Last week we pondered the analogies between technological advances we take for granted and our abilities to believe in the unseen. The capacity for GPS to know our whereabouts is not unlike the omniscience of God. Relying on the unseen without full understanding is not unlike faith. We even saw bringing such sophisticated advances to our every day experiences as similar to divine Yeshua walking among us.
Although the message’s point was that those who do not yet know God may be more ready to receive Him due to this environment, one of my readers opened the door even further. As she notes, what about all of us who do have faith and yet sometimes doubt? If HaShem hears our prayers, why doesn’t He answer them?
She notes that, unlike Alexa or Siri, HaShem always understands us even when we don’t speak clearly. And perhaps when the GPS takes us off the beaten path, or even gets us lost, we may realize later that route was a good one or brought us somewhere worth seeing. Similarly, our walk with God sometimes takes us through experiences that later we understand were part of a journey that brought us closer to Him.
While we don’t know how Alexa or Siri work, we trust in them and overlook their mistakes. After all, they’re just machines. Our expectations of HaShem, however, are that since He is God, He doesn’t make mistakes. And He doesn’t. So why doesn’t He hear me? Why do my prayers go unanswered?
The truth is He does answer our prayers. We just don’t always see and understand that they have been answered. His timeline is not our timeline. Years to us are but a blink to Him. And we must temper our expectations to fit the reality of this dimension – death and disease, and some suffering are part of the human condition since in this realm we do not have perfection as will be in Olam Ha-Ba, the World to Come. When Alexa misunderstands, we laugh and presume we didn’t speak clearly. When God doesn’t answer our prayers, we blame Him for not listening and giving us what we want, when we want it. When GPS takes us off course, we excuse. When HaShem’s answer doesn’t meet our expectations, we judge. He doesn’t listen to my prayers. Is He real? Is He truly omnipotent?
A poor performing Alexa and GPS is usually the fault of the user, or a programmer, not of the device. So too, when we pray, are we asking the right questions? Do we always know what is best for us? There are countless times we have asked for a promotion or job, only to find out when we didn’t get it that it was a blessing in disguise. Or the many times we have longed for a relationship which, had it happened, would not have been the best situation for us. Disease is a reality and our prayers are answered as is right for that time. Some prayers may feel unanswered only to be understood as answered years later. Or perhaps not understood in this lifetime but ultimately will be understandable.
Science will continue to advance and push our sensibilities to believe in the unseen. So too all of us, whether or not believers in God and Yeshua, are growing in our abilities to have faith in the inscrutable. As my reader so astutely observed, we excuse our electronic devices, why not increase our faith in HaShem, especially when it’s not easy to do so? He certainly does with us!