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But if Not ....!

What to Do When God Doesn't Answer Your Prayers!

--Is Your Faith Like Paper Money or God's Good Gold?

By David Brandt Berg, Sept., 1974
Sad girl with pimples on her face

A GIRL RECENTLY WROTE US: "I joined the Family for eight months a couple of years ago, and then I left because my face became very spotty. It sounds so silly, but it was my biggest trial! I prayed God would heal me, but for some reason He hasn't. Then I rejoined the Family again recently and have been with them for two months and my face has become all spotty again! I have worked myself into such a state over it that it keeps me from hearing or obeying God like I know I should. Sometimes my face comes out in big boils. I may have prayed myself out of faith, as I've cried out to God so many times!

"I'VE GOTTEN SO LOW AND DEPRESSED THAT I WOULD HAVE KILLED MYSELF if it wasn't for God's mercy. But I know if you pray for me, God'll heal me. I want to serve Him, I want to be free and get my eyes off myself and reach the world for Jesus, but I don't know how long I can go on like this! Please understand: Don't just say it's my pride, but have compassion on me! This is my last hope! I'll be waiting to hear from you and will know you have prayed when my face clears up.

YOU POOR LITTLE GIRL! Won't you know I've prayed for you until your face clears up?--Just like you can't seem to believe God loves you unless He heals you! This is the Devil's business to give you such tests and trials to try to convince you God doesn't love you and He doesn't answer prayer!--But we do and He does!

THE VERY FACT THAT THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS WHEN YOU START SERVING GOD PROVES IT'S A TEST OF THE ENEMY and he's trying to discourage you from going on! What is really happening is that the Lord is letting the Enemy do it in order to test your faith and see how much you really love the Lord and what price you're willing to pay to serve Him! Of course, it could be partly your diet: Maria had that problem very badly until she came to us and I took her off of sweets! Now she's beautiful!

BUT THIS CASE SOUNDS TO ME LIKE A DEFINITE DEMONIC REACTION BY THE DEVIL AGAINST YOUR TRYING TO SERVE THE LORD! In other words, the Devil doesn't like it when you're with us. (Prays: O God, have mercy and show her whatever you're trying to show her!) The Lord's probably dealing with you on pride, the very thing you're afraid of having exposed and don't want to confess! Because at the root of all sin is always pride--And the fact that you let it stand in you're way of serving God sounds like you're putting self before the Lord's service.

IT'S A TEST AND VERY HUMILIATING, BUT YOU'VE GOT TO GO AHEAD AND SERVE THE LORD REGARDLESS! When you prove you love the Lord and His service more than your face, the Lord will probably heal you. You're still making your service for God and your faith contingent on God doing that first, when actually it works the other way around.

FAITH AND OBEDIENCE COME FIRST, THEN GOD ANSWERS PRAYER! So many people have told us, "If God will heal me, then I'll serve Him, then I'll believe." It means nothing else in the world but that you're putting self first, trying to make a deal with God! "If God will serve me first, then I'll serve Him. You work for me first, God then I'll work for You!"--And He just doesn't work that way!

HE STILL HAS THE SAME OLD FORMULA: "SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD and His righteousness, then all these things shall be added unto you." The blessings don't precede obedience. You don't say, "Lord, You bless me, then I'll obey." But God tests you first to see if you'll obey, and then He can bless you. It's such a common mistake people make!

IT'S A REAL TEST TOO, BUT IT OFTEN ENDS IN MURMURING: PEOPLE HOLD IT AGAINST GOD because He won't heal them! "If He'd do it, then I'd serve Him.--So He doesn't love me, He doesn't care, because He won't heal me!" A lot of times even I feel like quitting because things don't go just right, but I don't quit! I just keep on plugging along and eventually the Lord works things out.

IT'S KIND OF A "ME FIRST" ATTITUDE: "You heal me first, then I'll believe You, then I'll obey." It's really a form of self-righteousness, because it's pride. It's just like the scribes and Pharisees told Jesus: "Do us a miracle, then we'll believe!"--But He'd already done all kinds of miracles and they still didn't believe! So He said, "If I'd even raise somebody from the dead you still wouldn't believe, because you don't believe what I've already said!"--So then He did raise somebody from the dead--Lazarus--and that's what made them decide they had to kill him!

THIS BUSINESS OF HINGING YOUR FAITH ON THE ANSWER INSTEAD OF ON THE WORD IS LIKE A WORKS RELIGION! It's like, "Show me!--I'll believe it when I see it!--Seeing is believing!" But that's not the way faith works: With faith, believing is seeing! Faith works on blind obedience no matter whether you ever get the answer or not! You can't make the answer conditional to your service for God. Though your face may be one big boil you ought to serve Him regardless!--Who knows?--It might encourage some poor people who have worse problems than you to go ahead and serve the Lord!--If they'd see that you're willing to serve the Lord and not ashamed regardless of your handicaps, it might encourage them to do the same!

JOB LOST EVERYTHING!--His family, his fortune--and finally his health--everything! He was covered with boils from head to toe, but he still said it didn't matter!--It didn't matter if God killed him, he'd still keep on trusting Him! Job had been serving the Lord a long time, all his life, and look what happened to him!

YOU JUST CANNOT MAKE YOUR OBEDIENCE CONTINGENT ON YOUR TERMS and the way you think God ought to answer, and providing everything goes all right. You can't just only be God's fair-weather friend! You have to keep on serving the Lord even when everything goes all wrong! If you're only going to be willing to believe and obey the Lord as long as everything goes all right, you won't be believing or obeying very much, because a lot of things go wrong when you're serving the Lord!--"Many are the afflictions of the righteous!"

IF EVERY TIME YOU HAVE AN AFFLICTION YOU QUIT SERVING GOD, YOU'LL BE A PERPETUAL QUITTER! Of course, sometimes others put you under condemnation if you're not healed.--They blame it on you: "There surely must be something wrong with you!"--Just like Job's counsellors!--All three of them said, "There must be something wrong with you!" Well, in Job's case it did turn out that something was wrong with him: It was his self-righteous pride, because he was proud of his faith, proud he was so good, proud he had served God all his life. So God had to let the Devil knock him flat to prove he was nothing without the Lord!

SOMETIMES YOU'RE ASHAMED BECAUSE OTHERS ARE ASHAMED OF YOU, and they don't even want to have you around because you look like a poor testimony! But Jesus had all kinds of handicapped people following Him, and He healed all that He could.--But who knows if they all got healed? But there are plenty of examples in the Bible of how the people who kept after Him and kept following Him no matter what eventually got healed even when it seemed like He was ignoring them!--Like the blind beggar and the woman with the sick daughter and others. The ones who quit before they got healed, of course, never got healed!

GOD WANTS TO TEST YOUR FAITH AND WILLINGNESS TO OBEY BEFORE HE'S GOING TO HEAL YOU, and He wants to see if you'll believe and obey Him even if you think you may never get healed! What's your healing got to do with faith and obedience? Nothing!--But your faith and obedience have a lot to do with your healing! Whether you get healed or not should have nothing to do with whether you believe or obey the Lord or not!

YOU'VE GOT TO BELIEVE AND OBEY THE LORD EVEN IF HE NEVER HEALS YOU! Paul had a thorn in his flesh to the day of his death to keep him humble! He couldn't even be trusted with full health because it probably would have made him too full of pride, because he'd been honoured by the Lord in so many other ways.--But his thorn in the flesh didn't keep him from serving God!

AS LONG AS IT IS POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO KEEP ON SERVING GOD, YOU'VE GOT TO KEEP ON SERVING Him regardless of whether He ever sees fit to heal you or not! You may be a whole lot more useful to the Lord with a face full of boils, or a whole lot more humble and believing with a whole body covered with boils like Job was, than if the Lord would heal you!

A LOT OF PEOPLE JUST WANT TO USE GOD: I've known a lot of people whom God healed too easily, and then they just took off and went their own way! They were really lying to God: They'd sworn up and down if He'd just heal them then they'd serve Him.--But the minute He did they just took off and forgot all about it!

ISRAEL USED TO DO THAT ALL THE TIME: "O God, if you'll just save us we'll serve You forever!"--And the minute He did save them they forgot the whole deal and were worse than ever--more unbelieving and more murmuring and more disobedient!

I NEVER GOT HEALED THAT WAY. Some of the times when I was nearest to death, which has been a lot of times, I told the Lord, "Well, Lord, I'd like to be healed so I could serve You better, but I'm not going to stop serving You just because you don't heal me."--And just like Job, there have been plenty of times when I told the Lord, "Well, if You heal me, Lord, fine!--But if you want to kill me, that's up to You!--I'll still believe and love You anyway: --That's Your business. It's my business to believe and love and serve You no matter what and not quit just because things get tough and it looks like You have deserted me, and when everything seems to go wrong!"

LIKE ISRAEL, GOD MAY BE JUST TESTING YOUR FAITH to see if you're going to believe and obey Him no matter what! But the minute they had a little test they quit believing and quit obeying, and so they died and never made it, just like so many so-called Christians, especially churchy people!

THESE SELF-RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE WHO TRY TO TELL GOD WHAT TO DO REMIND ME A LOT OF THE JEWS OF TODAY: They're always saying, "Well, if God is so good, then why does He let us suffer like this? Why didn't He save us? Why did He allow Hitler to kill us? Why are we still getting kicked around? If God would be better to us, then we'd serve Him! But He's mean to us, so we hate Him!" When the fact of the matter is, the minute He is a little better to them, then they go their own way and do as they please and forget all about Him!

THEY CAN'T BE TRUSTED FOR HIM TO BE BETTER TO THEM!--Maybe He'd even rather have them hate Him than forget Him!--At least then they remember He's still around and chastising them for their sins!

I REMEMBER WE HAD A GIRL AT OUR SCHOOL IN MIAMI WITH THE SAME PROBLEM--some kind of skin affliction--and she had two children and no husband on top of it! She was always saying, "Why? Why?--Why has God done this to me? Why does God let me suffer like this? I thought maybe when I came to your school and joined you, God would heal me, but I'm still suffering!--He still hasn't healed me!--How come?" When people start asking God why in that spirit it is pure self-righteousness because the Lord gave me a Scripture for her, the same one God gave Job: "Can a man be found righteous with God?"--Or compared to God?

PEOPLE WITH THAT SELF-RIGHTEOUS ATTITUDE ARE SAYING, "WELL GOD, IF I WERE YOU, I'D DO THINGS BETTER THAN YOU'RE DOING THEM!--I'd be more righteous!--I'd heal me!" Just like recent popular song: "If I were king!" It goes on to say that if I were king I wouldn't let all these bad things be going on in the world! In other words, "I'm more righteous than God! I'm better than God! I'm more good than God! God isn't good, or He wouldn't let all these things happen!"

BUT THAT'S JUST BECAUSE THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND GOD. They don't understand what He's doing or why He's doing it, and they'll never understand until they have faith to trust Him that He knows best!--It's just like a child has to trust a parent even though he doesn't understand why he must do this or that or not do it, or why he has to behave this way or that way. He just has to "Do it because Daddy says so!"

HE HAS TO BELIEVE AND OBEY whether he likes it or not, because Daddy knows best, and he'll probably find out Daddy was right in the long run! But if he doesn't believe and obey, he'll probably find out he was right anyway, but the hard way!--It's just that simple!--Can't you see it? Like a father, I love you but must tell you!

GOD TESTS OUR FAITH TO SEE IF IT'S REAL GOLD FAITH AND WE'LL STILL BELIEVE AND OBEY HIM NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS! He says that "The trying of your faith is more precious than gold!"--The testing of it!--"Yea," He says, "than much fine gold!" Gold will go through the fire and still come out pure gold, even purer gold, if it is real gold!

BUT YOU TRY PUTTING THAT PAPER MONEY FAITH THROUGH THE FIRE AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS! That so-called faith--so-called value, like paper money, is not worth a thing the minute it's put to the test!

THAT'S WHY THE WHOLE WORLD'S PAPER-THIN FINANCIAL SYSTEM IS COLLAPSING RIGHT NOW!--BECAUSE IT IS BASED ON PIG PAPER MONEY INSTEAD OF GOD'S GOOD GOLD! (See The Green Paper Pig.)--You just stick them both through the fire and see which one comes out the best! You'll find that real gold--no matter how hot the fire or how long the fire, how hot the test or how long it lasts--will still come out gold--even finer gold! "Yea, than much fine gold!" Because the fire burns all the dross and the impurities away!

BUT THAT PAPER PIG STUFF THAT CLAIMS TO BE VALUABLE ISN'T WORTH THE PAPER IT IS PRINTED ON When the real test comes, like now! The minute it feels the slightest flame it goes up in smoke and you've got nothing left but a few ashes just to remind you of something that wasn't there in the first place

!

THAT'S THE EXACT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REAL FAITH AND SUPPOSED FAITH: Real faith can stand the test and go through the fire and still come out better than ever before, like gold! But that something that looks like faith, like the paper-pig-money which only looks like it is valuable, the minute it goes through the fire, see what you've got left!

GOD DOESN'T JUDGE YOU BY HOW MUCH YOU GIVE.--HE JUDGES YOU BY HOW MUCH YOU'VE GOT LEFT!--And He doesn't even judge you by how much you claim to have, but by how much you have when He gets through with you!

IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION OF THE '30s the guys with great financial paper-pig empires who had all their values written on paper pigs and in paper-pig money and paper-pig bonds and paper-pig stocks and paper-piggy banks didn't survive! They dropped right on through the grate with the rest of the paper-piggy ashes on the paper-piggy ash--heap of a paper-pig system built on paper-piggy man by paper-piggy men instead of God and wound up on God's ash-heap for paper piggies!

BUT THE ITTY-BITTY FARMERS WITH NOTHING but an itty-bitty plot of land to grow their food on and some real itty-bitty pigs to keep their families alive on lived happily ever after! But the big paper-piggy financiers were jumping out of their sky-scraper windows because they'd lost everything they thought was valuable, every little paper-piggy they held dear, which weren't worth a damned thing when the real showdown came just like it is coming again now! It all went up in smoke with their paper piggy money, paper-piggy stocks and their paper piggy bonds!

PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN PAPER PIGGY HOUSES SHOULDN'T STRIKE INFLATIONARY MATCHES OR THEY'RE GOING TO FIND OUT THEY'VE JUST MADE A PAPER-PIGGY ASH OF THEMSELVES!--But people who live in God's Golden Gates of Faith can survive anything--even death! And can still say, like Job, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him!" And you'll enjoy God's really Golden Gates forever after in His really Golden City while the rest, who claimed they had faith, are still going up in the smoke of the flames of Hell because their faith was nothing but wood, hay and stubble and didn't stand the test of the fires of God's afflictions and trials of faith!

SO IF YOU'VE GOT REAL FAITH YOU'LL KEEP ON GOING FOR GOD EVEN IT KILLS YOU!--And it will kill you, because it means death to self and pride and all that damned self-righteousness as you die daily as people look at that ugly mug of yours and those ugly clothes and that ugly hole you live in and all that ugly food with such an ugly job as what they call a "paper-prophet peddler", and wonder how you can possibly stand it!

THE PROUD PAPER-PIGGY PEOPLE-EATERS THAT DEVOUR THE POOR WOULD RATHER DIE FIRST THAN SERVE GOD THAT WAY!--And they probably will die and rot in the Desert of Sin like the Jews did when they refused to believe and obey God, and like most of them are still doing, while you'll keep on going and live through it and survive eternally even if they kill you!--Because you refuse to doubt and you refuse to quit no matter what happens!

I'VE FELT LIKE QUITTING LOTS OF TIMES because I'm so stupid and I make so many blunders and I'm so wicked and have so many sins I don't see how you or even God can possibly love me or put up with me! But you do, because I keep on going! I refuse to quit because I believe God! Therefore I know I have to obey Him and I don't dare quit! Too many people believe in me and obey me, so I can't quit any more than God can!

WHAT IF GOD QUIT EVERY TIME YOU GAVE HIM A LOT OF TROUBLE?--Then we'd all be in a helluva mess! What if God quit every time you, His face, break out in a bunch of ugly spots and pimples and boils and acne and whatnot?--You're the only face He's got!--What if He quit just because you're ugly sometimes? You're the only face He's got and He's gotta keep going no matter how ugly you are or how bad His Body behaves sometimes, in spite of what His Head tells it to do!

HE'S GOTTA KEEP ON GOING EVEN IF YOU GET YOURSELF ALL TANGLED UP AND IN A HELLUVA MESS! He's gotta keep on trying to pull you through and teach every part of His Body coordination and how to function properly and operate smoothly and gracefully instead of all jerky and twisted and grotesque like the spastics we so often are! He's got to keep on teaching you how to walk even if you seem like a hopeless cripple--you, His Body!

HE'S GOTTA KEEP ON TRYING TO TEACH YOU HOW TO TALK EVEN IF YOU SEEM TO BE TONGUE-TIED! He's got to keep on yelling loud enough so you'll listen, even when you've got your fingers in your ears trying not to! He's gotta keep on trying to make you see the truth and read it even when you're so spiritually sleepy you'd rather shut your eyes and drift off into the Devil's dreamland!

HE'S GOTTA TRY TO MAKE ALL THE ORGANS FUNCTION PROPERLY EVEN WHEN YOU ABUSE THEM with the wrong food and contaminants!--And He's gotta try to make you bear fruit, the bare little spiritual babbling babies of the Children of God, and even a few sick and misshapen ones rather than none at all! When much of the time much of His Body or Bride, like the churches, is doing her best to keep from it by either taking the pill of spiritual genocide, or killing the babies with hatred before they're even born, or being so rebellious toward God He can't even make love to them!

THAT'S THE KIND OF A BODY GOD HAS TO PUT UP WITH! So why should you be griping about a few little afflictions?--Look at the mess God's Body's in! Only the love, grace and mercy of God can ever pull her through by faith and obedience to His Word, or she'd never make it! Even if she's diseased, cripples, disorganised, deaf, dumb, blind and ugly, she's still gotta keep going to take care of her Children!--And I'm sure if she does God will probably heal her so she can even do a better job of it!

"BUT IF NOT", SHE'S STILL GOTTA KEEP GOING and believing and obeying! Like the three Children of God who went into fiery furnace in Daniel 3: They said, "Our God is able to deliver us, but if He doesn't, we're still not going to bow down to your God-damned System idol!"--And it looked like the end, because into the furnace they went, and it even killed their executioners! But because of their faith and obedience, God was with them there, too, and they came out without even the smell of smoke on them!

LIKE JOB, WHOM THE LORD LET THE DEVIL NEARLY DESTROY by killing his family and his finances, and almost even killing him, but he still didn't say "Uncle" to the Devil, not even to his wife who told him to curse God and die! He just kept on believing and obeying, with boils from head to toe, sitting on a heap of ashes and wearily scraping away the puss and the scabs and the sores with a piece of broken pottery saying, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him!"--Can you?--I hope you don't have to get in such a mess as Job! But if you do, don't quit, whatever you do!

KEEP GOING FOR GOD! Keep believing and obeying no matter what happens! Maybe you'll come out without even the smell of smoke on you and with a bigger family and richer and healthier and happier and wiser than ever, like Job--if you will just hang on a little longer like he did and not give up!

LIKE THE FAMOUS CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES, wounded, half his men dead or dying and his ship sinking and on fire, when asked by the enemy if he was ready to surrender he screamed, "Hell, no!--We haven't even begun to fight yet!"--And he won--in the long run!

MAYBE YOU HAVEN'T EVEN BEGUN TO FIGHT THE OL' DEVIL YET! Maybe you haven't yet resisted unto blood like Jesus did, even unto the death of the cross! But even though it killed Him, only three days later He rose in triumph from the tomb! Even death itself couldn't hold Him down! Medical science is now talking about the "threshold of pain": How much pain does it take to kill you, and that some people's threshold is pretty low!--It doesn't take much to kill them and they die pretty easy!

OR WILL YOU TAKE GOD'S EASY WAY OUT: DEATH RATHER THAN DENIAL! Which will it be for you? You that deny Him He says He'll deny before the Father! But you that are not ashamed of Him nor His "words before this wicked and adulterous generation" He says He'll confess before God and all the Holy angels, even if it kills you to do it, like it did the martyrs, who live forever! Which will you be?--A doubter, disobeyer and denyer?--Or a believer, obeyer and broadcaster of the truth, even if it kills you!

IF YOU GO BACK, YOU'LL MAKE GOD SICK! But if you go on even if you're sick, you'll make God happy in the end, even if it means your earthly end!--The churches are always talking about "Sudden death, sudden glory!"--That's the way they wanna go!--No pain, no suffering, no dying daily!--But even if it means slow death, it'll bring you eternal glory!

WHICH ARE YOU?--A FIGHTER OR A DESERTER, a keeper-upper or a quitter? "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all!" But let me tell you, the way of the transgressor is hard, a helluva lot harder!--Hell on earth and Hell hereafter!

SO WHICH WILL IT BE FOR YOU?--ARE YOU GOING TO QUIT JUST BECAUSE OF A FEW LITTLE TRIALS AND PROBLEMS AND AFFLICTIONS, much less torture and crucifixion!--Or are you going to keep on going with God even if the Devil's allowed to kill you as a witness to your belief and obedience to God!

HOPE YOU'LL BE A MARTYR, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THE WORD MEANS: A WITNESS!--And what greater witness can you give than to both live and die for Jesus? God bless and keep you! But if He doesn't--"but if not!"--die for Him and He'll keep you forever!


Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family International


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James Arendt
James Arendt

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