Thursday, July 31, 2014

Praising God in General

God made a world the contains baby deer and kittens. God is the best! Image source.

The writer of Psalm 104 has a lot of praise for God, and for once it's praise I can actually agree with. Because it's very general.

God "set the earth on its foundations."

God "makes springs pour water into the ravines."

"He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate."

"All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time."

Baby flamingo, you guys. Image source.

You guys, the world is beautiful and awesome, and God made it that way. He gave us this fantastic earth, with rivers and mountains and animals and cities full of people and all the awesome, rich diversity that is humanity.

Most of the time, life is great.

And I can agree with this psalm because everything is so general. God made the world. Stuff in the world is pretty awesome.

Just don't go crediting God with specific happenings. God helped you find a job? God healed you when you had a cold? God made the bus come on time so you wouldn't be late for work? I don't know about that. If God has a hand in micromanaging every little event, then he'd better explain why so many awful things happen in the world every day. He can help you find your keys, but he can't be bothered to keep children safe from violence and war?

In the past, I think I prayed too much. I prayed about EVERYTHING. Because the more you pray, the better, right? Every little thing, every tiny problem I had, I prayed about. I remember once, after coming back home from the grocery store, I realized I forgot to buy ice cream. It didn't make sense- if God is with me, if he is so close and he can speak to me all the time, why wouldn't he remind me about the ice cream?

And I remember the first time I came to China, it was a mission trip, and there were a few things that didn't go as planned, resulting in about a week of what felt like wasted time. Didn't God care that I had gotten friends and family to pay thousands of dollars to send me all the way across the world, in his name? How could this happen? I know the laws of nature don't care who gets inconvenienced, but man, doesn't God care? Shouldn't he make it less likely for that stuff to happen to me, because I/donors had spent so much money on that trip- and in his name?

I don't believe he intervenes like that anymore. Yes, sometimes, but generally no. So I don't feel like I can pray and ask him to do stuff, or thank him for things that happened. (Even though the bible has a ton of examples of people doing just that.)

But back to Psalm 104. He made the world, and it's great- in general.


This post is part of a link-up on the topic of Psalm 104. To read other people's posts, click here: Fleeing the Headlines and Finding My Faith.


  1. I'm glad you found some common ground in one of the psalms! It's true. Sometimes particulars can get a little iffy. Do you ever read Greg Boyd? He has been doing some posts about prayer lately, which are especially interesting coming from him because he has such a high view of human free agency compared to God's sovereignty over all the details. Here's one of them: Seems relevant to your line of questioning about that :)

  2. I kind of like his idea- it's logically consistent and doesn't have God "causing" or "approving" tragedies and such. But I'm not sure about the part where God will/can do things only if you pray for them- so that means that people who don't believe in God or don't pray for whatever reason don't have access to that power. It's not fair for God to only help people who know how to pray correctly.

    Although, if prayer has any benefit at all, then by definition it's something that people who don't believe in God/ don't pray would miss out on. Maybe that's why I'm stuck- because I want to believe prayer matters, but that just doesn't seem fair. I think God should help everyone, regardless of if they pray.

    Perhaps for people who don't believe in God, there's some sort of action that would be equivalent to prayer, that God could bless- like maybe caring about other people.