I usually write here based on my own experiences, but occasionally I’m inspired by outside events or even a personal issue of a friend. The latter is the case today, but it’s rather universal and, most likely, has applied to all of us at one time or another.
See, we all get frustrated with God. Angry, too. That’s okay, but hang on – I’m getting to that. Let’s stop for a second and remember one thing: God and sin are separate. In fact, it’s our sin that separates us from God. God doesn’t “allow” bad things to happen, bad things happen because sin entered the world.
Most of you, Christian or otherwise, have heard the story of Adam and Eve. Everything was perfect in the Garden of Eden. Until sin came. Eve ignored God, tempted Adam, and here we are. Nothing is perfect. Not even close. We’ve been paying for sin ever since.
Yeah, sometimes sin is “fun” – but we all have that still, small voice telling us it’s not really. Let’s say you go out and party hard all night; you might do some stupid things, you’ll probably feel physically awful the next morning. Penance.
This doesn’t mean all fun is sin, as some would have us believe; it means that there is fun, and there is sin – two separate things. But now I’m getting off-track. Let’s get back to the frustration and anger with God.
“Please, God,” we beg, “Let such-and-such happen!” And nothing does. “But I asked! I prayed! I believe!” Okay. But we are all subject to GOD’s plans, not our own. We may want something really, really badly, and ask God over and over, but it doesn’t mean squat. It will happen if HE wants it, on HIS time.
“But I’m being good! I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do and I’m trying really hard!” Sure. That’s great. But we’re SUPPOSED to be “good”, we’re supposed to do this out of love for God. Being good, doing what is required, and trying hard aren’t bad things, certainly; but they aren’t necessary either, because God loves us no matter what. We do these things out of love for Him. Yes, I repeated that – on purpose.
Let’s take a look so far: we’ve mentioned “fun”, we’ve begged, we’ve been good. Still, what we’ve asked of God has not come to pass. We become frustrated and/or angry. We might even yell at God, or stomp our feet, or pout, or refuse to acknowledge him. We might even try ignoring him, throwing in an unconscious (perhaps) snub, kind of a “Phht on YOU, God, the heck with YOU and all You stand for! I’ll show You!”
Who does that sound like? Your kids, maybe? Nieces, nephews, neighbor kids? Kids, though, right? Yup. There’s a reason we’re called “children of God”. Bingo. You win the prize.
“But I want it!” “It’s not fair!” “Please, please, please?”
And we, as parents and adults, can say “no” to our kids; or we can say “not now” or “not yet”; or we can say “yes”. We say “yes” when it’s something that is good for our kids – maybe something like ice cream before dinner: it’s not ideal, but makes them happy. In moderation, it’s fine; all the time, no matter how much they yell and scream, it’s just not good for them.
Get it? God does what is best for us, just as we do so for our own children. Just because they want something, doesn’t make it right or good for them. Just because we want something, even if – maybe especially if – WE think it’s good, doesn’t mean that God will give it to us. HIS plans, remember?
Take a look at some examples: a single person prays for a spouse; a cancer patient prays for healing; a parent prays for a child to understand and behave. There are many, many scenarios where individuals pray for something and appear to receive no clear answer, or even direction.
And, while we can’t know God’s plans, rest assured that He does – look at the big picture, and it may give you a glimmer of hope. Perhaps, in the examples above and in others, God is waiting for you to become accepting of your current situation; perhaps there is another lesson, as yet unknown to you. Maybe the situation you’re in now is preventing you from being in a worse position, in any number of ways. Trust in God, He’s got your back, even if you don’t think He does.
Repeat: “even if YOU don’t THINK that He does”. This is important. Because it’s not about what we think or even feel – whether we “feel” forgiven, “feel” like we’re being heard, or “feel” faith – it’s about God, and His plans, and His love for us, no matter what.
If you tell your kids “no”, does that mean you don’t love them? Of course not. You’re likely telling them “no” for their own good – just like God tells us sometimes. At the same time, if your kids say “I hate you!”, do you turn your back on them, never to speak to them again? Nope. You keep loving them, keep trying to get through to them, and are there for them. No matter what.