Last week my mother-in-law, Sandra, died. She was a sweet person, loved by everyone, and will be hugely missed. Since my own mother died when I was young, Sandra was there for me every step of my wedding. Not only did she play the role of mother of the groom but also mother of the bride. It hit me this week that she had actually been in my life longer than my own mom. Sandra was classy, extremely kind, and very beautiful. It’s times like these that one can easily blame God. Life hands you a big lemon – something you don’t think you deserve and you get mad. So often lately I keep hearing the words “I’m so mad at God.” While that’s OK – He is a big God and can take your frustration, I think it’s time to analyze why exactly you are mad. Are you mad because you didn’t get your way? Because something bad happened? Because you didn’t get something you wanted?
First off, let me remind you God is not Santa Claus. He’s not sitting up in heaven waiting on you to hand him a list of your “wants.” That’s simply not the way it works. He knows what you need and He will provide, many times giving us so much more than we need. Yes, He does want to know your heart’s desire but He’s not guaranteeing you get it all.
Secondly, He’s not your fairy godmother. He’s not going to wave a magic wand and make all those bad things go away. Your wish is not His command.
I’ve recently been reading a lot of Paul’s travels. Consider this passage from 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.
“Are they servants to the Anointed One, the Liberating King? I am even more so! (I can’t believe how foolish I sound.) I have worked harder for God’s kingdom, taken more beatings, been dragged in and out of prisons, and have been eye-to-eye with death. Five times I have withstood thirty-nine lashes from Jewish authorities, three times I was battered with rods, once I was almost stoned to death, three times I was shipwrecked, and I spent one day and night adrift on the sea. I have been on many journeys and faced the most extreme circumstances: perilous rivers, violent thieves, and threats by my own people and by the Gentile outsiders alike. I have faced dangers in the city, in the wilderness, and at sea; and danger from spies among our brothers and sisters. I have survived toil and hardships, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst without a crumb in sight, bare to the cold. As if these external trials weren’t enough, there is the daily stress I feel and anxiety I carry for all the churches under my care.”
Did you catch the part about him being whipped 5 times (39 lashes each), oh and 3 times with rods, stoning, shipwrecked? How can we possibly whine about our lives once you see what Paul endured? In Acts 22 he says “We must go through many persecutions as we enter the kingdom of God.”
When a relationship goes belly up or someone you love dies, it’s automatic to blame God. My biggest question when someone reacts that way is “What does He owe you?” He gave you life. He put you in this amazing, creative, wonderful world to live. He gave you talents and dreams and ambitions. Most of all He gave you Jesus. He sacrificed HIS son so you can go to heaven. You don’t deserve it, you didn’t earn it – He gave it. Then you have the audacity to get mad when your world is not perfect? Really? Are you really mad at God or are you using it as an excuse to not do your part? When you let your prayer time lag, your Bible study become non-existent, and your church attendance falter, it’s an excuse. When the bad things happen, that’s when we need Him most.
He never promised our life would be easy or perfect. However, He promised to be there with us til the end. 2 Corinthians 1:5 states: “For even as His suffering continues to flood over us, through the Anointed we experience the wealth of His comfort just the same.” The wealth of His Comfort. Oh how wonderful to have this kind of wealth.
Through the trials of my life, it’s been the comfort and hope from God that sustained me. It’s knowing that there’s a heaven to look forward to that got me through. Without God, I would be nothing. Anything that I lose in this world is fleeting compared to the eternity I have waiting for me.
“Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4