Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

“God Can’t - Part 2”

In Part one we talked about how God can’t abandon us. We may feel as if God has left us to wallow in our pain and suffering, but facts are different from feelings. We KNOW God’s character is to stick with us like glue! We can trust in the fact that He will never leave us, or forsake us.

It’s no secret that many bad things happen in the world. We all know what it’s like to experience struggles and hardships. But what is the first thing that many people do when bad things happen? Someone must be blamed, right? It’s not uncommon for us to ask, “Why God? Why did YOU allow this to happen?” A drunk driver kills a young child crossing the street. A tornado rips into a town destroying everything in it’s path. An expectant mother miscarries. A loved one is stricken with cancer. “God, why have you failed us?” Do we really think that God would cause someone to get drunk and drive just so they could end another’s life? When we make bad choices, it’s much easier to blame God than to take responsibility for our actions.


It’s impossible for God to fail regardless of how we feel. It’s time to make a transition once again from what we FEEL to be true, to what we KNOW to be true about God. We all experience feelings of disappointment because we have assumed it’s God who has let us down. But where do these feelings stem from?

Discontentment - We simply are not happy with who we are, what we have, and how we were created. Women with straight hair want curls and women with curls wish their hair to be straight. We wish we had a smaller nose, that we could sing like so-and-so, that we made more money, that we had a bigger house, or that we were 20 pounds lighter. The truth is, even if we had those things, there would always be something else we would change about ourselves. We continue to fall into the trap of wanting what everyone else has - believing the lie that all of this would lead to our complete happiness.

Most people are pretty familiar with Facebook these days. Recently, a pastor friend of mine posted his status as this, “Contentment is wanting what you already have.” If that wasn’t true enough, a wonderful young woman commented, “And the opposite of contentment is comparison.” I believe the main reason we are discontent with who we are is because we don’t see ourselves and our lives through the eyes of God. We continue to compare ourselves to other people who have bigger and better, or in case of our bodies, smaller and better. We feel as if God has failed us in some way because we are dissatisfied with ourselves.

Paul states in Philippians 4 verses 11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

We know that if anyone had reason to complain, to blame God, or to even believe that God had failed him, Paul certainly did. But I want to emphasize one word from this passage - the word “learned”. Being content is not something that comes easy to any of us. We must constantly strive to learn how to be content with who we are and with our circumstances - seeking God to instill in us the satisfaction and contentment He desires. We cannot do this on our own. We must call upon Him to remove any pride from our hearts when we are prosperous and to bless us with humility when we succeed. On the other hand, we must seek patience and hope in affliction, never wavering from His steadfast love and comfort in which He so richly gives. We must pursue Him to rid our hearts of jealousy and envy as we compare ourselves to others.

If we could only see ourselves through God’s eyes and NOT through the scope of the world! A dear friend of mine leads worship for Circle of Friends Ministries. One of her songs, entitled “Beautiful”, has just been released in Christian radio. “When I look at myself through Your eyes, I’m beautiful. When I feel Your hand holding mine, I am Yours. When You reach into my life, You take the wrong and make it right. You wrap my shame up in Your love for me. I’m beautiful, cause You’re beautiful, to me.” God doesn’t look at us as failures. He sees us as beautiful! And He doesn’t make mistakes! Psalm 139 says, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know full well. While I was still in my mother’s womb You began to knit me and form me.” From the beginning of our lives God had a precious plan mapped out for each of us! You are an original! There is no one like you!


Pain - Our pain, whether it be physical or emotional, can cause us to shake our fist at God and believe somehow He has failed us. We carefully wear our masks so that others will not see our pain. Everything looks good on the outside, but on the inside our hearts are being ripped to shreds. We portray ourselves as having it all together, when in reality we are falling apart. It may be easy to keep it from others, but we cannot hide from the One who created us. On the other hand, our pain may be on display for all to see - shaping what others think about us and how we are treated. Our struggles go on for what seems like an eternity and once again, someone must be blamed. “Why have you failed me God?”

What’s our gut reaction when we experience pain? As stated above, some put on their mask and pretend nothing is wrong. Others tend to run to a trusted friend or family member for help. Running to someone you trust is not always a bad thing in itself - we all need people we can talk to and receive advice from. Even though these people can give us a certain amount of comfort, they cannot provide us with the perfect comfort that comes from God. “All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us all in our troubles.” (2 Cor. 1:3) Instead of accusing God of failing us, let’s run to Him - the One who comforts us in all of our troubles.

Often, we don’t have a right perspective of our pain. Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Our pain is nothing in comparison to the honor of Heaven that will be disclosed to us on the day Christ returns. Our pain is temporary - it will not last in light of an eternity free from suffering and affliction. Our pain is very real and can be intense at times, but when we truly understand that it’s temporary, we can rejoice in the hope that God has promised to those who believe and trust in Him!


A Fallen World - Our world is pretty messed up, wouldn’t you agree? Famine, wars, natural disasters, people taking matters, and weapons, into their own hands - with all the bad things happening in our world today, it would be easy to think that God picked up and left town. We look around and all we see is evil staring back at us. Why isn’t God intervening? When we cannot see God’s hand, we immediately assume He has somehow failed us. But isn’t it man who has failed God? How quickly we forget our ancestors and their disobedience to God. “In the beginning”, God created all things, including man and woman. They had everything they could ever desire, but that was still not enough. Hence, Eve turns against God and takes a bite out of the forbidden apple.

Let’s go back to Romans chapter 8 and pick up at verse 19. “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

All of creation waits eagerly in expectation for the time when the children of God come into glory. The fall of man has brought about the deformity and depravity of our souls, causing us to be instruments of sin. Sin is the guilty party to all of our sufferings and pain. It is sin that has brought affliction to man and has fanned the flames of hell. But we do not endure our miseries without hope! The world will not continue as it is for eternity. Believers require patience, as our journey seems long and hard and the Lord seems to take His time. For the aspect of time to God is not what we know it to be. “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day (Christ’s return) approaching.” Don’t give up! I have read the end of the precious book called the bible, and I happen to know that God wins! Because God wins - we win!


So now we have a better understanding of why we FEEL as if God has failed us. Our discontentment, our pain, and our fallen world (sin) all contribute to those feelings. But where do we go from here? I would encourage you to simply accept that you don’t have all the answers and lean upon who you KNOW God to be. Trust in His wisdom and not your own. His plans and purposes are far greater than we can ever dream or imagine. Proverbs 21:30 tells us of human plans, no matter how wise we think they are, they cannot stand against the plans of the Lord. We also learn from Jeremiah 29:11 that God knows the plans He has for us. They are plans that were never meant to harm us, but to give us hope and a future!

Next, we cannot trust God’s wisdom until we truly BELIEVE it! Read the Word of God and know His promises. Get to know the very nature of God - His character, so when you begin to FEEL as if God has failed you, you can return to those promises and KNOW that HE CANNOT FAIL YOU! But in order to claim any promise, we must first know what it says and believe on it. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 1:20-22)

Lastly, entrust God with our circumstance. No matter how big we feel our problem or pain is, it’s not too big for God to handle. It doesn’t even catch Him by surprise. He is all-knowing and all-powerful, and He longs for us to turn our futures over to Him. Giving our lives and our unknowns to Him becomes a much easier process when we have followed the first two steps - submitting to His wisdom and believing His promises. Jeremiah 32:17 tells us, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”

“Our faith may fail, his never wanes- That's who he is, he cannot change!”
2 Timothy 2:13 (ISV)


1 comment:

  1. I was wondering what part 2 would be. Excellent! This world is so fallen and broken, yet we have a mighty and awesome God on our side!!