It is almost unreasonable to deny that God has shown some evidence of His existence ( in the resurrection of Christ as prophesied before His time and witnessed afterwards) But, one reason why people don’t believe in God is because He doesn’t seem to answer or guide when there is a physical need (starving children, unemployment, victims of evil) nor does He seem to answer when prayed to (such as when family watch loved ones die of accidents or terminal sickness before their time) And while I used to be more nonchalant about these, this has been nagging at me lately too. I have read many encouraging testimonies of Christians who DO attest to God’s miracles or personal guidance (i.e. Avoiding plane crashes, meeting their significant others, healing) But all of these stories are anecdotal and written/edited/ sold after the fact. I also wonder about the millions of Christians who have NOT had miraculous stories like these and have read these “coincidences” happen to nonchristians too. In fact I ,myself, have been without an answer or confirmation as to what I should do when it comes to any major decision in my lifetime. If I wrote a book to encourage other Christians , I wouldn’t even be able to honestly say God told me which grocery store to go to. So my questions are: Does God guide all Christians in their daily lives ? If not, will we be punished or rewarded for what we choose or don’t choose? I’ve seen so much logical evidence for God but how can people like me believe there is a personal God if I can’t support what other Christians have written about ( miracles, answered prayers, divine providence)?
I wish I had a simple answer for you, but I do not. I am afraid that, no matter what, Christians will have to go back to Hebrews 11. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” “…anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” God is not a “cosmic bell-hop”—doing things for us at the snap of a finger (or even simply because we request sincerely for him to do some particular thing for us). All sincere and devoted Christians I know of who have been in the faith for many years have stories of amazing things that they are absolutely convinced God has done for them, either because they prayed for it, or simply because of God’s providence. Such things can support our faith, but they cannot be the principle basis for our faith.
We need to remember that Jesus told us that we should not put God to the test. We should not demand of God to answer certain prayers, or else…. God will reward those who earnestly seek him, but the form of reward he gives us may not be that which we ask him. By faith we believe that what he does for us is better for us than what we would ask him.
Does God guide us in our lives? The answer is yes, but we have free will and a general freedom in Christ. God does not drop notes out of the sky and he does not force our hands or our minds, so such guidance is surely subtle and is believed in by faith, not by proof. Will we be rewarded or punished for the choices we make? This is clearly a teaching of Christianity. Revelation 20:12 tells us that we will be rewarded or punished according to what we have done. This is both the blessing and the “curse” of free will, combined with the justice and love of God.
I agree that there is a massive range of evidence, both that God exists, and that the Bible is inspired by God. Such evidence can be a basis for living by faith in God, but it is essential that any believer remember that life in Christ is by faith and not by sight. So, I am afraid that your apparent desire to have some sort of “proof” through God answering a specific prayer is not a wise approach to your relationship with God. God will not tell you what grocery store to go to or what house to buy. For major decisions, you should rely on wisdom, biblical principles, the advice of wise spiritual counselors (although I am not sure you need all that much help on the grocery store decision). I am confident that God also intervenes in ways of which I may not be aware, but this kind of intervention is, like I said, not anything like a note dropping out of the sky, so we must rely on wisdom, experience, biblical principles and spiritual advisers in making decisions.