*** 2011 by Jeffrey Schrembs All Rights Reserved – Summary of a Biblical Tale that is relevant today concerning our questioning…”why”? ***
A man questioned God over and over as to WHY God did or didn’t do things and what was the REASON(s)?. Each day and night, in spite of his wisdom and considerable wealth, his questions to God went unanswered. Each prayer was the same “WHY God do you do this” or WHY God did you allow this?”.
One night an Angel appeared before the mans’ bedside and the man rubbed his eyes and realized that it was not a dream but an actual Angel. The man started to talk but the Angel did but waive his hand and his mouth was sealed. The Angel said to him “you have questioned God for the last time so I am here to silence your questions”. The man started to pray thinking he had taken his last breath but instead the Angel said “I but ask you this one question are you prepared to know the answer to your questions though you are insignificant in all others ways but you are…a creature made by God”. The man trembled and thought about it and was able to muster the strength to say “yes”.
The Angel said that they will be going to three places and will rely on the kindness of man and told the man he was not to bring anything with him other than the cloth covering himself. The man could not ask any questions to anyone they came across and if he broke his word he would pay the ultimate price. Then the Angel said that the Angel would have to mask his true identity so as to look like an impoverished man of age caring simply a large staff as to support his ailing bones. The Angel asked him if he agreed and the man said…”yes”.
After walking for more than a day and a half they came upon a great wall. Contained within the great wall was a mansion with slaves working in fields, working on the wall, and the land blessed with fresh water and fruit trees. Cattle, sheep, and fresh food were stockpiled and yet when meeting the “owner” of the property they were not welcomed – not afforded any hot meal – and their motives questioned. The man was consumed with yelling out order after order for the slaves to be beaten for not fixing a weakness in the wall where the stones fell as the ground was not strong enough to support the massive wall.
As night fell, and all were asleep, the “owner” allowed the two men to sleep in a makeshift part of a storage barn and provided with hay, some water, and dinner scraps along with being told to leave at sunrise. As the man was starting to fall asleep the Angel nudged him with his staff and they were transported to the gilded room in which the “owner” was demanding that God fix the wall. The Angel and the man were invisible to the “owner” yet they could hear and see everything and yet could not be seen by man. Without hesitation the Angel said, where the “owner” could not hear it but the man could, “so be it”.
As the Angel and the man were leaving at sunrise they passed through the gates and saw the “owner” pleased that his wall was fixed, and secure, and he celebrated by having the slaves beaten for taking so long.
Two days later the the Angel and the man came upon lands that were devoid of water, of good ground, and was isolated except for an old man and an old woman who had come out smiling to greet them. As they entered the old couples one room broken down home the couple apologized for having no food to offer them but for some old bread and milk from their only cow. As the man reached out for the bread and the milk the Angel (masked as an elder man) simply said…”no”. This was an insult to the old man and the woman and they knew not why their offer was so rudely rejected and they were hurt down to their very soul. The old man and the woman offered to give up their mattress and they would sleep outdoors for their custom was to offer strangers what they had. The Angel said…”no”.
As the man tossed and turned, and wanted to question the Angel lying but a foot away, he remembered his promises yet he was angry at the Angel. The Angel knew this and raised his staff and they were transported inside the home, invisible to the old man and woman, whereby the old man was comforting his wife who was crying. As they knelt together in prayer, for thanks to God for all the blessings they had, they prayed for God to simply let the land provide them with enough food to eat and for enough fresh milk to drink to sustain them. To the mans shock the Angel raised his staff and said “let the cow be no more”. At that exact moment the old man and woman, who remained praying, were horrified to hear the sound of their only livestock crying in pain as it died. The next morning the Angel and the man left at sunrise leaving behind the old man and the old woman who were struggling to break open the hardened earth to bury the remains of their dead cow.
The man traveling with the Angel was outraged and started to swear to himself to never forgive the Angel for what he had done at which point the Angel raised his staff and they were transported back to the lands in which the man lived. Except, instead of being at the mans home, which also contained many acres of rich land, they were within the walls of the city outside of a room in which the rich and powerful men met to eat, drink, and attempt to pass laws to enrich themselves and others…none of which actually passed because they argued too much – drank too much – to ever have a majority agree (as was needed to pass new laws or modify existing laws).
The Angel and the man listened, but were not seen by man for they were invisible to mankind, for hours watching the rich and powerful men feast on the finest wines, the best meats, the freshest ruts, and fill their bellies offering laws and by laws one after another. With each overfilled cup of wine the laws and by-laws offered did not pass for their was not a majority in agreement. Finally, one of the elders started to murmur to himself ever so silently so as not to be heard. The Angel raised his staff and suddenly the man who was invisible to others hear the words coming from the mans lips and it was a prayer and the prayer was “dear God grant each of us continued membership in this council throughout the days of our lives”. Without hesitation the Angel raised his staff and said, so as only the man beside him heard, “so be it”.
Suddenly the man was transported back to his own land, into his own home, and into his own bed exactly where he was when the Angel first visited him. The Angel turned himself back into being an Angel and said to the man “now that you have seen so now I will listen…so speak”.
The man was beyond shocked – beyond outraged – beyond mad…he was incensed and in his anger forgot that he had prayed the prayer, year after year, that had brought the Angel before him. The man said “WHY would you or God ever help the rich man who cared not for his fellow man yet prayed for a wall to be fixed and then beat his servants after you granted his prayer”? Without taking offense the Angel said “underneath that very spot, where the wall was weakened, was a vein of gold larger than any ever discovered hold riches far greater than any man could ever spend in a lifetime of lifetimes and now it is sealed forever from this man AND and the violence that took out on his slaves resonated within his elder sons soul who vowed to never repeat his Fathers brutal acts”.
Upon hearing this explanation the man knew it was true and yet when recalling the elder man and woman who had been so kind said to the Angel “Why would you or God ever deny these people milk from their only cow and kill it in spite of their prayers?”. Without taking offense the Angel said “unbeknownst to the couple the cow was diseased and the milk poisoned and had they have taken one sip the woman would have died and the baby she is carrying thou she knows not yet that she is with child would surely die and that upon the birth of their son they will be blessed with good health, good weather, good soil, and they will live in happiness to see their sons children prosper”. Upon hearing this the man knew it to be true and he wept upon learning that this couple would be blessed as such.
Wiping away the tears the man humbled himself and asked the Angel “Why would God or you grant the prayer of a power hungry drunkard who wastes his life trying to enrich himself and cares not for his fellow man”? Without taking offense the Angel said “as long as this council remains intact it will be ineffective and yet the people will soon learn of the gluttony and waste of this council and soon will stand together and elect a man of great honor who will preside with full powers leaving the council intact but powerless and the elected man will govern the people fairly and ensure that each man is given justice and their will be prosperity and thankfulness to God by the masses for decades to come”.
Upon hearing this the man fell to his knees and said to the Angel “I knew not why God did these things for I was blind”. The Angel then forcefully waved his hand and the man was brought up from his knees and stood directly “eye to eye” to the Angel and the Angel said to him, in a powerful voice unlike any the man had ever heard, “do not begin to think you know the manner in which God conducts himself but know that God loved you enough to create you from the ashes of his Earth and to let you see but a fraction – being only the three examples you witnesses these past days – of but three grains of sand in an endless sea”.
The man became scared and started to tremble and the Angel lowered his voice and raised his staff and said “I leave you with these words that God cares for each hair on your head and sent me to answer your prayers as best man can understand for it is not mans inheritance to know Gods reasoning but to only know Gods love through Gods requirement of faith and adherence to Gods laws”. Lastly, the Angel said to the man who was thankful for the Holy Spirit and wept openly not of fear but of love to God; “Question no more yet know that Angels walk among you unseen by mans eye but that God knows mans heart, soul, and intent and hears all prayers. Though what you have seen and learned you believe now to be a blessing but in fact it be a burden that you will carry all the days of your life. Glory be to God”. Then the Angel disappeared.
Never again did the man question God again and soon learned exactly what the Angel had meant when he said “though what you have seen and learned you believe now to be a blessing but in fact it will be a burden that you will carry all the days of your life”. For the man witnessed people of wealth complaining and not being thankful to God. He witnessed blessing after blessing going unacknowledged by those who received it. He saw and heard complaints by the people of cattle dying without notice. He heard his own children complain all the while having more than they could ever want. He listened to the SILENCE of the masses not praying to God – not thanking God – and not adhering to Gods laws. He lived each day thereafter not questioning God but of his fellow man and their inability to acknowledge God – their inability to adhere to Gods’ laws – their inability to see the beauty in all things – their inability to help their fellow man without hesitation but with grace – all of these things he summed up in just one word and that word was…WHY?
The “lesson” I have taken from this story is that one can spend a LIFETIME questioning…WHY? But, time would be better served accepting what has happened – learning from ones mistakes – having unrelenting faith in God – and counting ones blessings regardless of how megar or how rich they are.
Take care and God bless.