When is credit due to God?

Jenny - posted on 09/14/2011 ( 48 moms have responded )

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So, I have some friends that think God has a hand in absolutely everything they do. Heck I have a husband who is convinced that God provided him a play station when he prayed for one back when he was 8.



Last week one of my friends went on about how God gave her a dress to wear to an engagement party. You see it was on Ebay with an RRP of $300 dollars plus and she said "God I cannot pay that much, but really need a dress, please make this seller accept my bid of only $120." Sure enough the next day she won the auction, all thanks to God :)



Does God really intervene in these sort of situations? My friend is convinced that God provides her with anything she asks for, no matter how little.



I heard someone else reason that it's only God's hand if the situation cannot be explained away by human possibilities.



What's your take on when God has a hand in things? When do coincidences become more than just coincidences? Where is the line?



**Post updated**

Just felt it necessary to defend my friend a little, she's no where near as materialistic as I have made her sound here. But she believes that if you give to God to help others he will bless you with abundance in everything. She's strong about giving, and in return feels like she receives more than she gave.

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[deleted account]

I don't understand how that can make any sense. If god is supposed to be loving and caring, why would it be his plan to make someone suffer? Here, I'll smack you down so that I can pick you back up and give you a hug? My 4 yo does that with his little brother, which makes sense given his mental capabilities, but someone who's supposed to be omniscient and loving?



What about the girl I know who was baptised into a church with her parents and they went to church like 4 times a week, very active in it all. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer and given 6 weeks to live when she was 12. They had dozens of people praying with them to have her healed. She went through treatments and was in remission by her daughter's 13th birthday. For a week. The poor girl had to watch for 18 months as her mother was slowly eaten alive by the cancer and the chemo before she died, not long after her daughter's 14th birthday. She lost both her parents that day, because her father was so consumed by grief that he drowned his sorrow in alcohol from that day on. The only comfort extended to her by members of her congregation were "at least she's with god now" and "it was god's will and he has a plan for you". About 8 months after her mother's memorial service, she had a really bad accident and was incapacitated for 3 months.



What kind of effed up plan is that?! What I reckon is that there is no plan or grand scheme, life is just life. A series of events that are dictated by cause and effect for the most part. You can make it whatever you want and sometimes it just sucks for a while because shit happens. The key is to keep looking toward the future and be hopeful.



edit to add: As for the dress, right place, right time. Luck does come about every once in a while.

Jenny - posted on 09/14/2011

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Teresa, it sounds like you are trying to say that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we can see the reason, other times it takes us a while to understand why (usually because of too much hurt), and yet other times we never understand. But that it's okay because even if we don't know why we can take comfort in knowing that God has a plan and everything goes according to it.

Johnny - posted on 09/14/2011

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I am an agnostic, so I do not claim to know whether or not god exists. But if there is a deity or deities, I do not believe that it/they are at all actively involved in our daily activities or personal experiences at all. There are usually reasons why things happen that are possible to know. Your friend probably got the dress for $120 because no one else bid more. I suppose you could decide that god arranged that, if you so desire, but it seems more likely that either no one else liked it (maybe she has bad taste), that no one else who liked it and needed it wore that size, or that no one else happened to have any more money than she did to pay for it. Crediting god for the whole thing seems rather like ignoring the obvious.

Jane - posted on 09/18/2011

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I believe the good and bad things that happen are life and nothing more. I do not believe that God provides you with "things".

Tara - posted on 09/18/2011

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Never.

I do not believe in God.

If something is beyond what we would call a coincidence, I believe in what is called "synchronicity" which means "meaningful coincidence". It is an accausal principal in that in relies on the mathematics of chance.

I believe that all things that occur in our lives are a result of choices we make each and every minute that we think and act.

I believe you reap the rewards of your own path.

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[deleted account]

I tend to think it all depends on one's faith. Those who have lived amongst people in the direst poverty and torture have noted the depth of faith and acceptance. I haven't lived in these areas, but I know people who have been helped through tragedy by their faith. My aunt, for example, when her 2-year-old son was found drowned in a sheep-dip, said, "God must have a reason." I clearly remember hearing her saying that. Whether or not she was really convinced that God had a reason for the little boy dying in such an horrendous way, I don't know, and I obviously can't say, but her belief certainly helped her cope with the grief.

I respect that kind of belief. I can't accept it, but I respect it.

What I can't respect are statements about God providing us with "things" like a new dress, or trivial wishes being granted. I see these in the same light as those horrible emails that tell you to send it on to X number of people and your wish will be granted!

And I've often wondered - if both sides in a war claim to have God on their side, how does the poor chap/girl know who to favour?

[deleted account]

I don't believe God has a hand in anything that happens in our lives because I don't believe there IS a god. And if there is, and he helped someone get a playstation or a killer deal on a dress then he, in his divine wisdom, needs to feed the world, cure AIDS and Cancer and give me the winning lotto numbers :P

Brittany - posted on 09/18/2011

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I believe it depends on your choice of religion or lack of. Seeing as how God created everything then he should be credited for everything.

Then there is the opinion that we are given choices in life, presented by God and we make those choices. Like your friend, for example, needed a new dress for a party. She took a chance on it. The person who sold it to her was presented with two options 1. sell it to your friend or 2. tell her No and wait. Obviously the right thing to do is to accept the bid. The seller could have choose not to. God presented the seller with two options in hopes they would choose the correct one. This can be applies to anything.

Whenever I have to make a decision I stop and think about what two roads God is presenting to me. I then decided which one I think is the right one and must accept any consequence if I choose the wrong one.

Cara - posted on 09/18/2011

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I believe God gets the credit for many things, as He should. I believe I have what I have in my life because of what I have accomplished. Now God may have given me the ability to accomplish these things but I also played a role. I do give God the credit for my FiL getting past cancer, for my friends baby born at 26 weeks surviving and being perfectly healthy, for giving birth to 2 wonderful healthy children, my husband recieving a job transfer so we could move where we wanted to be(his company RARELY does them.). There are many things I thank God for and feel that he played a role in the happening of some things. But I also believe that some things do just happen. I still find it funny that people thank God and all when things go right or they get something they want but the second something goes wrong or they don't get what they wanted they curse God.

Leigha - posted on 09/17/2011

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If god can help someone get a great deal on a dress, is that the same god that can strike the innocent child of a "good christian" with cancer? That makes absolutely no sense to me. Everything that happens IS possible, simply because it DID happen. Good things happen to bad people all the time, and vice-versa.

Tyrae - posted on 09/16/2011

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I don't go to church and I hardly know anything about God, but I do believe that there was some higher power that allowed me to have my daughter. I had multiple miscarriages before my daughter, it was to the point that I thought I was never going to be able to carry a baby to full term. I prayed and prayed that I would be able to have a baby, that I could give the baby the best life I could, and the next time I got pregnant I ended up carrying her to term. We have had some scares with her. At the 20 week u/s we found out she had cysts in both her kidneys, and we ended up going to 3 more u/s after that to see how they were going to fare. If neither of them healed up she wasn't going to live past birth. Her right kidney failed, and is no longer present because it has shrunk, but her left kidney healed up. During birth she ended up in a breech presentation, and passed meconium right before my water broke. Thankfully she had none in her lungs when she was born during a c-section. She's a healthy happy 10 month old now and I wouldn't change anything. But, again I have had 2 more miscarriages since I have had her. So I'm again wondering if I will be able to have anymore children. At this moment, Brooke is my miracle baby, and I believe that someone or something higher then us has let us have her.

I do not believe that God will grant every small prayer that you send his way. And sometimes if it is for the better he won't grant a big one either. I believe he chooses those major things in our lives that we ask for.

[deleted account]

I think if you have nothing its easier to believe in God because you can always have hope even when you are starving or dying. When you are desperate and there are no other ways of things getting better you have to believe in something I suppose.

ME - posted on 09/15/2011

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"I really don't know how anyone could handle death if they really thought it was the end of their existence."

Millions of people around the world believe this and live very meaningful fulfilling lives...

Merry - posted on 09/15/2011

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So a young girl is supposed to take heart and be happy in the fact that after she lives her entire life without any maternal support or guidance, she'll get to see her mother again in heaven?

Yes, yes I do take heart and yes I am happy. Most of the time. Sure it sucks. It sucks big time but i do believe I'll see her again and her death doesn't make me loose faith in God.

[deleted account]

So a young girl is supposed to take heart and be happy in the fact that after she lives her entire life without any maternal support or guidance, she'll get to see her mother again in heaven? Seriously?

Wow, that's just.......... wow.

But that's true! Nothing lasts forever. Nothing. Bad times become good times and good times become bad times. It's just life. Not god. However, I do also understand that some people need to find reason in things, apart from "shit happens", and "god's plan" would help give back some semblance of control to the individual. Personally, I'd question any great plan that includes a smackdown of children, who are supposed to be considered innocents, and heartfelt prayers that go unanswered, despite the bible saying that honest prayers will be answered.

Jenny - posted on 09/15/2011

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I'm halfway to believing that this all ends with death. The way I see it is that Christianity focuses on Eternity, which is after death. So if I turn my life around by dropping christianity I feel like it will be the other way around, suddenly I will be much more interested in Life, and not care about Eternity. I will try even harder to fight for my life because after it there is nothing. It effects everything I do in way's I didn't think possible. I even drive much safer because if I slip up and die that's the end for me.

Jesus teaches us to not be afraid of death, even saying something like "let the dead bury the dead". That's one difference between Christians and non, they have nothing to fear about death because it is not the end.
So naturally it will be much harder to handle death if it really is the end of our existence. But that's okay because until then there is Life :)

Merry - posted on 09/15/2011

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Yup and all the people we 'loose' to cancer or other tragedies aren't really 'lost' we will see them again in perfection. I really don't know how anyone could handle death if they really thought it was the end of their existence.

[deleted account]

Just another point now that I've read some more on page 2.... If you believe in God, life on this planet isn't all there is, so while things may royally suck here sometimes.... It won't last forever and we're destined for something MUCH better.

Now maybe Jenny can word that one for me too. lol

[deleted account]

Thanks Jenny. Yep, that was what I was trying to say.

Another example.... My world was devastated when my ex left me. My life is definitely harder now, but I am SO much better off emotionally than I ever would've been w/ him still around. He 'thought' God wanted him to leave me so that he could be happy, but I think that just maybe.... God 'sent' him away so that I could be happy. ;) lol

Merry - posted on 09/15/2011

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I don't know if I believe this is true but many Christians I know of believe in 'generational curses' like descendants of evil people will be 'cursed' for the sins of their anscestors. And that they still can become believers but their 'curse' is a hard life, ones with famine and drought and war and disease etc. Idk, seems very very cruel to me to punish children for the sins of their ancestors but it does make some sort of sense i guess.
They think that genetic diseases are also passed down from some sort of massively sinful ancestor.
I'll say it again, idk if I believe this, it seems too cold and harsh, but many I know DO believe this.

Jenny - posted on 09/14/2011

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Same experience with my sister who is a missionary for the Philippines. They have a much easier time believing in a God, and it does help them to have faith and hope even in unbelievable circumstances where yes they have seen their family been murdered before their own eyes. And they find comfort in the fact that they will see their loved ones again in the afterlife and that they are in a better place. Their life is horrible, so looking forward to heaven gives them something to hope for.

It's us in the western modern society that have trouble believing in God, not them who are actually going through this suffering we are speaking of.
So therefore I think that "everything happens for a reason and is part of God's plan" is a good theory.

Becky - posted on 09/14/2011

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I think that maybe they need that to make sense of their circumstances. In this day, even the poorest countries and people have access to enough information that they know that the rest of the world does not live the way they do. It must seem, and really is, incredibly, horribly unfair that I have immediate access to medical care if my child is sick. I have just about any medication or treatment out there at my fingertips, and, living in Canada, it's free. While they, as you said, have to walk, or, if they're lucky, ride in a very slow, rickety cart pulled by a donkey to a clinic with only the most basic of resources, and there is a better than 50% chance that their child will be dead by the time they get there, of a disease like diarreah or malaria that our children in the developed world have a very, very slim chance of dying of. I think maybe the only way they can keep going in those circumstances is to hang on to the belief that someone is in control of their world that seems so out of control. That somehow, even though it makes no sense whatsoever, someone has a plan. And that someday, even if it is not until after they leave this earth, things will get better and all their suffering in this life will be rewarded.

Becky - posted on 09/14/2011

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That's where I lived though, Kathy. In the country rated as the number 1 worst place in the world to live by the UN. And the majority of people there have a very strong belief in God. Well, Allah, actually. It's over 90% Muslim. Islam is a very fatalist religion. Everything is preceeded by "Insha' Allah" - If God wills it. So they definitely believe strongly that God has a plan and that their circumstances are a part of that plan. When they lose their child in childbirth, or to malaria or dysentery, it was Allah's will. When there is famine and drought (almost yearly!), it is Allah's will. When their tiny straw houses and all their possessions are destroyed in a torrential downpour, it is Allah's will.

I have to say, as much as I do believe in God and in his plan being perfect, I think I would have a very difficult time accepting personal tragedy as his will and part of a perfect plan the way they do. I would be angry as hell! (no pun intended!)

[deleted account]

Yeah, I know people who, when times are tough, feel closer to God, whoever they see their God as. But I'm talking more than tough times here. i'm thinking about famine - no water, no food, no prospects of food or water. Or places where a woman has to trudge days to get to a clinic, where she'll probably deliver a dead child. There are place you can be tortured or killed if you say the wrong thing! There is evil in our world - how does God (of whatever religion) fit in to this? I can't even come up with any theories. If my family was murdered before my eyes i sure as hell wouldn't be thinking it was part of God's plan!

Becky - posted on 09/14/2011

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I don't know, Kathy. It seems that living in extreme hardship actually draws people towards god, rather than pushing them away. I have never done any study on it, but just based on what I have seen, I would be willing to bet that you would actually find more people who sincerely and stubbornly believe in god among those living in poverty and extreme circumstances than among those who are the most fortunate. I think probably because they need something to cling to, something to give them hope. I grew up in some of the poorest countries in the world. Those countries where people live on less than 2 dollars a day. Where they are lucky to have one meal a day. You would think the atmosphere would be one of despair, but it's not. Those people are happy, generous, loving, and hopeful. And you'd be hard pressed to find an atheist among them. Almost all of them have some belief in a diety or spiritual realm.

Jenny - posted on 09/14/2011

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If they believe in God, then I do think that they comfort themselves with that thought. Some people believe that their death will have an impact to someone else and they will never be around to know for sure, but take comfort in believing that way.

I don't have the answer, I only have theories. I don't know how this would work for those millions dying of starvation, but maybe they die with hope, as in, yes I am starving and I'm dying, but I hope the next generation don't have to go through this, I hope that these millions of deaths speak volums to people who can help and hopefully through the death of millions, the next millions will be spared.

I dunno, I have no idea how it all works, but I do think that "there is a greater plan, everything happens for a reason" is as much a viable theory as any other.

Just curious, if you don't believe that way, what do you believe?
(Hope that didn't come across as rhetorical, because it wasn't meant to be.)

[deleted account]

I've heard lots of stories about how God saved someone from dying in an accident, getting out of a burning building etc etc - individual things. But what about people in poverty? What about people starving? What about people being tortured? What about prisoners of conscience? The list is endless! I'll bet those people don't comfort themselves with the thought that God has a plan!

[deleted account]

Pain causes growth. Very simple 'answer' to why crap sometimes happens. We can't see the 'big picture' cuz if we COULD... then we would be God and I sure as heck don't want that job. ;)

My tire blowing sucked (that sounds funny), but I could 'see' God's hand in the surrounding circumstances. My 2 miscarriages sucked, but now I can see how there 'might' have been a reason for them. And no, I'm not saying God killed my babies. I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say now. I should probably just shut up. lol

Merry - posted on 09/14/2011

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I think babies get a ton more peace from God! Can you believe how much babies can survive?. They are so resilient, their tiny bodies just working at full capacity to heal or grow and they have (in my mind) a beautiful connection to God because at their age of innocence they can know agod in ways we can't because of our higher cognitive reasoning. I think babies do receive the highest amount of peace of mind though their lack of doubt.

It ok you don't 'get' what I'm trying to say. I might be wording it badly or whatever. :)

[deleted account]

Yeah, Laura - that makes absolulely no sense to me. If bad things were still happening because the world still has sin, wouldn't you think those bad things would happen to the sinners? Not a three week old baby? And what peace of mind or free spirit could he rest upon an infant that, at such an early stage, lacks any real cognitive reasoning? I certainly think religion can help his parents feel better about the situation by helping them rationalize the unthinkable (that their son may die), but that's about it.

Merry - posted on 09/14/2011

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Why do bad things happen in the mind of a christian?
Because God intended for us to be perfect and sinless but he didn't want us to be without free will so he gave us a choice to disobey. We disobeyed and so we became sinful. Our connection to God was broken andge couldn't be there for our every need because he can not be with the sin, he is perfect. So bad things happen because we chose to test God and now we brought sin into the world. God wanted to make a way for us to be close to him again so he made sacrifices so that through the blood of the sacrifice it could temporarily remove the sin separation from us. And finally he sent his son to die and take on all ouur sins and in his death pay the price for all our sins. Now we can once again have a relationship with God through Jesus sacrifice. Bad things still happen because the world isn't rid of sin. But when possible, God will help us any way he can, and if it isn't in a miraculous way it could just be with peace of mind or a free spirit.

Idk, I'm sure that makes no sense to most of you but to me it's logical. I should probably learn from Teresa and stay out of religion debates.

[deleted account]

I notice people only attribute God's hands to the good things. For example, my friend's three week old son is in the hospital right now struggling to recover from a very complicated heart surgery. All day long I hear about how God guided the hands of his surgeons, how God is helping him get off the ventilator, etc. If there was a God, wouldn't he have prevented the baby from having the heart defect in the first place? If not, then he's either malevolent, indifferent or impotent. None of those are good options.

Merry - posted on 09/14/2011

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My friends aunt had terminal brain cancer, they gave her 6 months tops to live. She lived ten years after that!
My mom had peritoneal cancer which can often go into remission and people can live 20+ years. She died in 2.5 years from diagnosis.
What do I credit to God?
I don't know. I really don't.
Life doesn't really make sense sometimes.
I can feel that God is there. I know he loves me.
But why things happen I have no idea. Maybe one day I'll understand why because I'm not going to accept -just cuz.

[deleted account]

I believe that God has a hand in everything, but how that looks/works... I couldn't tell you. Now, do I think that God made that seller accept the lower bid... no. He COULD have, but more than likely it was just a coincidence.

I actually don't think there is anything to small/trivial to ask God for if it is important to you because He CARES about us. Even if it's for something 'stupid'... He likes to hear from you. ;) That doesn't mean you will get everything you ask for... not even close, but God DOES hear and care about everything/anything that is important to us. The answer just might be no though.

Not sure if any of that made any sense. My brain is a jumble and I already told myself to stay away from the God debates.....

Sal - posted on 09/14/2011

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someone survies a terminal cancer, walks away from a horror smash ....i'll give god a nod, a dress on ebay..no, the seller was probally sitting the other end preying that some smuck will pay 100 for the dress and paised the lord they got more....really if thats all your friend is preying for she is one lucky woman and should stop wasting gods time on trivial shit!!!!

Becky - posted on 09/14/2011

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I agree with Julianne - well, to an extent, other than that I do believe in God. I believe God provides for our necessities - food, shelter, health, etc. I do not give credit to God when I get an awesome deal on diapers or find something I've really been wanting but couldn't justify spending full price on for a great deal on Kijiji. I give myself the credit for finding it! :)



There was a time when I was in university that I was really struggling financially and did not know how I was going to pay my room and board that month. I hadn't told anyone that I was that desperate. A friend of mine who was in my Bible study group came up to me one day and told me that she had some extra money that month and felt God leading her to pay my rent for the month. Now obviously, I was extremely grateful to my friend, but, particularly since she said she felt God leading her, I also gave God the credit for providing for me that month. There were actually a few times those first couple years when I had no idea how I was going to afford to live and money came in at just the right time from unexpected places. Now, if that was God`s doing, I have no idea why he chose to provide for me and not for others who were in just as much or more need than I am. Well, I have a theory, but I have a feeling a lot of people won`t like it... Oh, what the heck. My parents are missionaries. While I was in university in Canada, my parents were overseas. My belief is that because they were serving him, God rewarded them by taking care of the children they had had to leave behind.



As for all the starving people in this world and all those in need, I don`t really see that as a failing on God`s part so much as a failing on the part of those of us who claim to follow him. I do believe God could miraculously provide for the needs of everyone in the world, but I think that he chooses to provide for the needs of others through the generosity and service of those who follow him. I think that meeting the needs of those who are starving and homeless and living in extreme poverty is the responsibility of, well, everyone who is financially able, but particularly those who claim to follow God. (I hope that`s not offensive, I`m not trying to say I don`t believe that people who don`t believe in God can be generous and altruistic.) Now, why he doesn`t pick up the slack when he sees how badly we`re dropping the ball, that I do not know!

[deleted account]

If god can help someone get a dress...why doesn't he help the starving children in the world? Isn't that more worth his magic.

Jenny - posted on 09/14/2011

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And I'm hoping that someone else who believes in God has a better explanation for this. Anyone?

Jenny - posted on 09/14/2011

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I'm with you Johnny. I've had some pretty darn good coincidences in my life, leading me to where we are now, which is in a pretty good place. Sure, I have prayed about these things, but very minimally. I.e "if there is a God, I hope you can see our hearts in this and help us out, Amen." Its basically covering my basis, I dont actually think he listens to my preyers, but I do wonder, and get told, that God is being very good to me so that I can see his goodness. He has a reason for being so good to me. I guess that can go for you too, even though you don't believe, maybe God is being good to you in the hopes that one day you will turn around and thank him for what he has done for you.

As for all the millions of people that don't have this good luck and pray their hearts out, maybe God has a special plan for people like me and you and my friend and hence his is blessing us? That's the only theory I can come up with which will still allow me to believe there is a God. Sure its not a great theory, but its all I've got.

Johnny - posted on 09/14/2011

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So then what of the people that believe and do not receive a bounty? Did they just not trust enought? Not pray hard enough? How is it that they were not chosen for such fortune?

I have been quite lucky in my life, in my opinion. We live comfortably, are happily married, I was raised in a fairly happy home, have a good child and a fairly good job. Life isn't perfect, but it's pretty good. People are usually kind to me, I win a lot of contests, and I too have gotten some great deals while shopping. Yet I do not share her faith at all. I never pray to god nor thank god sincerely for anything. I have no faith and no trust in god. So how could my good fortune be explained by her reasoning? Or am I just in line for vengeance one day?

Jenny - posted on 09/14/2011

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She could have believed in the magic 8 ball, Father Christmas or Karishna and it could have still happened.

I guess from her perspective, it more that this is not a once of experience with this providence. She has this happen all the time, sometimes people have dropped off groceries on her front door step anonymously. She has gotten a good job as a teacher at a prestigious private school through this sort of trust in God and praying.

She does not have a love for money, but believes that God will provide BOUNTIFULLY for his children if they believe in him. And she has been experiencing a bountiful life in her words.
Maybe her luck will run out soon? lol. But then I'm sure she'll say its just a test from God or that she has stopped believing as strongly.

JuLeah - posted on 09/14/2011

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Would the seller have taken $120 if she had asked in the same way, but not first asked God?

Where does 'free will' come in to this, if we can't even sell a dress for the price we want?

What if your friend believed instead in her magic 8 ball and had asked that for the dress? Would she now be giving full credit to the toy?

I think people believe what they want to believe and for them it is true. It does not have to be true for anyone else for it to be true for them.

If you want an explaination for something, you will find it - if you want that answer to be God, you will find proof that God played a role. If you want the explaination to be something else, you will find proof that ... I don't know, the alignment of the stars was the cuase

Maybe the seller bought the dress for $50 and felt selling it for $120 was simply a good deal?

[deleted account]

If there was a god, he would not waste his time on frivolous things such as a play station or a dress. People don't need fancy dresses or houses, if god provides anything its the basic necessities. Its even said in the bible, only take what you need and don't live beyond you means. Wanting anything more is greed. Is greed not a sin?

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5

Michele - posted on 09/14/2011

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Hmm... on the fence with this one. I think God decides when and how to act. Sometimes the answer to a prayer is no.

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