Is it far more comforting to think God listened & said no…

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    than to think that nobody’s out there?


    I once asked the Reb that most common of faith questions: why do bad things happen to good people? It had been answered countless times in countless ways; in books, in sermons, on Web sites, in tear-filled hugs. The Lord wanted her with him . . . He died doing what he loved . . . She was a gift . . . This is a test . . .

    I remember a family friend whose son was struck with a terrible medical affliction. After that, at any religious ceremony—even a wedding—I would see the man out in the hallway, refusing to enter the service. “I just can’t listen to it anymore,” he would say. His faith had been lost.

    When I asked the Reb, Why do bad things happen to good people?, he gave none of the standard answers. He quietly said, “No one knows.” I admired that. But when I asked if that ever shook his belief in God, he was firm.

    “I cannot waver,” he said.

    Well, you could, if you didn’t believe in something all-powerful.

    “An atheist,” he said.


    “And then I could explain why my prayers were not answered.”


    He studied me carefully. He drew in his breath.

    “I had a doctor once who was an atheist. Did I ever tell you about him?”


    “This doctor, he liked to jab me and my beliefs. He used to schedule my appointments deliberately on Saturdays, so I would have to call the receptionist and explain why, because of my religion, that wouldn’t work.”

    Nice guy, I said.

    “Anyhow, one day, I read in the paper that his brother had died. So I made a condolence call.”

    After the way he treated you?

    “In this job,” the Reb said, “you don’t retaliate.”

    I laughed.

    “So I go to his house, and he sees me. I can tell he is upset. I tell him I am sorry for his loss. And he says, with an angry face, ‘I envy you.’

    “ ‘Why do you envy me?’ I said.

    “ ‘Because when you lose someone you love, you can curse God. You can yell. You can blame him. You can demand to know why. But I don’t believe in God. I’m a doctor! And I couldn’t help my brother!’

    “He was near tears. ‘Who do I blame?’ he kept asking me. ‘There is no God. I can only blame myself.’ ”

    The Reb’s face tightened, as if in pain.

    “That,” he said, softly, “is a terrible self-indictment.”

    Worse than an unanswered prayer?

    “Oh yes. It is far more comforting to think God listened and said no, than to think that nobody’s out there.”


    As the Reb explains, “it is far more comforting to think God listened and said no, than to think nobody’s out there” Do you agree?


    This passage from the book brought me great comfort. KNOWING my Dad went to a better place after his death of cancer six years ago was the only thing that brought me any solace. I knew he was no longer in pain and was looking down on me with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face. I feel badly for those who lose a loved one and have nothing to hold onto.


    I agree that most of us are comforted by our belief in God. But what is it that leads us to believe in God? Where does our faith come from? I am battling my own war with faith. I am a father of 2 sons and yet I am not a father of 2 sons. I do not understand what has prevented me for over a year and a half of seeing my 2 boys. My prayers go unanswered yet is this by design? Do I continue to have faith when the world I live in denies me over and over again? My faith does not comfort me as it should not comfort anyone. The comfort you should get should depend on who you are, how you act, how you live, how you treat others. Comfort comes from living in the image of God, not from your belief or faith in him. Is he really not answering or is he wanting us to figure out the way?


    Yes, I agree that it is more comforting to think that God listened and said no because God has a plan for everyone you may not see it yet but eventually someday it will make sense to you. You will understand why something happened the way it did. I am saddened to think that anyone believes that there is not a higher being out there that we refer to as God.


    Although we may feel (at times) our life is spirally out of control, and not going according to our plan, we have to remember, that God also has a plan for us. We pray, and feel that (at times) our prayers are unanswered, but we should be comforted knowing that there is a higher power, that has a more infinite plan. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. James 1: 3
    Faith will see us through!


    I have to respond to this from my faith view which says that “God is good- all the time”- and also that God is never “no” but always “yes”. Now the “yes” can take different forms: “yes, you can have it now”, “Yes, but be patient” and “I’ve got something better in mind for you.” The last of these options is the most difficult to comprehend as it sometimes involves going through what some have referred to as the Dark Night of the Soul- the place where God seems to be absent- to get to the “better idea” that God has in mind for each person. I’m kind of wandering around in that wilderness right now but I’m looking for the way out and the God who is good- all the time will show me how to get there. I don’t mean that God will actually post a sign (though that happened once) but there will be nudgings sending me in the right direction.


    I believe faith comes mainly from the Spirit, and the scriptures.
    By trying to live in God’s image, doesn’t that make you a believer? Possibly you are moved by the Spirit, not faith. Our faith would come easier, if all of our prayers were answered overnight. Unfortunately we need to have patience, faith and guidance.
    I think your/our prays maybe go unanswered because they do not follow the path God has chosen for your life (at this particuliar moment in time). Follow your heart and the guidance of the Spirit and hopefully you will be with your family again.


    You should not be saddended by another person’s feeling towards “God or a higher being”, instead you should be happy for them. The journey to finding a reglious place or non reglious place is the same for everyone. Don’t be sad where they eneded up but be happy they took the journey.


    “Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” ~David Lloyd George
    Most people want to have a connection through communication – listening and being heard. To be heard is nurturing to our sense of being alive; to be answered, albeit not always the desired one, is reason enough to take the leap of faith. It’s a really big step; nevertheless, it give purpose to life.
    “They count as quite forgot; They are as men who have existed not;
    Theirs is a loss past loss of fitful breath; It is the second death.” ~Thomas Hardy
    Having big Faith spans generations and gives continuity, comfort and infinite hope.


    This was one of my most favorite passages in the book. I think it is so easy for anyone in a difficult situation or facing loss to blame God for not listening. We often wonder why bad things happen to good people and struggle to understand how God could allow this to happen to us. In the end, a higher power always has a plan in mind for us…and often that plan is different than our own.


    It’s an interesting one for me.
    I have been through the mill more times than I would wish on anyone, and I am only 18 – so many good people I know (myself included), that beilieve in God, have had bad things happen to them. The kind of bad things that you wouldn’t want to wish on anybody.
    But still we believe, still we pray, still we keep our faith.
    We don’t have the answers – we can’t explain – we just have to accept, and those of us that truly love God, accept willingly, happily and openly.
    We don’t need to understand why things work the way they do.
    Why things don’t seem fair.
    We don’t need to try and figure the answer to this question out.
    Because we all share a blind faith, a belief that is so strong, so powerful, that even the most saddening of events cannot pierce our faith.
    So when these painful, incomprehensible things happen, we don’t say ‘It’s part of God’s plan’; we don’t look for comfort in God listening and saying no; we don’t yell at the Lord for what has happened; we simply accept, because we love the Lord.
    You may call me and my friends sheep for thinking and feeling this, but there are no words to describe the strength, the power, the love and the unity that we all share because of our faith.


    Reminds me of what a dear friend told me when I was trying to sober up form an horrible alcohol addiction, “It is better to live your life as if there is a God, and find out there isn’t one; then to live your life as if there is no God, and find out there is one.”


    I have been writing a book on this subject for nine years, that I have just completed. It is soon to be published by Gefen. It explores Jewish traditions for dealing with suffering and tragedy.I am hoping Mitch, that you will consider reading the manuscript and writing a short endorsement.

    Morey Schwartz


    I think, in order to comprehend this statement, that God listened and said No, if it’s to be believed, then this means God is capable of saying Yes, and that God then does intervene in our lives. Now this is fundamentally different from the notion of “free will” because in order to intervene, as so frequently, in prayer, this means that “others” if the prayer is answered, will be moved, and in ways they cannot know. I am saying, you cannot have it both ways. Either God is involved in the miracle or God is not. And IF God is involved in the miracle, or that refusal, then God is part of the story, meaning the “entire story”.For me, Yes, of course it’s comforting to think God listened and said no, because I honestly know, that my life cannot be random, and that God is always present, as an active force within my life. Now when the Jews ask to be written in the Book of Life at Yom Kippur, known as the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, this is surely, what is “understood”. And so IF God is responsible, in any way, then God intervenes in our lives, one way, or, the other. Yes and No are connected words.I have a very Sufi understanding of life these “daze” as I am walking visibly through a story that does connect all the threads of my life, meaning everything I am doing, in amazing ways that I am recording, and I do say, and can prove, that we are all of us, doing a cosmic dance with each other. The Sufis do see, within all of us, within all creation, the Divine. Read Rumi and Rumi nate on his beautiful words that are entirely about a vision of all creation that is all awe, allah, another name for God.God has many incarnations, as this beautiful book, “have a little faith”, is saying. We all have the same God, but we name God, differently, and we practice worship, in diverse ways. It’s one verse, universe, but it is di verse, because I think we must and do rejoice in the great variety of cultural expressions of worship, and culture itself. I wrote to a good friend, who expressed some beautiful thoughts this morning about life, that the word comfort and come for, are close, and I am saying to come forth is to find God in big and small ways in life, and that this is the quest that underlies our very beings, as souls. If you love anything with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might, given the notion that we are all of us aspects of Divinity, then, whether you believe in God or not, or stand on the fence, you will have fulfilled that commandment, to love with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul, and with all one’s might, God.I listen to the words, and I am saying life is a door, and life is, adore, and that this journey we are all taking is deeply about just that.


    To think that there is no one to listen to your thoughts, this is a truly disturbing subject. How do you know if there is someone out there? “Oh yes. It is far more comforting to think God listened and said no, than to think that nobody’s out there.” God has many ways of letting us know that he is here for us. I am truly comforted to know that God always listens to our thoughts and prayers. God does not all ways answer our prayers though. Why does god do this? Some times we receive a greater blessing from these unanswered prayers. We may pray for something we believe that would be the greatest improvement to our lives, while God knows’ that it will only hurt us. Garth Brooks has a song titled “Unanswered Prayers, ” here is a small except from the song “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
    Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
    That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
    Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” To realize that god grants us unimaginable gifts by not answering all of our prayers, this is were the true happiness and peace comes from. To me God is the parent that has been put through every thing that is possible to imagine, but through his suffering he tries to keep it from happening. The ignorance and free will of man, bring the suffering to ourselves. God points us in the right direction, yet he gives us the freedom to take any direction that we want. When we begin to stray, God puts small obstacles in our life to try and set us back on the straight and narrow path. God may use a small tingle that tugs at our heart, or he may just let you know through another person. God has his ways of letting you know you are doing wrong. Should you ever worry when God doesn’t answer your prayer? When God doesn’t speak to you at all you, you should worry.

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