I’m sure there’s some sort of character flaw that is active when I ask this, “How do you know that you’re listening to God?”
I ask this because, on most occasions when someone tells me he/she has been praying about something and asking God to guide him/her, it seems that God always answers, “Yes.” I find that curious. Either God is the biggest yes-man in the universe or you aren’t listening. There are other options, of course. One could be that God acquiesced because no wasn’t being taken for an answer. Another is you never really asked because you didn’t want to hear the answer. However, I’m leaning towards the “You didn’t listen” option. Which is pretty amazing if you consider that I doubt the existence of God (although I’ve been leaning more towards Deism everyday. More on that later).
You see, I have WAY too many examples of people saying things are God’s will, when really I see them as people’s desires or arrogance. I know of a woman almost died by refusing to abort a dying fetus, saying it was God’s will that she carry it regardless. This “life” was more important than hers. That’s nice; however, I can’t really fathom a omnipotent being calling for death when the woman had two children already, and that pregnancy had been difficult for her. Perhaps she was REALLY being told to STOP. I think she wasn’t listening. I honestly think that, in her mind, God was asking her to be a martyr to some cause, when really she was being told to be TOLERANT and consider the reasons for the flip side. I believe this was human arrogance not divine intention. Luckily there is modern medicine and she survived. Was that God’s will or simply quick medical attention?
Another person I know has been known to make deals and bets with God. I’ve heard things like, “I asked God if I should get a divorce. The stop light turned green so that’s how I knew that God was OK with my plan.” It makes your head spin to read such stuff. Divine providence comes down to stop lights? God’s either simple or sick. I can’t decide which. However, in truthfulness, isn’t this just a person looking for justification?
My favorite, of course, involves land — expensive land. The person’s own family had been asking to use the land to build a house which could then be sold, making a handsome profit for its owner. However, the church had also been asking about the land. After much praying and asking God, the land was given to a “needy” couple at the church, developed and sold. The couple, of course, has never been seen again ($1M will do that, I guess.). There is much bitterness in the family because of this. I guess I really question God taking sides. I think God was used in a manipulative fashion. After all, that money would have gone a long way in making sure elder care was available.
These are three isolated stories in the field we call social fabric. In each case I find it interesting that providence was determined as the impetus when we know that human arrogance called “Playing God” was really behind the actions. Little less talk and a little more listening perhaps?