Ain’t How It Works

There’s something some Christian people do that I can’t stand.  They say, or post on social media, statements like: “I had a car accident today but wasn’t hurt.  God is so good!”  or “So-and-so was healed!  God is SO GOOD!”  I hate this because to say God is good because you get what you want is to say God earns His merit upon His ability to please you.  Ummm… that ain’t how it works.

This brings me to a lesson I’m learning:  Some tragedies in life make it seem that God is not at all good.  However, if our circumstances could change God’s nature, then in essence there would be no God.  If I believe in God, and I do, and if I believe He is good, and I do (see rising sun tomorrow morning if you doubt this.  If still in doubt, read something by C.S. Lewis) then my circumstances CANNOT change Him whatsoever.  He IS unchanging.  So He can’t be good when things are good and not good when things are bad.  I need a God who’s bigger than my circumstances, or else I don’t need a God.

When I was eighteen years old, I married the person I thought God wanted me to marry, and headed off to put my husband through Bible college.  With all my being I wanted to please God, and sincerely thought I was doing so.  I spent the next thirteen years enduring infidelity after infidelity in one form or another.  I’ll spare you the gory details, but you get the point.  Why would God allow that to happen?  Why did He let me go through all that humiliation? I gotta tell ya’ I’m not quite sure.  I have a few guesses, and of course, there’s plenty I’ve learned along the way.  But WHY?  I really can’t say. I CAN say that my faith still stands.  It has transformed… mutated perhaps, but it stands.

Still, I often find myself asking God for something. “Bring my children home safe” for example, and then thinking to myself, “He might not.  Probably won’t.  He doesn’t owe you that.  Plus, look at what He let you go through already.  No guarantees, honey.”

Some people think I’ve changed, or so I hear.  The way I practice my faith is certainly different than it was when I thought being a minister’s wife WAS what God wanted for me.  BUT, I’ve reached a different place with God.  For so long, I thought the same goofy things I complained of above.  I praised God for being SO good when things would go my way.  I never said He was bad when I didn’t get my way, a good Christian would never say that out loud.  But I wondered inside, how could I still trust Him when He might let it all fall down at any moment?  It’s at that heartbreakingly honest place, my friends, that something dawns on me like the meaning of Christmas dawns on the Grinch…

 HE defines my circumstances, my circumstances cannot define Him.  There is MORE to the faith and MORE to God than just what is going on in my life at any given time. It’s out here on the outside of accepted thinking, out here with the doubting thoughts that no one wants to admit, out here with the questions that have no good answers that I stand and yet here He is, and SO much bigger than I thought He was.  God is with me still, I know it in the depths of my soul. God is the ONLY thing still there when everything else falls apart.  Nope, I don’t know what His reasons are.  Don’t even know if it was He who allowed my saddest circumstances.  But I know He’s bigger than my circumstances.  I know He’s the only One who can hang with me ALL the way, no matter how crazy or whiny or messed up I get.

Bottom line is… if God must answer to me, then actually, I’m god.  And like I said… that ain’t how it works.

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