Car Keys, Food, Dogs, and Other Things that God Doesn’t Need

“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.” – Paul speaking to the Athenians as recorded in Acts 17:24-25

About two weeks ago, I lost my wallet.  Last night, I resolved that I would either find my lost wallet this morning or start down the long road of replacing its contents. After I put my children down for their 10 AM nap, I started the search for my wallet in the car. As I did so, I paused to pray two things: (1) “Lord, help me find my wallet” and (2) “Lord, forgive me for not searching harder for it sooner.” Shortly thereafter, I found my wallet in the pocket of the slacks I had been wearing on the day I lost it.  I had already looked there but apparently not well enough. You can imagine the grievous inconveniences I would have had to endure had I not managed to find my wallet.  The events of the morning brought to my mind a meme an atheist friend recently posted to her Facebook feed.  It was very similar to this one:

ImageShould I not have prayed to find my wallet in deference to larger problems in the world?  Did God really answer my prayer to find my wallet while He let some starving African child die of deprivation?  Maybe He did, but so what?  It seems that the atheist who created this meme clearly misunderstands the character and nature of the God in whom he claims not to believe.  The events portrayed in this meme should not be considered from man’s perspective, but from God’s.  Let’s take a look:

  1. The African child may need food more immediately then I need my wallet, but God doesn’t need either of these things.  Wallets (and their contents) are of no more value to God than food.  God doesn’t need anything, including me or the African child.
  2. It takes no more of God’s power to cause someone to find his lost keys that it does for Him to part the Red Sea or make bread rain from the sky. From God’s perspective, one miracle is not greater than the next in scope.
  3. My car and my wallet are tools to help me obtain the very thing, food, which the starving African goes without.  We live in a fallen world; this is the very reason people starve.  There would be no death at all if it were not for the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.  People would eat but they would not toil, to any degree, to obtain food.  No one would need a car to drive to the grocery store to buy food or to drive to work to earn money to pay for food.  If there were any need at all for cars in an edenic world, there would be no need for car keys or wallets because there would be no theft or money.
  4. I likely wouldn’t die of starvation if I didn’t find my wallet.  Chances are someone in the third world did die of starvation today.  I will eventually die, however, and I will be just as dead as the starving African.  As we see from the biblical account, God holds power over death.   One day God will raise everyone who has ever died from the dead.  A death on this earth is not final for any man.

Recently, my friend, Mark, and I attended an apologetics conference in New Orleans.  It’s the kind of conference where we talk about stuff like the 4 points above.  In the middle of the week, Mark received a call from his wife and daughter in Atlanta.  His dog, Collin, was lost.  I won’t ever forget the look on his face.  Up until then, we had been having a really good time, but upon hearing the news about his dog, Mark’s countenance fell.  He was miles away from his family.  He couldn’t look for the dog and he couldn’t comfort his family in person.  I could tell it was hurting him.  What could he do?  He posted on social media to get the word out and he prayed.  So did I.  “Dear Lord, please bring back Mark’s dog” It was the first thing I did upon hearing the news.  God, who has no need of pets, heard my prayer.

I’ll continue to pray for what’s lost, not merely in the hopes of receiving material provision but out of Love for God…I love God and I need Him. That is why I pray.  I have a spiritual need.

Man’s needs are not ultimately physical in nature; they are spiritual.  We are spiritual beings.  God’s provision, therefore, is not ultimately expressed in providing physical sustenance.  That’s why the second prayer I prayed to God this morning was the more important one.  I had been a poor steward of the property which God had entrusted to me.  I had lost some very important things for two weeks and barely bothered to search for them.  That was a failure on my part. God provided me something much more important than the contents of my wallet.  He provided forgiveness.  This is a spiritual need.

God offers forgiveness eternally in the free gift of Jesus Christ.  If you do not know Christ as your savior today, you are lost in your spirit.  Because I pray for what is lost, I am praying that you fill find your rest in the promises of Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – The Lord Jesus to Nicodemus the Pharisee as recorded in John 3:16

7 thoughts on “Car Keys, Food, Dogs, and Other Things that God Doesn’t Need

  1. P. Dunn

    I prayed that it would be found. Just as our earthly parents share our concerns, Our loving Heavenly Father is interested in all aspects of our lives. Nothing is too big or too small to place in His hands or at his feet.

  2. Brandon Osborn

    If god is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, why is it that 20,000 children starve to death every day while you christians thank him for things that other people provide for you? Things like the medical care provided by the body, or by trained professionals (“Thank gob for healing that infection”) – or landing a job, or finding your keys. Praying is doing nothing but talking to yourself. Your prayers don’t help one of those 20,000 starving children, nor do they help find your dog – they just waste your time, and allow entropy to advance that much further.

  3. Jana

    When you wrote, “Did God really answer my prayer to find my wallet while He let some starving African child die of deprivation? Maybe He did, but so what?” Wow – “so what?”??????!!!!…….I think Brandon DID indeed grasp the “tenor” of this piece. The thing people have trouble with, Seth, is that there are so many innocents dying, specifically children and animals who are helpless, powerless and sometimes die in horrible ways. There is child rape/torture/murder….I don’t see how anyone can possibly believe God would help someone find their wallet or car keys, but allow a baby to be raped to death, AND, that this is a decision made by a god? I mean, REALLY? Seriously, would an omnipotent, all-knowing, all-powerful, totally just God look down on these two scenarios (child rape/murder versus someone who can’t find their wallet) and decide, “Hmmm, I think I’ll help the guy with the wallet problem today”? You also make “God” sound like an impartial, cold monster who cares nothing for an innocent, starving child (“God doesn’t need me or the African child”). Should God helping a starving child have anything to do with “need”? How about LOVE?!! I have kids. Do I “need” them? No, I WANTED them. And I’d never let them starve or be harmed in any way if I had the power to prevent such a thing. Try not eating for a couple of days…..It’s awful. Imagine not eating for another 20 and dying a slow and painful death from starvation. THEN imagine being an innocent 5 year old dying this way. I’ll never forget a famous case of a little 9 year old girl being abducted, raped and buried alive. She suffocated to death, by the way. Do you have kids Seth? Something tells me you don’t. This article reassures me that I made the right call when I stopped believing in any “god” a long time ago, because if there WERE a God, I’d think if he could part the Red Sea, he could make sure innocent kids don’t die in grotesquely horrible ways. And I’m darned sure such a God would be more concerned about those issues than your WALLET!

  4. Jeff

    “If god is not responsible for dying children, then he ain’t responsible for curing someone’s cancer or helping someone with a promotion.
    You can’t have it both ways – either he’s there or he isn’t.
    How disgusting is that? There are christians who pray ALL THE TIME for god to help poor, starving children. Why does god give a person a job promotion and then ignore the most selfless prayers? FUNNY that only seems to happen in the west, with wealthy, privileged middle-class or higher individuals, constantly seeing miracles or answered prayers.
    Christians do this ALL the time: Something good happens, it’s god. Something bad happens, it’s not. It’s the “fall” or “satan” or “sin”. This is called confirmation bias and it keeps a lot of people blind to obvious truths.
    What is most amazing is the double-speak christians do. I was knee deep in christianity for 7 full years, I know full well what is said behind closed doors to other christians. Constant congratulations and god praising for the smallest of things – miracles are everywhere, when someone is “healed” or given a promotion, or even just being happier with their life! Prayers are ANSWERED! On a DAILY BASIS!
    But when answering atheists, the reservations come out…”Oh but god is hidden and mysterious. He’s not responsible for anything. He doesn’t really dish out justice just yet, blah blah blah. Suddenly god goes from being anywhere and everywhere to a barely there, practically deist, uninterested creator who loves us but doesn’t really do jack crap.
    Finally, in response to answers to actual bible verses that demonstrate your entire original post is invalid – I’m not surprised. It’s the typical christian response to legit criticism. “You just don’t understand those verses.” Again, double-speak. Get behind closed doors and that is TOTALLY what those verses mean. God will PROVIDE BABY! Don’t worry about that sudden bill you didn’t know about – god will take care of it. Oh, you got extra money back you weren’t expecting? See! That’s an answered prayer. Your bill is now taken care of!
    Sorry. The mental gymnastics necessary to continue belief always astounds me. But I guess it’s better than allowing an existential crisis and dealing with the pain of identity loss than intellectual honesty.”

    1. sethdunn88 Post author

      “If god is not responsible for dying children, then he ain’t responsible for curing someone’s cancer or helping someone with a promotion.”

      That doesn’t follow logically but, in any case, yours is a strange response to the article. I’m not sure you grasp what the article is about.


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