“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:
Should 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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