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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.
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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.
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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?
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