Does G-d Intervene in Our Lives?

 

Recently I had a conversation with a friend about G-d’s role in our lives. Specifically, we discussed whether G-d intervenes, when, and why He does. I started thinking about the subject more deeply, and realized that I have made several assumptions about G-d’s intervention (since I believe He does), and I wondered how other people perceive his role in their lives.

For my part, I see G-d’s intervention in a number of ways. I think I receive guidance from G-d, whether it’s an idea for a post, a sudden insight on how to address a problem, helpful advice to give to a friend, and many other experiences. No, I don’t hear a voice, but these thoughts emerge, often unbidden, and I explore them. I don’t always trust what I’m receiving, which probably says something about how well I trust myself, so I often mull over what I’ve learned. But generally, those are the kinds of things that emerge. I also feel blessed that I “perceive” G-d’s presence; I don’t know how to explain it, except to say there are times when I am physically alone, but don’t feel alone.

I think that there are times when I’ve had a sense of foreboding, particularly about a person, and I ask myself (since it’s usually someone new in my life) whether this is a person I should trust. If ongoing communications are awkward or troubled, I eventually often leave the relationship.

But I know some people perceive that G-d intervenes in their lives much more than I do. I rarely ask G-d to answer a question that I have about my life. I feel He can support me in using my wisdom, encourage me to pay attention to insights that might arise, but ultimately the decision is mine. I admire people who have that level of connection, and I don’t feel drawn to ask those kinds of questions. Recently, our neighbor was trying to decide with his wife whether to make a big move back to his home state. He told us that they had prayed on the decision, and finally knew that they were supposed to move. And they have no doubt that is the right thing to do.

When it comes to my health, I think (since I take pretty good care of myself) that life unfolds as it will. Stuff happens. My cancer, my bout with polymyalgia rheumatica, and arthritis are things that simply show up. I’ve never blamed G-d for them, and I would never ask G-d to “cure” them, although I believe He could, but instead I ask for strength, patience, and courage to deal with them. And I think he’s there for me. And my cancer is gone, my PMR is nearly licked, and my arthritis so far is tolerable.

The only other thing I pray for is for the “health and wellness” of others. I have a prayer list that I cover during my meditation, and it’s a fulfilling practice. It not only connects me to G-d, but spiritually with those people I am praying for. It is very satisfying.

Also, let me be clear. I don’t make any value judgments about whether and when G-d does intervene in one’s life. My experiences with His intervention have only occurred in the last few years. But I have become more and more receptive to Him, which opens the door to connection and relationship.

*     *     *     *

At a greater level, I believe G-d can and does intervene with groups, states and even countries. In fact, I believe (as do many Israelis) that G-d has interceded a number of times in military engagements that they have had to fight, saving them from what appeared to be imminent defeat. But they can’t assume that G-d will rescue them; they still must continue to fight a brutal war and hope that G-d will aid them in their efforts.

Their very survival is on the line.

*     *     *     *

Do you believe G-d intervenes in our lives?

Have you had an experience of His intervention?

Would you share a bit about your experience?

[Photo courtesy of unsplash.com]

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Though you may not pray for your own health, you’ve been on my cholim list since your cancer diagnosis.  Every day.  So, perhaps that’s why you’re feeling better.  I do believe prayer works.  Incidentally, I also don’t pray for my own health; it’s funny, but it seems presumptuous.  Odd, eh?  But prayers for others…absolutely!

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Though you may not pray for your own health, you’ve been on my cholim list since your cancer diagnosis. Every day. So, perhaps that’s why you’re feeling better. I do believe prayer works. Incidentally, I also don’t pray for my own health; it’s funny, but it seems presumptuous. Odd, eh? But prayers for others…absolutely!

    Thanks so much, Caryn. I definitely think prayer works!

    • #2
  3. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Answers in order:

    1. Yes.

    2. Yes.

    3. In my years I have seen supernatural healings, prophecies, dreams and visions, and provision miracles in my own life and the lives of those around me. If you are interested, some details can be found at my blog:

    How I Became Less Reluctantly Charismatic

    and more to your specific point:

    Do A Blog Entry About Supernatural Healing and Rationality  

     

    Which is to say that I have dozens, scores of  reasons to know that God does intervene in our lives.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    Which is to say that I have dozens, scores of  reasons to know that God does intervene in our lives.

    How blessed you are, Hartmann! I’ll be reading about your experiences.

    • #4
  5. BillJackson Inactive
    BillJackson
    @BillJackson

    God has absolutely intervened in my life. Sometimes it was overt and other times less so. And sometimes I wonder

    Overt: In college, I was a little drunk in Daytona and flirting with a girl. She laughingly ran out into a busy street to cross it and I hesitated and did the same. I heard an awful screech of tires, jumped in a way that brought both of my feet in front of my body, felt a bit of a breeze on my butt, landing unscathed and sprinting after the girl laughing as the driver cursed. My friend were still as white as a sheet when they told me they thought I was going to get killed, so close was the car. Many, many times I think about how that could have ended for me and I can only say God intervened to protect me, an utter, utter fool. 

    Less overt: When I started having heart issues, I just decided to stop drinking and did it. Never looked back, never had any relapses. I was never a heavy drinker, but I was habitual. At first, I’d tell myself “Yes, I love a beer, but I love [doing sports or whatever] more.” So it was ego driven. But as time wears on and I stay sober, I realize that’s all God. I’m not strong enough to do that. 

    The “wonder”: At work there’s a person who lies. Absolutely lies. He makes multiple mistakes and finds a way to obfuscate that it’s his fault. He doesn’t like me, nor respect what I do. He keeps trying to eliminate my job, but he can’t. And I wonder sometimes if this is a test from God? Is it too small a matter for his concerns? Should I continue to fight him because I’m honest, correct and doing it for the betterment of the company? Or do I just turn the other cheek and eventually get canned? I wonder.  

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    BillJackson (View Comment):
    The “wonder”: At work there’s a person who lies. Absolutely lies. He makes multiple mistakes and finds a way to obfuscate that it’s his fault. He doesn’t like me, nor respect what I do. He keeps trying to eliminate my job, but he can’t

    These are the most difficult questions, Bill. As I said, I tend to not ask G-d for guidance, but I wonder what He would say…

    • #6
  7. Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    God intervenes in my life every single day, and most days I realize that something happened yesterday that was an answer to pray from three days ago.  And I thank Him for it.  Sometimes it’s very striking, but it’s always there.  If He intervenes with groups of people, why wouldn’t He intervene with individual people?

    • #7
  8. Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Though you may not pray for your own health, you’ve been on my cholim list since your cancer diagnosis. Every day. So, perhaps that’s why you’re feeling better. I do believe prayer works. Incidentally, I also don’t pray for my own health; it’s funny, but it seems presumptuous. Odd, eh? But prayers for others…absolutely!

    I rarely pray for myself, but sometimes I think it’s presumptuous not to, so then I do.

    • #8
  9. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    One of the most important things to realize about God intervening or not intervening is that quite often, when it is perceived that God refuses to intervene, it is because the obstacles that we have encircled around our daily habits will not allow it.

     

    • #9
  10. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Prayers are heard, sometimes we don’t get exactly what we ask for, but sometimes we do not know how to discern between wants and needs. Prayer can be reading the Bible, and it can be the memorization of prayers, and sometimes it is a conversation that asks why. There are times in the conversation when we ask the question why and we have to wait in silence for an answer.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Prayers are heard, sometimes we don’t get exactly what we ask for, but sometimes we do not know how to discern between wants and needs. Prayer can be reading the Bible, and it can be the memorization of prayers, and sometimes it is a conversation that asks why. There are times in the conversation when we ask the question why and we have to wait in silence for an answer.

    You describe beautifully the complexity of prayer, Doug. The point that we don’t always get what we ask for, when we want it, or at all, or realize that we needed something else entirely is often missed. Thanks.

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Globalitarian Lower Order Misa… (View Comment):
    God intervenes in my life every single day, and most days I realize that something happened yesterday that was an answer to pray from three days ago.

    So true. We’re not always paying attention, and then realize after the fact that He blessed us. I wish more people realized that if they simply stayed open to Him, they’d connect with Him.

    • #12
  13. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Globalitarian Lower Order Misa… (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Though you may not pray for your own health, you’ve been on my cholim list since your cancer diagnosis. Every day. So, perhaps that’s why you’re feeling better. I do believe prayer works. Incidentally, I also don’t pray for my own health; it’s funny, but it seems presumptuous. Odd, eh? But prayers for others…absolutely!

    I rarely pray for myself, but sometimes I think it’s presumptuous not to, so then I do.

    We truly ought pray for ourselves and our families. A Nigerian sister named Esther Adewole was a leader at the International Baptist Church in Vienna decades ago and she put it this way: “If you want something good and you’re not asking the Lord for it, where do you expect it to come from?”

    • #13
  14. Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Lower Order Misa… (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Though you may not pray for your own health, you’ve been on my cholim list since your cancer diagnosis. Every day. So, perhaps that’s why you’re feeling better. I do believe prayer works. Incidentally, I also don’t pray for my own health; it’s funny, but it seems presumptuous. Odd, eh? But prayers for others…absolutely!

    I rarely pray for myself, but sometimes I think it’s presumptuous not to, so then I do.

    We truly ought pray for ourselves and our families. A Nigerian sister named Esther Adewole was a leader at the International Baptist Church in Vienna decades ago and she put it this way: “If you want something good and you’re not asking the Lord for it, where do you expect it to come from?”

    But God takes care of me as he wishes, and I pray for everyone else.  But lately with my problem I’ve been praying for health just to not leave my wife alone.  But it still feels strange to pray for myself, not bad, just different. I won’t start listing things now, but God really does answer prayers.

    • #14
  15. Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Lower Order Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    One other thing.  I remember an interviewer reporting on Christian genocide by Isis in I think in Syria.  And there was a young 10?-year-old boy getting his fingers cut off to force the father to convert to mohammedanism, and the boy said in the middle of it to his father, Father, Don’t deny your God, don’t embarrass me by denying Him, or something like this.  And then later the interviewer was speaking to a Christian woman, and he asked her, respectfully, something like Why do you do this?  How do you still believe in God?  And the first things she said was He answers prayers.  He asked her like what prayers.  And she looked amazed and said, Oh.  Everything, all the time.

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I can understand why some folks might feel sharing this kind of personal information is too much to ask (and I so appreciate those of you who have shared), but I was hoping more people might comment on whether G-d might intervene for Israel.

    • #16
  17. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I can understand why some folks might feel sharing this kind of personal information is too much to ask (and I so appreciate those of you who have shared), but I was hoping more people might comment on whether G-d might intervene for Israel.

    In the Old Testament times we are told G-d intervened often, and withdrew protection often. What we do not know is whether G-d is extending or withdrawing protection now, and what G-d knows that we do not. And, when or if we will come to know.

     G-d’s thinking is not our thinking.

    When things turn out well (as we deem them) we are grateful to G-d. When they do not we are left to wonder at G-d’s greater purposes or, worse, come to curse G-d. 

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    When things turn out well (as we deem them) we are grateful to G-d. When they do not we are left to wonder at G-d’s greater purposes or, worse, come to curse G-d. 

    I think “expecting” intervention is unwise. As you say, we can’t know the mind of G-d. Unfortunately, for many Jews the Holocaust was the final blow. They abandoned their belief in G-d.

    • #18
  19. dajoho Member
    dajoho
    @dajoho

    100% Susan.  Usually not how or when we want and my experience is it’s mostly hindsight, looking back I clearly see His hand.  And at the risk of beating a dead horse my son’s experience in the fight in Niger when I asked him what happened and he said “the hand of God dad, we shouldn’t be here….”.  Good question / post.  

     

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    dajoho (View Comment):

    100% Susan. Usually not how or when we want and my experience is it’s mostly hindsight, looking back I clearly see His hand. And at the risk of beating a dead horse my son’s experience in the fight in Niger when I asked him what happened and he said “the hand of God dad, we shouldn’t be here….”. Good question / post.

     

    Thanks, dajoho. And repeating your son’s story will never be “beating a dead horse.”

    • #20
  21. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):
    When things turn out well (as we deem them) we are grateful to G-d. When they do not we are left to wonder at G-d’s greater purposes or, worse, come to curse G-d.

    I think “expecting” intervention is unwise. As you say, we can’t know the mind of G-d. Unfortunately, for many Jews the Holocaust was the final blow. They abandoned their belief in G-d.

    Yes, my wife and I both have met Jews who abandoned their faith because of the Shoah. God did stop the final solution, though he used the First Infantry Division, the RAF, Free French, and Red Army to do it. I’ve read the plan in the original and the Nazis intended to wipe out all Jews, everywhere, all of them. The Slavs were next on the target list. That they failed was an answer to many thousands of prayers, but I often do ask how great the role of human decision is when we face events of this kind. God leaves much of what happens on Earth up to human action, and, frankly, we are often too cowardly, indifferent, or malicious to act even to help those around us, much less total strangers.

    Is God intervening right now in Israel? I think so. Hamas has brought about more destruction to the people it claims to represent than it inflicted on Israel. And the western democracies have not abandoned Israel to date. There have been a couple of wobbly moments so far with the UK and France (!) but the U.S. and Germany (!) have remained solid. Keep praying that they stand with Israel.

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    Yes, my wife and I both have met Jews who abandoned their faith because of the Shoah. God did stop the final solution, though he used the First Infantry Division, the RAF, Free French, and Red Army to do it. I’ve read the plan in the original and the Nazis intended to wipe out all Jews, everywhere, all of them.

    I’ve never seen it described that way, all those groups pitching in. A meaningful perspective for me.

    • #22
  23. TomRoberts57 Coolidge
    TomRoberts57
    @TomRoberts57

    Drivel.

    “God” doesn’t care about you one way or the other, and if you think he has some special regard for Israel while you’re engaged in collective punishment of the Palestinians because the Hamas terrorists scored a small win over you then you’re deluded.

     

    • #23
  24. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):

    Drivel.

    “God” doesn’t care about you one way or the other, and if you think he has some special regard for Israel while you’re engaged in collective punishment of the Palestinians because the Hamas terrorists scored a small win over you then you’re deluded.

     

    Thanks for weighing in. It’s pretty cool that you know what G-d cares about.

    • #24
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