Feb 21, 2013

I think some people got the wrong idea...

After my last post went up, I received a lot of private messages and comments from people in my life. Comments that I definitely appreciate. It's nice to know that many people care.

But I also think a lot of people got the wrong idea from the post. Many of the messages I received were telling me not to give up, trying to tell me that things will get better and I have to trust God.

As much as I appreciate the encouragement, the post wasn't about me giving up, or even about me losing faith and not feeling like life will work out. In fact, for the most part, the ending of it was supposed to be a fairly positive one.

The post wasn't really about struggles -- it was about the realization of a large change in my faith, in my beliefs and in what I believe about God and how He intends to take care of us.

I have no doubt in my mind that God will be with me through every struggle. I've never believed the old saying that God doesn't let us face more than we can handle. I call BS on that one, because if God never let us face more than WE could handle, we would have no need for Him. Everything that He let Satan throw at Job was far more than Job could handle on his own. But Job's strength didn't come from himself, it came from his faith and trust that no matter what, God was in control, and God would bring him through.

It wasn't easy though. Job became angry with God frequently throughout the trial. He cursed the day that he was born. He was tormented, and there were moments where he was without hope. All the while, not just other followers, but friends, condemned Job, told him that the afflictions he was facing were caused by sins he must have committed or a lack of true faith.

And yes, God restored Job's life, made him wealthy again and helped him get his full life back together. But Job was an extreme case. His afflictions weren't just life. They were caused by a test of his strength and faith in a short period of time. The fact that God blessed him immensely at the end of that trial can't be used to measure our own circumstances. To say that everything we face is an attack or a trial on our faith is giving too much credit to Satan.

The truth is life can suck. It can be really hard. It is really hard. There are things I am facing now that will never cease in my life. They will be there for the rest of my life, unless God sees fit at some point to remove them.

I don't trust that God will though. I don't believe that God is going to work to make my life 'okay' because there is no need for it. In order for me to survive, my life doesn't need to be okay. In order for my needs to be met, for my life to move forward, it doesn't need to be okay.

And that's what my last post was about. The realization that I have stopped believing that God intends to bless us continually and bring our lives to what we consider to be okay and bearable.

Am I discouraged, frustrated and stressed right now? Hell yes. Am I without hope? Sometimes, yes. Am I frustrated with why I have to face a lot of this? Definitely. But that doesn't mean that I'm losing my faith entirely.

The problem comes from the fact that this is new to me. I haven't spoken to God in months because I haven't known what to say. I don't know what to make of this change in faith. I don't know what to make of this change in my beliefs. And while I'm getting closer to being able to talk to Him again, at this point, I still don't know what to say because I don't know how it changes me.

But I can assure you, I am not entirely without hope and I am not giving up. There is a reason I have Jeremiah 29:11 tattooed on my arm. I fully know that God will never abandon me, and He will never leave me to face total destruction.

I'm just learning that this concept of "plans to prosper you... plans to give you a hope and a future' have been taken the wrong way by a good chunk of us.

The fruits of our own lives, the blessings we receive and how well our lives flow are not the results of having stronger faith than others or being better Christians. I'm not less because I have less. I'm not faithless because I haven't been healed, and I'm certainly not giving too little or tithing too unhappily because I'm not being blessed financially.

As I said at the end of my last post, this poses a struggle for me because it simply means learning to accept that. Learning to rid myself of this idea of entitlement through faith and accepting life for what it is. Learning that God isn't always to make everything better, because again, if He fixed everything for us, truth is, we'd really take Him for granted.

4 comments:

  1. "I have no doubt in my mind that God will be with me through every struggle. I've never believed the old saying that God doesn't let us face more than we can handle. I call BS on that one, because if God never let us face more than WE could handle, we would have no need for Him."
    brilliant point. life isn't about what we can do or what we can face, but what we can do with His strength to drag us through it :)
    for Christians, life is not a promise of happiness, or easy sailing. we all go through whatever trials the enemy (or our friends and neighbours, for that matter) throws at us. some of us are hit harder than others, and some of us are lucky enough to deal with mental illness, terminal diseases, and a huge cornucopia of fun stuff that likes to knock our feet out from beneath us. but as you said, He will never leave us or forsake us; He is made beautiful in our brokenness...
    i guess what i'm trying to say is, we are all plugging away at this life. we all have our struggles and pain. realising that tithing more, praying harder, or trying to be 'better' isn't the answer is a huge part of maturing in your faith. so bravo. i know it's hard and you feel like your footing is shaken, as a good friend of mine said,
    "1) though the structure of my faith may have crumbled, the foundation, Jesus Christ, was where I landed; 2) there is nowhere else to turn; and 3) sometimes looking back at how He saw me through in the past was all that kept me going."
    He is always with you. He loves you, and He is so proud of the journey you're on :)

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  2. You know where I stand on this. Some of the differences may be more nitpicky about phrasing and nuance, but for the most part you're beginning to walk lockstep with me.

    And I have to admit, that's kinda scary.

    Maybe it's just because I haven't had someone do that before. I'm used to being the one fought with. You've heard me throw around phrases like 'entitlement' and whatnot. I really think the Job analogy is pretty spot on. And the list of those who haven't had 'okay' lives in the Bible is long.

    I think a big problem floating around is the idea that faith is the absolute certainty of a path. But if Hebrews is right in it's definition, it isn't based on the reality of a situation. It's based on things not seen. So how is that relevant here? Well, the general notion is that if you don't believe that God is going to do something specific (like take care of you) in a specific way (the way you want Him to), then you don't have faith. The thing is that we can only really go on the faith (trust, belief, hope) that God will do what is best regardless of what it does to us. That we can have faith that God will make things work out for good. We often hear "God's mind is not ours; His thoughts aren't ours" and yet we are upset when He doesn't conform to our beliefs and expectations. I have to say... I think we're getting things backwards and we're doing God no favours in the process.

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  3. Just to clarify.. the God won't give you more than you can handle is referenced from the verse below.

    1 Corinthians 10:13 New International Version (NIV)
    13 No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

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    Replies
    1. That's actually still not correct.

      The verse you are referring to is speaking about temptation -- temptation and hardship are two very different things. While there is often temptation during hardship, hardship is simply life. It is life's struggles, and there is often no way out of hardship. If God only ever put us through hardship we could handle, we would never need Him, never need to rely on Him. We have no choice in hardship. There is no magical door out of hardship. Temptation on the other hand, there always is.

      This blog post, and the last have nothing to do with temptation. They are all focusing on hardship. And to say that there is always a magical door provided out of hardship by God is following the very same entitlement ideal that too many Christians are getting sucked into. We need to learn to differentiate between the two, between temptation and hardship, so that we can depend on God during hardship instead of expecting a miracle that is likely not going to come.

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