Paul Hiebert, a missionary to India, once prayed for a sick child who died a week later. In recalling the story, he reminds us of the major difference between approaching God as a personal being Whom we trust or a powerful means which we utilize.
In religion, we want the will of God for we trust in his omniscience. In magic we seek our own wills, confident that we know what is best for ourselves.
The line dividing them is a subtle one as I learned in the case of Muchintala. A week after our prayer meeting (for the sick child), Yellayya returned to say that the child had died. I felt thoroughly defeated. Who was I to be a missionary if I could not pray for healing and receive a positive answer? A few weeks later Yellayya returned with a sense of triumph. “How can you be so happy after the child died?” I asked.
“The village would have acknowledged the power of our God had he healed the child,” Yellayya said, “but they knew in the end she would have to die. When they saw in the funeral our hope of resurrection and reunion in heaven, they saw an even greater victory, over death itself, and they have begun to ask about the Christian way.”
In a new way I began to realize that true answers to prayer are those that bring the greatest glory to God, not those that satisfy my immediate desires. It is all too easy to make Christianity a new magic in which we as gods can make God do our bidding. (Taken from The Excluded Middle).
Don’t treat Jesus like your new magic. Trust Him as your loving Savior and righteous Lord.