Has God ever failed you?
I suppose that if you answer anything but “no” to this question, you automatically cancel your “Christian card.” Of course God doesn’t fail you.
…But it sure seems like it sometimes.
We try to hide our feelings and stay optimistic, often times overstepping our bounds.
Oh, you lost your job? God will provide a better one.
Oh, your girlfriend/boyfriend broke up with you? God will provide a better one.
After all, God works all things together for our good, right? He gives us everything that we need, right? It might seem like God let us down, but he has something better planned… right?
…Until the better job never comes.
…Until what God was supposed to do never happens.
Now, I don’t mean to come across as a pessimist. I absolutely believe that God can turn our let-downs into amazing triumphs. In fact, there are countless testimonies from people who will wholeheartedly affirm this. God is a miracle worker, and all things are possible for Him.
However, it doesn’t always happen, and that is the reality. As Christians, we can’t try to drown this out by an outpouring of miraculous stories. Because if we do, then what happens to the person who doesn’t get the better job? What happens to the poverty stricken family in a third world country who never escapes their hardship? What happens when their good desires go unfulfilled? I guess God doesn’t work for them. I guess God has let them down – or at least that’s the picture that we begin to paint.
So what’s the solution? What do we do when God lets us down? Well, here are a few things to consider:
God Doesn’t Let Himself Down. Now I know that this seems like common sense, but it is one of the most important things for us to understand. God cannot let Himself down. If He did, then He would cease to be perfect. What God desires will always come to pass. So what if we began to desire what God desires? After all, that is the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. God lives inside of us and continues to conform us into the image of Christ. As we draw near to God, we will learn to think and act in closer accordance to the way that He does. Obviously we will still be limited in our capacities to understand Him. We won’t always know what His will is, but we will certainly be able to discern it much easier. And as we do this, an amazing thing happens. Our desires will change. When it seems like God lets us down, we need to lean into Him. The more it stings, the more we lean in. Until one day, we wake up and realize not only that the sting is gone, but the desire itself is gone… and that’s a testimony just as miraculous as any other.
The Truth About Desire. Are the desires that we have wrong? Is it wrong to want a boyfriend or girlfriend? Is it wrong to want more money to provide for your family? Of course not. These are all good things. So why does God deny them sometimes? Well, I don’t know. However, this is what I do know – there’s nothing necessarily wrong with you or your desires. Eastern religions such as Buddhism will tell you that in order to live fully and peacefully, you must stop desiring. Any and every desire is an obstacle that you must overcome. Middle Eastern religions, and perhaps every other religion, will tell you that nothing is wrong with your desires, put perhaps there is something wrong with you. See, in a salvation-by-works mentality, your direct blessings from God depend on how good you are and how devoutly you follow Him. If your desires are unfulfilled, then you must be doing something wrong. Christianity is the only religion that says your good desires are right…but secondary. See, it’s okay to want good things in our life. It’s alright to keep asking God for them. However, we also have to understand that their ultimate fulfillment has already been met in Christ because of what He did for us.
Misplaced Hope. This brings us to the final point. Perhaps the reason that so many of us feel let down by God, is because our real hope is in the blessings that God will provide, and not in God Himself. What is your hope found in? We must strive to get to a place in our lives where God will be our ultimate desire. We have to know that He meets all of our needs in His very person. At the heart of our earthly desires is an ultimate desire. We desire intimate relationships – Jesus died so that we could have an intimate relationship with the perfect God of the universe. We desire pleasure – Jesus died so that we could be in paradise for all of eternity. The list goes on and on. See, our hearts are like an electrical circuit, full of desires. They are like small wires branching out from a central outlet. When we accept Jesus as our savior, it’s as if our heart circuit is plugged into the ultimate power source – Christ Himself. We receive energy and light, made alive by the true source of what we ultimately crave.
The truth is, when we put our ultimate hope in false promises and ungrounded beliefs (no matter how good they sound), God will alwaysfail us. We will always be let down. The reason is not because God doesn’t follow through, but rather because we forget that He already has. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was the ultimate answer to our desires. No matter what disappointments we have, no matter how bad our lives get, we can find rest in Jesus, because He gives us everything that we need. So, when we start to question God’s plan for our lives, and wonder why He is letting us down – lean into Him. Let Him transform your desires to meet His. After all, God has already given us the best thing of all…Himself.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Proverbs 37:4
We feel let down by God, not because He doesn’t follow through, but because we forget that He already has.