Life is a series of ups and downs. For most of us, the journey is not always a steady-state of happiness, focus or peace in our surroundings. We all struggle with varying levels of discontent about our circumstances, frustration with our tasks or limits to our situations and the like.
From a Christian perspective, it leaves us disappointed sometimes, and wondering where God is in the midst of the struggles and the disappointments. And when it goes on for extended periods of time, it can be extremely depressing and discouraging. (Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…“)
We read His promises; but it still FEELS like He isn’t in this ride with us.
We read promises in the word of God that tell us He is with us all the time; words from Jesus Himself that we should not worry (Matt 6:25) because God is in control (Heb. 13:5)”For he has said, ‘never will I leave you or forsake you.” But sometimes it still FEELS like He isn’t in this ride with us; or if He is, that He really isn’t doing things the way we feel he should. And that leaves us feeling sometimes like He doesn’t care about us like He says He does. In fact, for some people, they really do feel (if they are honest with themselves) that God hasn’t really come through for them like God really should do if He really is a loving and all-powerful God.
Though it might sound harsh, there are really only a few choices we can make.
First choice: we can be angry with God because we feel He isn’t doing for us what we think a God SHOULD be doing for us in our situation. Now, understand that feeling angry isn’t automatically something we can control. But there does come a point where we have to acknowledge that not only are we angry, but we feel we have a RIGHT to be angry with God. And THIS is the real issue. The question is perhaps better phrased: are you holding onto a right to resent God for how He has not done what you feel He should be doing in your circumstances?
Our second Choice: we can SURRENDER – we can let go of our expectations that God SHOULD be doing something He is NOT doing, and rest in our trust in the God who sometimes might allow some things that we don’t understand. There will be times in our lives where things will be (or at least they will look like they will be) out of our control.
And we don’t have to LIKE our circumstances. But we can choose to NOT resent God for what we cannot understand and what we cannot control.
The problem for many people (and, unfortunately, even Christians too) is that we want a THIRD CHOICE.
The third choice is that we just want our circumstances to be different. We want the blindness or deafness to go away; we want back those toes that were amputated because of diabetes. We want our child or spouse who died because of some drunk driver to be with us again; we want our money or posessions back that were stolen from us; we want to NOT be suffering from some incurable illness.
Now, there might be reasons why the third choice isn’t happening for us. Lots of reasons, perhaps.
But let’s just suppose you’ve exhausted your list of things you can do, and your circumstances are just really awful. And there’s nothing you can do to get the “third choice.” And there doesn’t seem to be anything that God is doing about it right now, either. What do you do?
When choice number 3 is not available to you, you only have two choices left.
You can make choice number 3, and hold God in contempt until He gives you choice number 3, or you can make choice number 1, and SURRENDER. But you need to know that God probably is not going to give you what you think you should have, simply because you think you should have it. You and He might be at an impasse on this. So what do you do?
You can have peace, right here, right now.
But you can only have this peace if you will surrender to God, choosing to believe He is a God of love, provision, mercy and grace – even when you don’t see it, when you don’t understand it, and when you don’t feel it. And when you do, you will have “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7).
But this peace will come at a price. The price you have to pay to have this peace in your life is choosing to let go of your rights to hold God in contempt for any and every way that you feel He has let you down, or fallen short, or not come through for you.
Perhaps you could say that you need to forgive the God who needs no forgiveness.
Sometimes in life there are no easy choices; there are only right ones and wrong ones. Make the right choice. Choose to trust God, even when you can’t see what He is doing.