It’s been one of those weeks where life is just not turning
out to be what I had hoped it would be. Curve balls were thrown, disappointment
moved in like an annoying houseguest who just won’t leave and expectations were unmet.
Ugh, ugh and more ugh!
Does any of that change who God is?
I believe the answer is no but I have to be honest and admit
that it’s pretty tough not to think that when things just don’t go like I want.
I know God isn’t exactly a genie in a bottle that grants my every wish and
fulfills my every desire. But the world I live in tells me that if I work hard
and do well, then I’ll be rewarded for that and good things will happen to me. This
doesn’t surprise me since I also believe the ways of the Lord are opposite than
the world I live in. The way God thinks is different than I think (Thank Him!).
Knowing this doesn’t exactly alleviate the disappointment.
It makes it understandable, but not disappear.
I know I come from a long line of Christian family members
who have also been thrown off by the course God set before them.
Take the Israelites wandering around in a dry desert for 40
years for example. I don’t think that was their idea of freedom. And the food? Oh,
forget about it! Talk about disappointment!
Or what about David who was told he’d be King and rule the
land, yet ended up running for his life and cave hopping to escape Saul’s
Elijah had an all out show down with the false god Baal and
Baal’s followers on a mountain called Carmel and saw victory over Baal by the
mighty hand of God up close and personal. And yet, after all that he witnessed
God do on Carmel, he runs away from a woman named Jezebel who threatened him. I
doubt he expected that after the Baal butt whipping he experienced.
Hannah was faithful to the Lord despite not being able to
have children. God heard her cries for a baby and answered. She finally got her
baby and then gave him up to live in the temple to learn to serve God all his
life. That could not have been easy to do.
And then there’s Mary, the mother of Jesus. There’s no need
for a lot of explanation here. Her life turned out 180 degree different than
I’m sure she ever imagined for herself as a young girl.Talk about things not going your way! Yikes!
J.I. Packer once said, “God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other
afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens
dependence on Christ for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we
lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our
bodies waste away. To live with your ‘thorn’ uncomplainingly — that is, sweet,
patient, and free in heart to love and help others, even though every day you
feel weak — is true sanctification. It is true healing for the spirit. It is a
supreme victory of grace.”
The issues I faced this past week are relatively small
compared to larger issues the world faces today and yet, on the small scale of
my life, I am experiencing pain, loss, disappointment and all the emotions that
come with unmet expectations for my life. My heart is sick and in pain and
because of that pain felt, I’m finding myself seeker my God on a deeper, more
I feel sad. I feel weak. My brokenness is on the surface.
Jim Cymbala said "God is
attracted to weakness. He can't resist those who humbly and honestly admit how
desperately they need him."
allows us to be broken so that he can patch us back together again. This is
what smarty pants theologians like Packer mean by sanctification. Paul wrote to
the Colossians that “we should put on a new self which is being renewed in
knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Packer and Paul, or P&P, agree that
God desires to give us a new self, which can only be found in him. God has
greater things designed for us than we can ever imagine.