I’ve met people who’ve told me that if God would do a certain thing, then they would believe. Or, if God would answer a certain prayer, then they would believe. Or if God would speak to them, or give them miracles like others have had, or somehow reveal Himself to them, then they would believe.
Barring the fact that God has revealed Himself to us through the prophets and His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2), I can understand the sentiment. Yet, while I can’t speak for these people I’ve known, I can speak for what God told me. And that is this. He will not change His character to answer us.
Some of those I’ve spoken to have, what I would call, legitimate questions and expectations. And I’ve asked the Lord why He wouldn’t or didn’t answer them. Why let them walk into disbelief? God answers prayer, right? He comforts and speaks, right? Why didn’t He speak to those who asked? Honestly? I don’t know. All I know is that He told me He doesn’t change His character to answer us.
I don’t know the hearts of others, and frankly, my heart is deceitful, so I can’t really say I fully know my own heart (Jeremiah 17:9). But I have been in that place of desperately needing an answer, desperately crying out, yet hearing nothing. I’ve been in that place of praying fervently, without ceasing, in full faith and expectation, yet not getting the answer I asked for. I’ve stumbled, I’ve doubted, I’ve nearly walked away.
But none of that has changed God’s character. None of that has convinced God to answer me the way I wanted.
I like to think — and I don’t think I’m alone in this — that if I throw down an ultimatum to God and follow through on it, that He’ll come running after me, “Alright, alright! Here I am! You can hear me now!” But it’s never happened that way. The rich young ruler can attest to that (Mark 10:17-27). Jesus let him go his way. Why does God do that? Why doesn’t He show us what we need so we’ll believe?
I guess I’ve always known the answer, but it still frustrates me sometimes. Faith. At some point, it comes down to faith. Without faith, it’s impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
Everyone puts their faith in something. Mine is in my God who doesn’t change His character to please me, but changes my character to be in unity and fellowship with Him. Do I always like it? No. But does that change God? No. And praise His name that it doesn’t!