Since my mom’s passing, I have questioned God up and down about why he allowed her to go so soon. Was she not a faithful, prayerful, and BLESSED Christian woman who devoted her life to living out the purpose God made her for? So why would God, in all His glory and honor and magnitude and grace, allow my mother to DIE???
I remember carpooling with my mom to work (we would carpool because we lived an hour away and we both worked in generally the same area) a few years ago, and I asked her, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to seemingly good people, while those who are not so great are “blessed” with all the riches and splendor that this world has to offer?“ She offered me the greatest piece of advice (and truth) that I hold dear to this day,
aka, God doesn’t hand out blessings and extend grace to those He believes deserve it more than others. God isn’t listening to one prayer more than another. Let me repeat myself, GOD DOES NOT BLESS YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE ALWAYS PRAYING (or always fasting, or always being faithful).
*moment of silence because this needs to resonate*
The purpose of prayer is not to ask ask ask, and for God to be your fairy godmother (no pun intended) and give you every single thing that your heart desires. Because we desire a whole lot.
But this was something that was hard to come to terms with. I couldn’t grasp the fact that, even though I felt that I was being a “good” Christian, God would not grant me the things I wanted. But meanwhile, my enemies (or those I thought were my enemies) were flourishing. This newfound truth my mom bestowed on me actually left me a little angry with God. I questioned His way of doing things and felt that it made no sense.
And then a few months later it dawned on me. “Of course it won’t make sense to you Seyi. You are a human being trying to put logic to a being that is farrrrrrrrr greater than you are”. The omnipotent and omnipresent. And from that point, I stopped trying to understand God’s way of dishing out grace, mercy, and blessings.
Or so I thought. Fast forward 3 years later, and my mom was laying on her death bed. This time, the blow was far worse, far more excruciating, and far more debilitating. I was DONE. Through tears (and still to this day), I demanded an answer from God. I went down a list of people who could’ve gone in her place (yea, that real). Bargaining seemed like the logical option to help me cope. I recanted the many times my mom devoted her life to spreading the Gospel. I asked God why I was instructed to pray and fast relentlessly, if her death was going to be the outcome. She didn’t deserve to die.
And once again, what my mom said to me years ago replayed in my head,
“God is not a rewarder of persons”
His grace and blessings, such as waking up to see another day, is not something we deserve. The same way that our reward for living a good life isn’t given here on this earth. It’s by His loving grace and mercy that good things happen to us. Because we are His creation and He loves us. Of course He wants to see us flourish. But just because I have accepted Jesus as my savior does not automatically guarantee me all the splendor of this earth. If I don’t get that thing, or if I don’t wake up to see another day, it’s not because His love ran out. It’s because that thing wasn’t meant for me, or my mission on this earth has been completed.
My mom did her duty. She was a faithful servant and had the opportunity to see me and Bunmi grow to be adults. Despite the struggle, she enjoyed her days. She knew that it was by grace that she was able to wake up, to see, to smell, to laugh, to cry.
“The truth is, I have no idea why I was born where I was or why I have the opportunity I have. It’s beyond comprehension. But I certainly don’t believe God has chosen me above others because of the veracity of my prayers or the depth of my faith” –Scott Dannemiller
Everyday I struggle. Honestly. I still struggle to understand why things happened the way they did. Why my reality is the way it is. But as I build my faith back up again, I’m learning to just love God for who He is, not what He provides or does. Would I still love God if I was persecuted and down trodden? If I stayed in the struggle? The answer should be yes.
God’s blessings doesn’t determine how good He is. Neither does it determine how good you are. Your actions shouldn’t be led by wanting to be blessed, but by wanting to willingly serve Him.
P.S. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pray for the things you want. God says to ask for things in prayer and He will provide. But what I have began doing is starting and/or ending my prayers of requests with “if it’s in your will”. This eliminates the feeling of entitlement to that request.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” James 1:17
All Photography by Kristen Ashley