Along the same lines I ran across this picture posted by Joel over at Unsettled Christianity. It crystallizes the problem, for me at least, of how we mentally and theologically negotiate what we interpret as answers to our prayers and God working in our life. As I said in my last post:
I also wonder about people living in poorer, oppressed economies who pray the same prayers and yet God does not seem to answer their prayers. I wonder how I can be thankful to God for hearing my prayer for say a job or to heal me of a minor aliment, but they are asking God to give them their next meal, a drink of water or protection from their enemies.
Although I try to be thankful to God for what I have, pictures like this one haunt me. I know some will say that God wants me to help by either going to feed this person or sending money with those who do go, but that doesn't seem to be enough nor does it resolve the tension I feel. How can I thank God for a warm, beautiful home when I know there are others who, through no fault of their own, have no home to sleep in and no food to eat? Has God forgotten them? Why did God answer my prayers or come to my aid, but not the child in this picture? Scripture says that he causes rain to fall on both the just and the unjust, but I am not sure what this child did to not get the rain needed to grow food.
I wish I had an answer. I find myself wincing when I hear people praising God for that new car or some other trinket that they asked God for. And my theology is haunted by pictures like this one.