A Voice in the

site navigation

free newsletter

" Returned: User Unknown "
-- or --
" Why Doesn't God Answer Me? "

This computer age we live in is so full of object lessons we can apply to the Spiritual realm for understanding.

This morning a couple of notes were "Returned: User-Unknown." These, notes to a person who had recently written, crying out for help, complaining that nobody else they had written to, had answered them.And based on article/s in VW, they thought perhaps I might likely respond.

Well, I did respond. But my response could not reach them. I replied to the address their software placed in the file. When they were returned, I remembered that in subscribing, they had also "typed" their address, which differed from what their software entered. Not a BIG difference. Only an underscore character "_". But, that one little teensy weensy tiny difference was enough to make the messages not go through.

By the way...this happens a lot. Often I do sit here scratching my head, trying to figure out "which" address might be correct. Or, in going through the mish-mash, due to innaccurate entries in the sender's software, figuring out "which parts" to use to make it into a valid e-mail address. Most times I'm successful, sometimes after a couple "Returns," having tried first "this" combination, and then "that."

Now, the amazing thing is, often when I get the correct one figured out, I will send a friendly note to the person, suggesting they correct it in their software, and "what" to correct it to. They thank me graciously. And then, some time down the road, they may write again, and I see the same "userid@userid@ISP@USERID@ISP" or ??? combination. (Yes, some are actually "that" jumbled up.) They didn't fix it at all! But, I digress...

The thing that caught my attention this morning. The person was crying out on two fronts, but not receiving answers: but both, possibly, requiring the same kind of "fix"

On the one hand, crying out to who-knows-how-many people on the internet, and not receiving a response. (I'm sure, in many cases, were the e-mail address correct, many do not bother responding to people in need. They are wolves in sheeps clothing, and don't care that someone is dying.) But, with an incorrect return address, how could those who "desire to" respond...get a response back? They cannot.

And then, crying out to God, and not getting a response. Do we know of anything that keeps God from being able to respond? Sin. He says, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He [WILL NOT] hear."(Isa59:1-2)

Why do people allow sin in their lives, which puts a separation between them and God? "They" (we) should know better, eh! Well...why do people leave the incorrect "Return Address" information in their software, when they know it needs to be corrected?

Does any of this matter? Well, in the case of e-mail, simply clicking on "Reply" won't get a return message to the originator when the information is incorrect.

But in the spiritual realm? Don't "all paths" lead to God? Isn't it OK if you believe what you want, and let me believe what I want? After all, God's love and grace will make up the allowances for our ignorance. After all, isn't "unity" the main thing. Forget all that stuff about "doctrine" and "absolutes." A "_" in the wrong place keeps the e-mail from going through. Just one teensy tiny character. Why should God be any different? He isn't.

Jesus said, "I am [THE] way...no one comes to the Father except through Me."(Jn14:6) And for those who come with the wrong "data" Jesus will say, "Returned: User Unknown"..."I never knew you, depart from me" (Mt7:23)

However, God has made it easy. We don't need to to a programmer nerd, understand the "Options" or "Configs" in our software, the in's and out's of Windows 95, nor be an expert typist. Because "when we were without [ability] Christ died for us."(Rom5:6)

What is the "data" we need?

1) All we need to understand is our SIN...

2) Then, God's provision: Christ's death and resurrection to cover that sin.

3) And finally, our response: faith in Christ, and repentance towards God. (Rom3:10,23,Lk24:47,1Cor15:1-4,Acts20:21)

When we repent, God sees our humbled heart, and then He "sees from heaven...and forgives the sin."(2Chr7:14) And there is restoration.


Return to: Tidbits