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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If God took a day off, would we notice?

So what I guess this comes down to is how involved is God in our lives. It seems like one Sunday I'll go to church and the speaker in sacrament meeting will stand up, read Alma 34:17-27, and tell me about how I need to pray to God about everything. God cares about everything I'm doing and nothing is too trivial. Another Sunday I'll go to church and the speaker in sacrament meeting will tell me about how they were trying to decide which of two jobs to take and that they just couldn't get an answer. Finally they "got an answer" and the answer was, it doesn't matter. Both jobs are just fine, you decide. Then the speaker goes on to talk about how there are somethings that just don't matter to God and then comes the inevitable example, "like what you're going to have for breakfast. God doesn't care. You just have to make that decision on your own."
Am I going to the same church here or what? Pray to God about everything. No, Don't pray to God about "stupid" things. What are "stupid" things? I know these are kind of two extremes but hopefully they illustrate my point. How involved is God?
Myself I tend to lean toward the second example. I think God definitely gets involved when he needs too. But aren't we here to progress. How can I do that if he is always involved. Don't I need to learn to do things on my own. I guess I take the weight lifter/spotter approach. If the spotter is the one lifting all the weight, the spotter is the one getting stronger. But if the spotter is there just to put a finger on the bar now and then when the weight lifter needs a bit of help, then it is the weight lifter that is getting stronger. I look at us as the weight lifters and God as the Spotter. If we are ever going to get stronger, we need to be lifting the weight most of the time.
So what do you think? How involved is God in this world. If God took a day off, would we notice? Would we notice on a personal level? How about the world? Would everything just quit functioning?


Amy said...

The first thing that came to mind as I read your blog was a thought shared by President Monson during the recent Relief Society broadcast. He said, "Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle."
Earlier in his talk he stated, "It is through earnest and heartfelt prayer that we can receive the needed blessings and the support required to make our way in this sometimes difficult and challenging journey we call mortality."
I think both of these statements support your analogy of the spotter and weight lifter. God will gladly be our spotter, our support, as we push ourselves and press the weight of life. Unless we increase the weight or number of repetitions, we will never experience growth. We should, as President Monson suggests, pray for abilities, or strength, to meet our tasks.
To answer your question about what to pray for, I will refer to the Bible Dictionary. "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7-11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship."
Consider your relationship with your earthly father. What would you share with him? What assistance would you ask of him? You wouldn't ask your father to do everything for you, but you may seek him out for advice in a difficult situation or even a simple situation that you just have never faced before. You may share with him your successes, your joys, your failures, your frustrations, etc. These are the things you might approach your Heavenly Father with during prayer.
The Bible Dictionary passage continues, "Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them."
I don't even want to know what it would be like if God took the day off. I need His support and His blessings everyday if I am going to become stronger and progress. I need his spot to remind me that I can do it and that I have the strength.
I want to be the miracle.

Robby C said...

Thanks for your comment Katie. I love the analogy of our earthly father. If there is anybody who appreciates the love, support, and help of their earthly parents its me. I just spent thousands of dollars so I could live right next door to them. In keeping with the analogy, I don't go next door all the time and ask what I should have for breakfast or which shirt they think would help me have the most successful day. But I do pop in to ask for help on some things. By the same token though, they are not always over to my house "getting involved" with everything I do. If they see a need, want to invite me to do something, or need my help, then they will "be involved". Perhaps at this point I should define what I mean by involved. I'll stick with the parent analogy to illustrate. Many times I'll go over to my parents house just to be there. It's a relationship thing, and I just like to be around them. Sometimes they come over to my house for the same reason. But our being there doesn't help accomplish anything. That's what I mean by being involved. I think lots of times we want to spend time with God, and our relationship with him definately benifits when we do this, just like mine does with my parents. But it still doesn't answer my question about how involved is he. Sometimes I do go a whole day, or two, without seeing my parents. Yes, I miss the relationship, but I got just as much accomplished as I would have if I had seen them. Does it mean I love them less because I didn't check in with them that day? Because I didn't ask them to help me with anything that day do I not appreciate them? I don't think so. I went a whole day without my parents being involved and I don't seem to be worse off for it. If we went a whole day without God being involved would we be worse off for it?

The last part of the Bible Dictionary quote
"The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them."
also raises some questions for me for me, but I will address that another time.

Dallas said...

While posting in another thread, I thought of a comment for this one also. When Christ was in Gethsemane there was a time where the father and the angels had to leave him so he could atone for our sins and feel the pain and suffering alone. When it comes time for us to suffer own own Gethsemane's in this life, or round, if we can't even make small choices like what cereal to eat, how are we supposed to be able to stand this portion of our Gethsemane's on our own.

Do not get me wrong. I strongly believe in daily prayer, just not for all the little things because I don't think it matters in the long run.

Amy said...

I do love analogies. As a continuation, you stated that you spent thousands of dollars to live right next door to your parents. By this action, you have proved that you value the relationship with them. I'm sure this was no easy task. You put forth much effort to make this a reality. Now, you have the blessing and benefit of such an accessible relationship.
A similar effort should take place as we draw closer to God. We should spend thousands of dollars, figuratively of course, to be close to Him. It will require work, sacrifice, and prioritizing to obtain and maintain a close relationship with the Father. The accessibility of this relationship will provide for the most growth and happiness in our lives.
You said that your parents will come over when they see a need, want to invite you to do something, or need your help. When the relationship is accessible, our Heavenly Father will do the same thing. He will inspire and answer prayers to help you in addressing a need. He'll prompt you to join with His children. He'll also call upon you when He needs you. President Spencer W. Kimball said, "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom." When we serve, especially when prompted to do so, we may be answering the prayer of our brother or sister.
This still doesn't answer your question about how involved God is. I don't think it matters. What matters is that we develop our relationship with our Heavenly Father and make it accessible, then we will be blessed beyond measure. We will know what things we need to do, through inspiration or clarity of mind, to become like Jesus.

Robby C said...

Here are some more thought related to our parent/child analogy. In our parent/child analogy, this seems to be the way it works. In our early years we are very dependant on our parents and they are intimately involved in our lives. As we continue to mature, we rely less and less on our parents. Not because we love them less, but just because we are able to accomplish more on our own. We continue to ask them for help when needed and they will begin to ask for more help from us now that we are better able to provide it to them. Our relationship seems to grow and develop to a greater extent, but our involvement in each others lives seems to decrease. Is this how it works with us and God with regards to our maturing spiritually? At first we need a lot of involvement from God, but as we continue to mature, we are more able to do for ourselves and he needs to be less involved. In fact, he wants us to be able to do for ourselves. I'm reminded of a quote credited to Joseph Smith, "teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves". I think God wants us to become more self-reliant. This is a concept that we teach in the church all the time with applications to temporal things. I think that it has an even greater importance with relation to spiritual things. I would say that God is the ultimate example of one who is self-reliant. If we are to become Gods ourselves someday, wouldn't we also need to reach that level of self-reliance?

Amy said...

Self-reliance is where we're headed. President Marion G. Romney said in a First Presidency Message in April, 1981 that to work out our temporal salvation we must develop self reliance and family reliance (providing for ourselves and for our families). He reminds us that we are to act for ourselves. President Romney says that if we so choose, we can work out our own salvation--both temporally and spiritually. He says, "Self-reliance implies the individual development of skills and abilities and then their application to provide for one’s own needs and wants. It further implies that one will achieve those skills through self-discipline and then, through self-restraint and charity, use those skills to bless himself and others." Self reliance is a fundamental principle of the gospel.
We readily apply self reliance to our temporal salvation, but I agree with you, Robby, that it can also be applied to our spiritual salvation. We do have the potential to become Gods and Goddesses someday being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. (This is sometimes hard to fathom.) We are working toward this, hopefully daily. Our mortal life is a preparation for exaltation.
However, I am going to return to the original analogy of the weight lifter/spotter. If we push ourselves, we can become stronger and stronger everyday. The dumbbells that were difficult to lift on the first day at the gym are easily pressed after a few weeks. Yet, no matter how strong we become, we would never attempt our max without our spotter.
Such it is in life. Keeping the commandments and facing certain trials seems difficult at first, but after weeks of pushing through them, we are strong enough to work through them with ease. We may not even notice the weight we are asked to carry.
Yet, if we are actively seeking our potential and striving for self reliance, we are going to be required to attempt our max often--sometimes daily. We can't do that without our spotter, God.
At the gym, those that wander aimlessly from machine to machine with little thought of what they want to accomplish will see little progress. However, those that have sought the advice of a trainer and come prepared every day working through their training plan, will have measurable results.
If we approach life seeking measurable results and wanting to maximize our progress, we will seek the advice of our trainer, God. We will start every day with a plan--which comes after prayer and pondering--and with our ultimate goal in mind. We will seek opportunities to max out as often as possible. Yet, we would never attempt that max without our spotter.
I can finally and confidently answer the original question. If God took the day off, would we notice? If we are actively seeking our potential, then the answer is undoubtedly YES! We would need Him, our spotter, to work through our personal training plan and to meet the challenges of that day so that we can obtain measurable results.

Anonymous said...

If we are to become self-reliant and considering the concept of "teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves" does that mean that possibly God does not always give us answers to specific choices that are brought before us but instead he give us the consequences of those choices?

God will not always give us specific answers to our questions but let us make the choices on our own and then we deal with the consequences of our actions good or bad?

Does that make any sense?