just a bozo on the bus, with a particular and quite limited experience, with small application to others, if any.)
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:09 PM   #38
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But since most of these systems are following what we call natural laws, it could seem that He put these massive cosmological systems in place, running on automatic, so that He doesn't have to personally care.
Yes, the universe does follow natural laws, but there is no evidence that these natural laws have been set in motion, like the old "Clock maker" metaphor, without being constantly maintained by the Creator.

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Does he intervene in these systems, to personally involve Himself in caring for me? I like to think so. When everything else fails, where else do I have to turn?
God requires that we know Him by faith in this age. This faith needs to be tested and proved thru trials which result in the glory of God and bring shame to His enemy.

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Does the Bible prove he cares? Well it proves He cared during Biblical times. Intervention into natural law systems happened all the time in Biblical times.
The Bible "proved" nothing during Biblical times. The Bible recorded actual events of God's miraculous salvation, which provided evidence of His reality. When Jesus performed endless miracles before their eyes, nothing was "proved." The Jewish leaders rejected the overwhelming evidence ("He is of age, ask him" -- John 9.14-41) before their eyes, and still they wanted Him dead.

The Pharisees only wanted "more proof" -- the age old excuse not to believe.

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If such interventions happened today, such that happened back then, then no one would question if God cares.
The end times will be accompanied by endless signs, all foretold in scripture, yet they will still refuse to believe.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:15 PM   #39
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It was sort of a “random act of kindness” on my part, to smile and say hello, because there was no reason to smile, especially because my life was trending sharply downward at the point, and it had been for some time.
It has been rightly said that the best time to preach the gospel or care for someone else is when we are at our lowest point.
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:13 PM   #40
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But I just decided out of pure perversity to smile and “pretend” I was happy. (or was that God's grace?) And this random stranger smiled back, and the world began to glow with new and fresh light.
"Who has despised the day of small things?" Zech 4:10
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:33 PM   #41
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Great points. Glad to see your faith has grown thru trials!

If we would step back for a moment and ask God Himself whether or not He "cares" about us, He might say, "What an absurd question, are you stupid? Did I not allow My Son to be brutally shamed and crucified for you all? Did I not prove My love once for all?"
Thanks, Ohio.

I think people who believe God doesn't care are focused on the temporal.

Job is the example. He was as good as they get, and God tested him, to the extreme. Job did pretty well with the test, but was far from perfect. God came in and rebuked his clueless friends, but not Job, at least not as much. Then he blessed Job more than before.

That's going to be our story. Hopefully our well-meaning friends fare better than Job's.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:37 PM   #42
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That's going to be our story. Hopefully our well-meaning friends fare better than Job's.
Thru the book of Job we know that the Lord loves us to the uttermost. Yet because we are fallen, He allows Satan to harm us in measured ways so that our faith can be tested and proved. God's past manifold blessings to Job had made him vulnerable to pride, thinking more highly of himself than he should have.

As friends and brothers, we should be kind-hearted, compassionate, and caring for those around us enduring such trials. The suffering one is thus a test for all those around the sufferer. How many times have I heard tacky speculations spoken to one being tried, "Maybe the Lord this or that . . . " Instead of love, cheap advice is the easier course.

WL spoke much on the "Good Samaritan" in Luke 10. He loved to interpret all the types to bring out the realities of Christ Himself. Yet he missed the punchline -- "You go and do likewise." The story of Job's friends highlights what not to do when the Lord is proving one's faith, rather we should heed His word and "go and do likewise."
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:08 AM   #43
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Y'all may be surprised to hear that I agree with the direction this thread has taken. I see unity in the diversity of opinions. God is Being itself. If God didn't care I wouldn't exist this very moment. The presence of God sustains the universe. God is at the center of every being including you and me. That's faith talking. I hope Trapped is getting help from this discussion.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:08 AM   #44
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Y'all may be surprised to hear that I agree with the direction this thread has taken. I see unity in the diversity of opinions. God is Being itself. If God didn't care I wouldn't exist this very moment. The presence of God sustains the universe. God is at the center of every being including you and me. That's faith talking. I hope Trapped is getting help from this discussion.
Good to hear, zeek.

To me, it's simple.
  • Clearly there must be Something that came before everything, that was there in the beginning.
  • Sound reasoning says that must have been something like God.
  • God created us to value love and caring, so he must also.
  • All that is needed is for us to live in loving relationship with God, and to allow our lives and destinies to flow from this.
  • But wait, God is perfect, and we have done many things to offend him. What do we do about that?
  • God wants to forgive us, but cannot just forgive without some consequence, otherwise it would be like saying sin isn't really sin.
  • So God came himself as a human being and took the consequence for us.
  • All we have to do is receive this gift and continue in relationship with God.
  • Who would not appreciate and want such a gift? People reject it ultimately simply because they choose darkness over light.
  • Unbelief then, is anti-life.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:15 AM   #45
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Y'all may be surprised to hear that I agree with the direction this thread has taken. I see unity in the diversity of opinions. God is Being itself. If God didn't care I wouldn't exist this very moment. The presence of God sustains the universe. God is at the center of every being including you and me. That's faith talking. I hope Trapped is getting help from this discussion.
I think we've been preaching to the choir and it's likely Trapped is still trapped.

I think it's quite possible the only thing that's going to free him is "the least of these," in that it's going to take a physical answer to free him, not ideological or theological answers.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:21 AM   #46
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Job is the example. He was as good as they get, and God tested him, to the extreme.
This one one of my takeaways from the study of Job. God wanted some men of God to taste the inner anguish of His Son long before He came to die on the cross. God wanted a written record to voice the inner agonies His Son would endure. He needed men of God who suffered for no sin of their own.

Job cried out to a God who apparently was not listening. Job's anguish was on 3 levels. First he lost every earthly possession, except his wife. Second, he lost his health, enduring painful physical agony for days on end, perhaps 40, crying out for death to release him. Third, he lost his dignity, his reputation, his worth. He went from the wise sage and benefactor to the laughing stock of the town. (consider Phil 2.5-8)

Later King David would voice these same "human sentiments" when he cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me." Jesus likewise also cried out on the cross. He too felt totally forsaken by God. As Igzy has said, "The things in your life which make the least sense to you are the ones in which God is doing his greatest work in you."

The Gospels do not actually record for us what was happening within the heart of Jesus. The writers recorded what they saw and heard, yet who could know the mind of the Lord? In His wisdom, God answered this question in part thru the prophetic feelings of men of God. If we seek, we will find. Psalm 22 provides some insight thru David's suffering. Job provides more.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:22 AM   #47
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I see unity in the diversity of opinions. God is Being itself. If God didn't care I wouldn't exist this very moment. The presence of God sustains the universe.
The moment I found faith to smile at a stranger, my life changed. I call that God. I found out that it takes just as much effort to frown as to smile.

"My yoke is easy, and my burden light". God doesn't ask too much of us, just try to do your best in your limited circumstances. That is faith. You don't have to change the world. Just be nice to the person next to you, i.e. "love your neighbour as your self". (that in itself can be vexing at times).

I simplified my approach and the results were astonishing. I kept getting validation. I had many failures and blank spots, but the validation kept being an "amen" from the universe beyond. God was out there somewhere, but if I tried to love the person next to me, not with mere emotion but with some small, even pathetic outreach, the Spirit came alongside to help.

If you look at Jesus, this was arguably at the core of his mission. Look at the beginning of each gospel. He went around healing, cleansing, restoring the lost and the broken, and people swarmed near, not for doctrines but for God's love outpoured. Years later, Peter summarised his life to a gentile audience, saying, "He was anointed by God, and went around doing good".
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Acts 10:37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We're witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
We aren't asked to do too much, just try to believe and "be kind to one another" as Paul put it (Eph 4:32). And a few common-sense things added by the apostle - "Those of you who once stole should steal no more" (Eph 4:28). It's all quite doable. It's not beyond us.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:09 AM   #48
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I think we've been preaching to the choir and it's likely Trapped is still trapped.

I think it's quite possible the only thing that's going to free him is "the least of these," in that it's going to take a physical answer to free him, not ideological or theological answers.
It won't be any one thing, and it will be a process. The main thing he needs to do is start a simple dialogue with God himself. Just start talking in a simple, honest, personal way.

I left the LC and for a long time was afraid to talk to God. Slowly I began to notice his wooing, it was very tender and gentle. I began to realize that he really does love me and that I wanted to be with him.
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Old 02-19-2019, 03:59 PM   #49
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It won't be any one thing, and it will be a process. The main thing he needs to do is start a simple dialogue with God himself. Just start talking in a simple, honest, personal way.

I left the LC and for a long time was afraid to talk to God. Slowly I began to notice his wooing, it was very tender and gentle. I began to realize that he really does love me and that I wanted to be with him.
I went thru a similar thing. And God came to me. I then realized it didn't depend on me.

Since then, however, God and I have had our disagreements. God can only be as honest toward us as we are toward Him. When he took my son I spent many a day shaking my fist at Him.
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Old 02-19-2019, 06:30 PM   #50
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I went thru a similar thing. And God came to me. I then realized it didn't depend on me.

Since then, however, God and I have had our disagreements. God can only be as honest toward us as we are toward Him. When he took my son I spent many a day shaking my fist at Him.
Strange, when my son died I spent many a day shaking my fist at myself.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:58 PM   #51
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Strange, when my son died I spent many a day shaking my fist at myself.
I did that too. I kept wondering what I did, or didn't do, wondering, blaming myself.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:43 PM   #52
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Trapped,

When you say God or Jesus don't "show up," what do you expect that "showing up" to be like? What isn't happening that you expect or hope would happen?
This is a hard one to answer because the only way I have to express it is using LC terminology and phrases that people have used my whole life to describe their own experience. All I can say is that I haven't experienced what they describe. Of course, in saying that, I am taking it on faith that what THEY are describing is truly the Lord and not something else that isn't the Lord. It's possible that in itself is part of the problem because maybe it lends itself to me expecting something about the Lord that is poorly described, but here goes. I'm going to start off by free typing out as many phrases as I can that come to mind that describe an experience of the Lord:

===============

The Lord spoke to me / the Lord said.....

I was so convicted that.....

The Lord showed me / shined on me....

I felt like the Lord was leading me to.....

He really comforted me in my situation.....

I felt the inward anointing.....

I had the life and peace to......

The Lord applied the soothing oil to my wounds......

All my mental turmoil vanished and peace reigned.....

The Lord helped me to forgive.....

The Lord came in.....

Jesus appeared to me and I've never been the same.

I touched the Lord this morning.

I spent time in His presence.

I approached the Holy of Holies.

I saw Him in His glory.

I received a controlling vision.

========

What on earth do any of those mean? I haven't experienced them. It's not for not trying. It's not for not opening. It's not for not giving Him plenty of chances. But everyone around me seems to be pretty confident in what they are saying. Am I crazy? Or are they crazy?

I've asked the question here and elsewhere about how to know the Lord's leading, and the common response has been essentially that many admit there isn't actual "leading"; rather, you can do what you want unless you have a "no" from your conscience. To me that is not "leading" so much as "not prevented". "Leading" implies some external thing to follow after......but in actually pushing on the matter, it seems most people just do what they want unless they are stopped.

I have also asked about people saying they have a conversation with the Lord. When I push on it, they admit there is no "conversation"....it's just one way. The Lord doesn't actually "speak", although I think many people say they have had at least one experience in their life where they thought the Lord spoke to them so loudly about something important that they basically could "hear" Him.

All this just sounds to me the same as the Lord not being there. They say there is leading but really there isn't. They say there is conversation but really there isn't. It's not a feeling, don't go by your feelings. But people live their lives according to this. I can't wrap my head around it.

As I've said, I've been on my knees in tears and anguish recently, asking the Lord for help, or healing, or just coming to Him. But that's all that happens. There is no "sense" while I'm doing that that He's there. There is no "inward" anything. There is no healing. There are no comforting words "spoken" to me. When I stand up I'm just emptied from the tears but there is nothing beneficial that happened or change or feeling from the praying. If I can't go by feeling, as the LC says, then what is there to go by? All I can see is it's the same as not praying. It's the same as the Lord not showing up. It's the same as God not caring.

I don't know how helpful that is.
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:41 AM   #53
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If I can't go by feeling, as the LC says, then what is there to go by? All I can see is it's the same as not praying. It's the same as the Lord not showing up. It's the same as God not caring.
Maybe you're trying to put something divine in your bucket but you don't have a bucket. Maybe you're trying to feel God's care within the LC paradigm. Maybe God is waiting for a new bucket, a new wineskin.

Maybe, you're missing a purpose and meaning in your life, - gasp - independent of God. Jesus taught that if you lose your soul-life for his sake you will gain it. Maybe the problem is, if you don't yet have a soul-life to lose, how can you gain one?
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Old 02-20-2019, 01:09 PM   #54
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This is a hard one to answer because the only way I have to express it is using LC terminology and phrases that people have used my whole life to describe their own experience. All I can say is that I haven't experienced what they describe. Of course, in saying that, I am taking it on faith that what THEY are describing is truly the Lord and not something else that isn't the Lord. It's possible that in itself is part of the problem because maybe it lends itself to me expecting something about the Lord that is poorly described, but here goes. I'm going to start off by free typing out as many phrases as I can that come to mind that describe an experience of the Lord:

===============

The Lord spoke to me / the Lord said.....

I was so convicted that.....

The Lord showed me / shined on me....

I felt like the Lord was leading me to.....

He really comforted me in my situation.....

I felt the inward anointing.....

I had the life and peace to......

The Lord applied the soothing oil to my wounds......

All my mental turmoil vanished and peace reigned.....

The Lord helped me to forgive.....

The Lord came in.....

Jesus appeared to me and I've never been the same.

I touched the Lord this morning.

I spent time in His presence.

I approached the Holy of Holies.

I saw Him in His glory.

I received a controlling vision.

========

What on earth do any of those mean? I haven't experienced them. It's not for not trying. It's not for not opening. It's not for not giving Him plenty of chances. But everyone around me seems to be pretty confident in what they are saying. Am I crazy? Or are they crazy?
I've come to distrust those that make claims you listed. To me it sounds narcissistic ; like, 'Look at me, or listen to me, I'm the center of what God is doing.' Lee was a master at that.

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I have also asked about people saying they have a conversation with the Lord.
While in the LC I developed a habit of an internal dialogue with God. The habit continued after leaving, even after letting go of all the rest.

Years later it dawned on me that my habit wasn't a dialogue. It was a monologue, as I did all the talking. Then I thought, if I had a friend, that I talked to every day, and he didn't talk back, or even acknowledge that he even heard me, I'd conclude that my friend was deaf, dumb, and mute.

So for a year or so I went around telling others that I thought God was deaf, dumb, and mute.

That didn't kill the habit. I can't live without my invisible friend. And oddly, when I look back over the years I feel led by God, but didn't know it at the time ... tho sometimes it felt like it ... leading in opposite ways from what I expected ... often pulling the rug out from under where I placed faith in other than God Himself ... like the dead letter Bible.
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Old 02-20-2019, 03:24 PM   #55
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As I've said, I've been on my knees in tears and anguish recently, asking the Lord for help, or healing, or just coming to Him. But that's all that happens. There is no "sense" while I'm doing that that He's there. There is no "inward" anything. There is no healing. There are no comforting words "spoken" to me. When I stand up I'm just emptied from the tears but there is nothing beneficial that happened or change or feeling from the praying. If I can't go by feeling, as the LC says, then what is there to go by? All I can see is it's the same as not praying. It's the same as the Lord not showing up. It's the same as God not caring.

I don't know how helpful that is.
I have two experiences I hope will help. Once in Houston they wanted a bunch of young brothers to share a message and I was given an assignment. We were given one week to prepare. So I went home and prayed that the Lord would give me an experience of what I was sharing. I didn't want it to be simply a teaching. I prayed that I was praying according to His will, He was the one who asked for me to share. I told Him I expected him to answer this. Then a week later it is time to share and it hits me -- wait, how come God never answered that prayer? So again I prayed, "hey, how come you didn't answer?" He said "I did". I was like what, when, where? So I thought very carefully about everything that happened during the week and sure enough there was a small experience of the Lord. Can't even remember what it was. At first it didn't seem to have anything to do with what I was sharing, but as I thought on it I realized it did. So I shared that experience and from then on I frequently would pray like that and I'd be a lot more sensitive to any response.

The other experience was that I used to feel this way as well. I would read the Bible. I'd begin with Galatians and before I finished Colossians I'd stop. I never felt like I got anything, and yet, after fifteen minutes of reading I no longer felt so desperate.
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:34 AM   #56
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As I've said, I've been on my knees in tears and anguish recently, asking the Lord for help, or healing, or just coming to Him. But that's all that happens. There is no "sense" while I'm doing that that He's there. There is no "inward" anything. There is no healing. There are no comforting words "spoken" to me. When I stand up I'm just emptied from the tears but there is nothing beneficial that happened or change or feeling from the praying. If I can't go by feeling, as the LC says, then what is there to go by? All I can see is it's the same as not praying. It's the same as the Lord not showing up. It's the same as God not caring.

I don't know how helpful that is.
The funny thing about God is, even though he is tender and loving and cares, and wants to have relationships with us, he does things on HIS TERMS.

He requires faith, which means at some basic level you believe. This doesn't mean that you cannot tell him exactly how you feel. It means at the core of it you must have a basic respect for who he is. Though he is a friend, he is not a peer. He is God.

Another thing is if you can't hear God or sense him, it's probably because your mind and emotions are too busy. You have to quiet yourself. You have to really listen, that means sincerely, desperately and with faith.

Just get in a quiet place and start talking to God. It's better if you talk out loud. Be sincere, but be respectful and trusting. Ask him to reveal himself to you. Tell him the most minor problem you have. Examine all of your inner feelings and senses and bring them all to him. If you have a feeling or sense that you don't know how to interpret or place, tell him about it. The beauty of it is you can tell him anything about anything. He understands it all and if you really give him a chance he will give you wisdom you never thought you could have. But again, though you should totally be yourself and not pretend, it will be on HIS TERMS.
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:58 PM   #57
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The funny thing about God is, even though he is tender and loving and cares, and wants to have relationships with us, he does things on HIS TERMS.

He requires faith, which means at some basic level you believe. This doesn't mean that you cannot tell him exactly how you feel. It means at the core of it you must have a basic respect for who he is. Though he is a friend, he is not a peer. He is God.

Another thing is if you can't hear God or sense him, it's probably because your mind and emotions are too busy. You have to quiet yourself. You have to really listen, that means sincerely, desperately and with faith.

Just get in a quiet place and start talking to God. It's better if you talk out loud. Be sincere, but be respectful and trusting. Ask him to reveal himself to you. Tell him the most minor problem you have. Examine all of your inner feelings and senses and bring them all to him. If you have a feeling or sense that you don't know how to interpret or place, tell him about it. The beauty of it is you can tell him anything about anything. He understands it all and if you really give him a chance he will give you wisdom you never thought you could have. But again, though you should totally be yourself and not pretend, it will be on HIS TERMS.
Do we know His terms, or does He keep them closely breasted?
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Old 02-21-2019, 07:14 PM   #58
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Do we know His terms, or does He keep them closely breasted?
His terms are simple. That we trust him and obey him.
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:10 PM   #59
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Do we know His terms, or does He keep them closely breasted?
Do you remember when you spent time in His word, and the Lord was alive to you?
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:12 PM   #60
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His terms are simple. That we trust him and obey him.
O I remember the song :
"When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:13 PM   #61
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Do you remember when you spent time in His word, and the Lord was alive to you?
The Lord has always been alive to me. God can't die.
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:12 PM   #62
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The funny thing about God is, even though he is tender and loving and cares, and wants to have relationships with us, he does things on HIS TERMS.

He requires faith, which means at some basic level you believe. This doesn't mean that you cannot tell him exactly how you feel. It means at the core of it you must have a basic respect for who he is. Though he is a friend, he is not a peer. He is God.
To say that someone has to have a basic respect up front doesn't do much for me. Not to compare things in any way to what the poor girl Elizabeth Smart went through (the one who was kidnapped, violated, and finally got free in the semi-recent past), but that would be akin to saying to her, "If you want to get close to a man and get married you have to have a basic trust and respect for men". She would say, "uh, hell no, because of what I've been through any man needs to show me he can be respected. He's got to gain my trust."

This is kind of what it's like toward the Lord for some church kids. God has been so totally misrepresented and twisted. Surely God has the ability to see that and slightly meet the church kids halfway who have a justified mistrust and hesitation towards Him because of what they've gone through?

Again, the comparison to the Smart girl is horrible and truly doesn't compare, but I'm just trying to draw a parallel to a scenario where there is some distrust that surely God can have some empathy for and isn't sitting on His throne heartlessly still demanding that we trust Him for Him to even consider whispering a syllable, rather than seeing that people have been hurt and damaged in the LC and going out to meet them like the prodigal's father. To even attempt to approach Him is difficult.....can He not have some slight mercy on us and take a step Himself?


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Another thing is if you can't hear God or sense him, it's probably because your mind and emotions are too busy. You have to quiet yourself. You have to really listen, that means sincerely, desperately and with faith.

Just get in a quiet place and start talking to God. It's better if you talk out loud. Be sincere, but be respectful and trusting. Ask him to reveal himself to you. Tell him the most minor problem you have. Examine all of your inner feelings and senses and bring them all to him. If you have a feeling or sense that you don't know how to interpret or place, tell him about it. The beauty of it is you can tell him anything about anything. He understands it all and if you really give him a chance he will give you wisdom you never thought you could have. But again, though you should totally be yourself and not pretend, it will be on HIS TERMS.
It's difficult to manufacture desperation when the faith just isn't there. Desperation gets squashed pretty quickly by depression and deflation when due to experience you just don't think desperation, or anything, will produce any result.

I'm just not the kind of person who wants to sit down and examine all my inner feelings and senses. This is what the Christian life is? Maybe it's a good thing I got saved in the LC where I couldn't think because if I didn't grow up there maybe I would never have gotten saved as an adult.

I agree with awareness's question: what are His terms?

I will tell you one experience I had. Years ago I was staying with some saints temporarily and was somewhat at a crossroads in my life. The saints were pushing me to use that time to really try to contact the Lord, so I did. I tried and tried and tried and tried. Nothing. Finally one day, I decided to say "Lord, I open wide to You" 10 times in a row and try to mean it. By the 9 or 10th time, there was........something. I don't know what it was, but it was something. A feeling? A presence? A ...... something. It lasted about 5-10 seconds, and then faded away. I thought maybe I had touched something for the first time.

The next day I sat down and did the same thing - "Lord I open wide to You" 10 times in a row and try to mean it. Nothing. I kept going to 20 times, but nothing. I thought, "I'm not going to sit down every day and hope I stumble across the magical phrase that God decides to respond to that day", and I gave up. What kind of relationship is stumbling around for nothing? And even the "something" I felt, for theoretically being the meaning of my life and the entire reason I was created, wasn't anything that I was hungering to experience again, it didn't revolutionize my life, it didn't change me. It was some sort of thing, and then it was gone. What am I supposed to do with that?

Okay, I'm reminded of another experience I had, around this same time. I had been frustrated by a string of getting nowhere, and one night I was lying in bed restless and unable to sleep because of it. I realized partially that the distrust I described earlier in my post was a hindrance, and thought about the innate trust that children and dogs seem to put in people. I blurted out with my eyes closed, "Lord, I wish I could trust You like I was a little child!" and.......there was something. Almost like, and this seems crazy, a wind blew through me and something rushed over me. Again it lasted about 5 seconds, and then faded away. I was left in a dark empty room, silent for a second.......and then I said, "Okay, what am I supposed to do with that?" What am I supposed to do with an undefined "something"? What am I supposed to do with a "wind"? If that's the purpose of my existence and what my being is supposedly created to hunger after, what is the point and what am I supposed to actually DO with that?

25% of me wonders if that's just what people who meditate experience - trying to empty yourself and you feel some sort of peace or opening or whatever. My entire "Christian life" has confounded me.

I definitely recall getting saved. There was a sensation of "newness" in me when I prayed to receive the Lord, for lack of a better way to explain it. (Although I found out years later that I had actually, totally unremembered by me, apparently prayed and received the Lord with one of my parents the week before I thought I received the Lord, so in a sense even that salvation experience that I remembered was maybe not when I "actually" got saved......that kind of shook me to be honest). But either way it didn't change me or have an effect on me. Getting baptized was a non-event, it just happened and was beyond neutral. Nothing was real to me after, nothing changed, even as a newly saved person the Lord wasn't close or real or present or new or exciting. Just nothing. There wasn't a "joy" of salvation. I didn't immediately "hunger" after the Bible or have a thirst to "get to know this Person". The young people's meetings, while fun to hang out with friends my own age, did not draw me close to the Lord in anyway or present Him in an attractive way to me. They very, very quickly became an act. I don't know what to say.
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Old 02-22-2019, 03:09 AM   #63
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The Lord has always been alive to me. God can't die.
God can't die, but we can be dead in sin. When we receive His life, we become alive in Him.

But you knew all that.
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Old 02-22-2019, 08:45 AM   #64
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Trapped,

I read something recently that was helpful. It said, Most fear is just a symptom of indecision, make up your mind and it will fade.

What I see is a guy with a lot of confusion and indecision. Ask yourself, what do you want. Do you want to know God? Do you want to just have a happy life? Ask yourself, what do I really want, and then make up your mind to move in that direction. Make up your mind about something and get moving. It's the indecision that's killing you.

The fact is it's easier for God to guide us when we are in motion. When we are passive and indecisive all doors look the same. So choose something. Just move on with your life. Do the best you can. Keep it simple. Make friends. Try to be positive. Have fun. Be kind. Occasionally invite God into it. Ask him for help. Keep moving.

God will be there. He's in control. Nothing that has happened to you or that you are feeling is anything he doesn't understand or can't handle. We torment ourselves. I think certain personality types are like that. I tend to be. I've had to learn that a big part of my problems have just been a tendency to fret about things too much. I think Harold is like that some, too. We create our own hell by the thoughts we think.

It makes no sense to think that God is not good, otherwise where did you get your idea of good, or even that there is a good? Is there a good better than God? How could that be? So surely he must be good. But if we don't trust that he's good we just make all kinds of problems for ourselves. It's like living with the fear that everything is out to get you. What's the point of that?

Just get your life moving in some direction. God will step in. He is good. When you finally come to that realization in your own experience, I want you to contact me and tell me I was right. Okay?
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Old 02-22-2019, 09:27 AM   #65
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O I remember the song :
"When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."
A sweet and wonderful song, and one of my favorites. Some deep wisdom there, too. It really is that simple. Thanks, Harold.
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Old 02-22-2019, 09:46 AM   #66
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In short, Trapped, just choose to be happy, and get on with your life. It's in that environment that God will have a chance to speak to you. But it's very hard to hear a still, small voice when you remain in a whirlpool.

And, again, God's terms are that we trust and obey. Why should God bless you if you cannot trust him? And if you trust him why would you not obey him? What is the point of believing God is not good or is untrustworthy? You might as well not believe in him at all. But then what will you trust? There has to be something you can trust. What else can it be but God?

Pretty simple to me.

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Old 02-22-2019, 11:51 AM   #67
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Did you see the movie "Life of Pi?" It told the story of an Indian boy, named Pi, who was stranded at sea in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger on board. The ship he was on which sunk was carrying zoo animals, and at first a hyena, an orangutan and a zebra with a broken leg were also on the lifeboat, along with the tiger and Pi. The hyena was mean, and killed the zebra and the orangutan. Just when it was about to kill Pi, the tiger leaped out and killed it. From then on it was just Pi and the tiger on board. They then continued on various adventures, some quite fanciful. Eventually they reach land, and the tiger disappears, and Pi is rescued.

No one knows what to make of Pi's story, and eventually he tells another story, about a man with a broken leg, Pi's mother and an evil man on the lifeboat. The evil man kills the man with the broken leg and his mother, and then Pi, in a rage, kills the evil man.

Years later, Pi is questioned about which story is true. Pi responds, "Which one do you prefer?" The questioner says he prefers the story about the tiger. Pi responds, "And so it goes with God."

The story's point, I think, is that given a choice to believe in God or not, with no proof whatsoever, and even with some evidence against this fantastic story about a Being who was from the beginning, it is better to believe in God than not. It's just a better story.

And by believing the story, you eventually come to know that it is true, which is the most amazing part of the story.
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Old 02-22-2019, 08:55 PM   #68
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Did you see the movie "Life of Pi?" It told the story of an Indian boy, named Pi, who was stranded at sea in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger on board. The ship he was on which sunk was carrying zoo animals, and at first a hyena, an orangutan and a zebra with a broken leg were also on the lifeboat, along with the tiger and Pi. The hyena was mean, and killed the zebra and the orangutan. Just when it was about to kill Pi, the tiger leaped out and killed it. From then on it was just Pi and the tiger on board. They then continued on various adventures, some quite fanciful. Eventually they reach land, and the tiger disappears, and Pi is rescued.

No one knows what to make of Pi's story, and eventually he tells another story, about a man with a broken leg, Pi's mother and an evil man on the lifeboat. The evil man kills the man with the broken leg and his mother, and then Pi, in a rage, kills the evil man.

Years later, Pi is questioned about which story is true. Pi responds, "Which one do you prefer?" The questioner says he prefers the story about the tiger. Pi responds, "And so it goes with God."

The story's point, I think, is that given a choice to believe in God or not, with no proof whatsoever, and even with some evidence against this fantastic story about a Being who was from the beginning, it is better to believe in God than not. It's just a better story.

And by believing the story, you eventually come to know that it is true, which is the most amazing part of the story.
And I'm sure that you know that this principle came up in 17th c., by the philosopher, Blaise Pascal.

For those unfamiliar it's known as Pascal's Wager. In a nutshell :

The Wager
  1. God is, or God is not. Reason cannot decide between the two alternatives.
  2. A Game is being played... where heads or tails will turn up.
  3. You must wager (it is not optional).
  4. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
  5. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (...) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.
  6. But some cannot believe. They should then 'at least learn your inability to believe...' and 'Endeavour then to convince' themselves.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager
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Old 03-03-2019, 07:56 PM   #69
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Trapped,

I read something recently that was helpful. It said, Most fear is just a symptom of indecision, make up your mind and it will fade.

What I see is a guy with a lot of confusion and indecision. Ask yourself, what do you want. Do you want to know God? Do you want to just have a happy life? Ask yourself, what do I really want, and then make up your mind to move in that direction. Make up your mind about something and get moving. It's the indecision that's killing you.

The fact is it's easier for God to guide us when we are in motion. When we are passive and indecisive all doors look the same. So choose something. Just move on with your life. Do the best you can. Keep it simple. Make friends. Try to be positive. Have fun. Be kind. Occasionally invite God into it. Ask him for help. Keep moving.

God will be there. He's in control. Nothing that has happened to you or that you are feeling is anything he doesn't understand or can't handle. We torment ourselves. I think certain personality types are like that. I tend to be. I've had to learn that a big part of my problems have just been a tendency to fret about things too much. I think Harold is like that some, too. We create our own hell by the thoughts we think.

It makes no sense to think that God is not good, otherwise where did you get your idea of good, or even that there is a good? Is there a good better than God? How could that be? So surely he must be good. But if we don't trust that he's good we just make all kinds of problems for ourselves. It's like living with the fear that everything is out to get you. What's the point of that?

Just get your life moving in some direction. God will step in. He is good. When you finally come to that realization in your own experience, I want you to contact me and tell me I was right. Okay?

Any time I do anything and become involved in anything that I treasure as special, God makes sure to rip it apart. I am at the point where I have nothing left in me to try something new or go a different direction; from experience I know that it is only a matter of time that God will catch wind that I am happily involved in or enjoying something and He will twitch His pinky finger and throw a nuclear bomb in the whole thing to rip me to shreds.

I would love to happily totter off and have fun and get my life moving in some direction, but God is going to crush it as He has done everything else, so why even try? If "God will be there" means "you will end up on your knees in agony and pain".....then I guess I don't want God to be there.

I just don't trust God. I don't trust Him that He's good. My experience thus far bears it out. I'd love for Him to reveal otherwise.

Yes, I am confused, indecisive, I torment myself, and I fret about things.....guilty as charged.

I'm not trying to be difficult or obtuse, this is just my honest situation and response.

Thanks,

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Old 03-03-2019, 08:02 PM   #70
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In short, Trapped, just choose to be happy, and get on with your life. It's in that environment that God will have a chance to speak to you. But it's very hard to hear a still, small voice when you remain in a whirlpool.

And, again, God's terms are that we trust and obey. Why should God bless you if you cannot trust him? And if you trust him why would you not obey him? What is the point of believing God is not good or is untrustworthy? You might as well not believe in him at all. But then what will you trust? There has to be something you can trust. What else can it be but God?

Pretty simple to me.

Years ago I was talking to a saint who has a heart to help struggling saints. At one point I said "I don't trust the Lord". They stopped short and it was like I had slapped them in the face, and they responded "I've never had to help anyone with that before."

That response made me stop short myself. I thought, "If everyone you have helped thus far didn't have a problem trusting the Lord, what on earth were they struggling with then? If you trust the Lord, what's the problem?" Boy, did I feel like I was the world's biggest problem child after that interaction.

There is no one I can fully trust at the moment. It's not a good feeling. It's very unmooring.
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Old 03-04-2019, 05:50 AM   #71
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Years ago I was talking to a saint who has a heart to help struggling saints. At one point I said "I don't trust the Lord". They stopped short and it was like I had slapped them in the face, and they responded "I've never had to help anyone with that before."

That response made me stop short myself. I thought, "If everyone you have helped thus far didn't have a problem trusting the Lord, what on earth were they struggling with then? If you trust the Lord, what's the problem?" Boy, did I feel like I was the world's biggest problem child after that interaction.

There is no one I can fully trust at the moment. It's not a good feeling. It's very unmooring.
Trapped, we all have trouble trusting God. Read the Bible, every one of them did too. From the strongest to the weakest. Both the Old and the New. It's really unfortunate that some brother made you feel that you were the only one on earth with this "problem." That's like telling someone, "I never met anyone who struggled with temptations."

The difference is that you have painfully and honestly admitted it. Think about how many live their whole life never confronting this. I remember growing up Catholic and being forced to go into that dark confessional and kneeling down. I was supposed to confess my sins, but I could never, ever be honest with that shadowy voice on the other side. Impossible. My life as a Catholic ended with that mountain I could never climb. I preferred a dark soul of guilt and shame to the honesty of opening my heart to a stranger.

I could say much more about my own difficulties and hangups, but my point is that others in your life (and mine) have wrongly "wired you up" in your thinking about God. This is why this forum exists. We are merely a few others who have faced similar difficulties. Many of us who have responded so far, have not grown up in the LC. Perhaps some others who have grown up in the program will come along and offer some fresh perspective.
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:42 AM   #72
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Years ago I was talking to a saint who has a heart to help struggling saints. At one point I said "I don't trust the Lord". They stopped short and it was like I had slapped them in the face, and they responded "I've never had to help anyone with that before."

That response made me stop short myself. I thought, "If everyone you have helped thus far didn't have a problem trusting the Lord, what on earth were they struggling with then? If you trust the Lord, what's the problem?" Boy, did I feel like I was the world's biggest problem child after that interaction.

There is no one I can fully trust at the moment. It's not a good feeling. It's very unmooring.
Oh damn brother. What's the problem? I know the ideal is "trust and obey," but no one does it. Even Mother Teresa questioned if God existed.

And reading the Bible won't help. How can anyone trust God as depicted in the OT? And with Him coming back to His old form after Jesus in the gospels, in Revelation, the NT won't help either.

Trust? Given the human race, that's hard to find. But we march on in spite of it. I trust you're marching on, in the mist of this madhouse. What else can you do?

What about a woman? Can you find one of them you can trust? A woman can make you a better man, and lift your spirits.

There's a brother I've known since my c. in Detroit days -- 70s, Kangas. His church marriage failed after leaving the LC. 20 yrs ago he met a woman on the internet. He's not good lookin' but he found a gem. She's loving and caring, trustworthy ... and rich. He's been living a dream for 20 yrs.

They say s**t happens. But so does good, beauty, and trustworthy people. Maybe not as often, but it does happen. And a good woman comes around sometimes too.

Take care brother ... best wishes.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:52 PM   #73
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How does anyone know that God gives a crap?

I have turned to and cried out to Him in a curled up ball of psychological torment more times than I can count, and I cannot say one time that He "loses sleep" about me at all.

"God wraps His arms around me." No He doesn't.

"God spoke comforting words to me." No He didn't.

"God understands." Understanding doesn't equal caring.

"God cares". Caring from a distance and not getting involved is the same experientially for me as Him not caring.

Crying out to Him doesn't move Him to bend down one inch to help out in any way, so what is the point?

What is this "personal, intimate comforter" drivel?

Every passing day leads me more and more to believe He is a God who wound up the universe and walked away, indifferent to anything that happens in the cute little creation he made for fun one day billions of years ago.

He seems to bless the evil and laugh at the ones crushed by evil. He's just not there.

=====

Sorry. I know this is pretty "Alt views". Plenty of people in the Bible have felt this same way. I'm only human like them.
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:19 AM   #74
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How does anyone know that God gives a crap?

I have turned to and cried out to Him in a curled up ball of psychological torment more times than I can count, and I cannot say one time that He "loses sleep" about me at all.

"God wraps His arms around me." No He doesn't.

"God spoke comforting words to me." No He didn't.

"God understands." Understanding doesn't equal caring.

"God cares". Caring from a distance and not getting involved is the same experientially for me as Him not caring.

Crying out to Him doesn't move Him to bend down one inch to help out in any way, so what is the point?

What is this "personal, intimate comforter" drivel?

Every passing day leads me more and more to believe He is a God who wound up the universe and walked away, indifferent to anything that happens in the cute little creation he made for fun one day billions of years ago.

He seems to bless the evil and laugh at the ones crushed by evil. He's just not there.

=====

Sorry. I know this is pretty "Alt views". Plenty of people in the Bible have felt this same way. I'm only human like them.
I think this is a fair question and therefore I am sure you will agree that this question is also fair -- "How does anyone know that you care?"

The Lord said that our love for others would be how the world would know that we are the disciples of the Lord.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:50 PM   #75
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I think this is a fair question and therefore I am sure you will agree that this question is also fair -- "How does anyone know that you care?"

The Lord said that our love for others would be how the world would know that we are the disciples of the Lord.
I agree your question is a fair one although it doesn't negate or undo the one I asked.

People know I care because I actually DO something. They bemoan they don't spend enough time with their spouse so I take their kids for an evening so they can actually spend time with their spouse. They don't have anyone who can watch their house while they are gone so I step up and watch their house. They have surgery so I go visit and bring them food. Caring is actionable. If someone has surgery but I am at home "caring" about them but not actionably visiting them or making them food or bringing them things from their house that they can't walk over to pick up, then that "caring" is worthless because I'm not doing anything to make a difference in their life. Caring, from my perspective, equals action and involvement.

Of course it can also mean listening and offering advice. It can also mean just listening and offering a shoulder to cry on when you don't have advice. This may be what you or someone would argue God does. Well, the reason listening, offering advice, and crying on a shoulder helps is because of the physical presence, touch, and voice of the other person. If I was in a room with another person and stood facing away from them and I poured out my sorrows but they never responded with any words or touched me to console me or anything, then that isn't caring. God may listen, but that's apparently all He does. It is convenient that the only thing He does is the one thing that feels the same as Him doing nothing at all.
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:07 AM   #76
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Default Re: How do you know God cares?

Trapped,

I appreciate your ability to articulate what many, actually, are feeling, but either can't say it well or won't because it sounds "bad" coming out. They're conditioned to passively accept one view, and are given to understand that "everyone" thinks like this - or, should - and so don't consciously gaze down another than the officially sanctioned path.

But you have - you've thrown down the proverbial gauntlet and I think that's great.

Now, what is God going to do? Show that He(She/It/They) actually care, or simply stay the "God who hides himself"? I think you've done absolutely the right thing. Remember that no answer is still an answer. You have forced the issue and if God can't or won't reply then God isn't worth any time or effort on your part.

I struggle, too. The best I can say is that the moment* I began to care for others was the moment I "knew" (experienced or felt) that God cares. And the amount that God "cared" for me (by consistently amazing reciprocal intervention) was proportional to the amount that I "cared" (by reaching out of myself) for my proverbial neighbour. My effort at being "nice" to someone - essentially a random stranger - instead of "indifferent" or "surly" or "judgmental" was a sort of experiment. What would happen? Well, God met me there. That's all I can say. I found God.

That's really all I have to hang my hat on.

I know God cares for the Other Guy (or gal). I just know it. I feel it. And I try to let them know (best as I can) that I know it. Try to be patient, to be attentive, to care, to listen, to offer a kind or hopeful word. All of which may be spinning my wheels in a world without meaning. But it gives my world meaning.

*Years after leaving LC environs I might add
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Old 07-13-2019, 11:59 AM   #77
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I agree your question is a fair one although it doesn't negate or undo the one I asked.

People know I care because I actually DO something. They bemoan they don't spend enough time with their spouse so I take their kids for an evening so they can actually spend time with their spouse. They don't have anyone who can watch their house while they are gone so I step up and watch their house. They have surgery so I go visit and bring them food. Caring is actionable. If someone has surgery but I am at home "caring" about them but not actionably visiting them or making them food or bringing them things from their house that they can't walk over to pick up, then that "caring" is worthless because I'm not doing anything to make a difference in their life. Caring, from my perspective, equals action and involvement.

Of course it can also mean listening and offering advice. It can also mean just listening and offering a shoulder to cry on when you don't have advice. This may be what you or someone would argue God does. Well, the reason listening, offering advice, and crying on a shoulder helps is because of the physical presence, touch, and voice of the other person. If I was in a room with another person and stood facing away from them and I poured out my sorrows but they never responded with any words or touched me to console me or anything, then that isn't caring. God may listen, but that's apparently all He does. It is convenient that the only thing He does is the one thing that feels the same as Him doing nothing at all.
What exactly are you praying for God to care about?
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:47 PM   #78
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What exactly are you praying for God to care about?
Kind of a silly question, I daresay – of course it’s whether God cares if the Astros win the pennant - I mean, what else is worth caring about, in this age?

Seriously, though, the Bible says “God loved the world so much that He sent His only-begotten Son, that all those who believe might not perish, but have eternal life”. Here I take “love” to include “care” because I don’t know how you can love without care. (''Care" meaning: 1) to consistently pay close attention; and 2) to act consistently upon and for the object of attention).

Also “the world” here includes ZNP, Trapped, Aron, countmeworthy, awareness, Ohio, and a few billion others we won’t name because of time and space limitations. Does God care about us? Seems straight-forward to me. Not sure what else might be inferred.

But I review my previous answer and it is (as usual) hasty and incomplete. I'd also say, “I know (believe, understand) that God cares for us, because He sent Jesus.” The real question is: do we see Jesus?

When you see Jesus (I argue), you see God’s care, God’s provision, God’s love. You see God’s holiness, God’s purity, God’s wisdom and saving power. You see God's out-stretched arm, able to save to the uttermost. You see God's kingdom, domain, and expressed will. And when you see it you get it – and I use “get” in the double meaning, of both “receive” and “understand [experientially].” So the salient question is, do you see Jesus? (If you don't understand the word "see" I'd reference its use in John 1:51 and Hebrews 2:8,9 as examples).
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:20 PM   #79
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Kind of a silly question, I daresay
Still, I would like Trapped to tell me what it is that Trapped was crying out to God for?
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Old 07-13-2019, 11:12 PM   #80
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Still, I would like Trapped to tell me what it is that Trapped was crying out to God for?
His will in a specific situation, mostly. With the additional plea for release in the midst of it.

I'm just in a painful situation that has dragged on for years and it is too much for me. The type of things I've prayed are:

1. Lord, You've clearly either orchestrated this or a least allowed this for some reason. What is that reason? What do you want me to learn? What do you want from me in all this?
2. I'm at my wits end. Tell me what you want me to do.
3. I'm hurt and need healing. Please heal me.
4. I'm tormented and need peace/release.
5. No one seems to be able to help or care.....please comfort me.
6. If you don't want this situation to resolve, please just lead me out of here.

Things like that. But it's been a few years and He hasn't seemed to care enough to clue me in on any reason or what I should be learning or what the Lord's will is. I'm still hurting as much as I was a few years ago. There is no release of the torment. Still no one can help. There has been no comfort from the Lord. The situation isn't resolving and I have no clarity on whether I am to leave it behind.

The same response I would get as if God doesn't care, essentially.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:33 AM   #81
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His will in a specific situation, mostly. With the additional plea for release in the midst of it.

I'm just in a painful situation that has dragged on for years and it is too much for me. The type of things I've prayed are:

1. Lord, You've clearly either orchestrated this or a least allowed this for some reason. What is that reason? What do you want me to learn? What do you want from me in all this?
2. I'm at my wits end. Tell me what you want me to do.
3. I'm hurt and need healing. Please heal me.
4. I'm tormented and need peace/release.
5. No one seems to be able to help or care.....please comfort me.
6. If you don't want this situation to resolve, please just lead me out of here.

Things like that. But it's been a few years and He hasn't seemed to care enough to clue me in on any reason or what I should be learning or what the Lord's will is. I'm still hurting as much as I was a few years ago. There is no release of the torment. Still no one can help. There has been no comfort from the Lord. The situation isn't resolving and I have no clarity on whether I am to leave it behind.

The same response I would get as if God doesn't care, essentially.
I once had an experience similar to this. I was new in the church, they chose about 10 college kids to share the message the following week and I was given a portion to share. So I went home and prayed -- Lord this is not my choice, it is yours, so I asked that He would give me an experience of Him that would illustrate the portion I was sharing. It was His choice that I share this portion, so give me an experience that will be instructive and even help the saints have a revelation of these verses. I was specific, I let Him know there was a deadline, I needed this before Saturday night. Once I felt I had thoroughly prayed over this according to the word of God I was at peace and didn't think about it again. Then the following Saturday came and I was preparing what I would share and felt "hey, Lord, how come you didn't answer my prayer?" The Lord said "I did". I was like "what? When?" So as I thought about the week one particular experience stood out, I knew it was of the Lord, but I didn't see the connection with what I was sharing. So I thought about it, I prayed and as I considered I realized they were connected but in a way I had never even thought about.
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