Today’s Word: ‘vending’ as in… God is not a vending machine.
Here’s the good news: :God is always present. Here’s the really challenging news: God is not a spiritual vending machine.
Please let me offer this as gently as I possibly can, and with all due respect: We don’t “offer up” prayers for things we want or need like we dispense money in a vending machine, press a button, and have whatever we think we want or even desperately need delivered to us. It just doesn’t work that way. If it did, then when whatever we think we want or even desperately need isn’t dispensed, we’re left with frustration or even anger at the machine. We might stand there lost in a little disbelief and perhaps a lot of contempt. We might even give the machine a little nudge, a bump, or even something a little stronger. When nothing happens we feel robbed, slighted, cheated. God is not a robber, a fraud, or a cheater.
Maybe you’ve noticed that along with our own personal griefs, much of our culture is dealing with the collective sadness over the recent deaths of nine people killed in a helicopter crash in California. You don’t have to be an athlete or even into professional sports to appreciate this cultural grief storm.
In the depths of grief, life can certainly seem like a storm. We often feel helpless in the whirlwind of tragedy and loss, tossed about like leaves in the wind, landing here and there not knowing when the next gust will come creating more questions: “Why?” Why did this happen now, to this person, to those people?
These are good and helpful questions and the ancient scriptures continue to speak into these questions. And while they don’t speak to the “Why” questions, they certainly do speak to the “Who” questions.
The “Who” is the One who is known as the Faithful One, the Healer, our Rock, our Fortress, our Strength, our Helper, our Friend, the one who speaks powerfully and with deep comfort to us “from the midst of the whirlwind, the eye of the storm (Job 38:1).