During a recent conversation with a leader in our church, I heard a startling comment: “some are walking away because they are disappointed with God”. This comment was made in response to a conversation we were having regarding the opportunities that the church is being presented these days. I am of the opinion that the current economic recession creates lots of ministry open doors, because people are becoming more aware of their needs. You know the drill, when people are in need, they turn to God. I have to say, I was a little taken aback when I heard the comment from one of our leaders. Not that this is anything new, since the beginning, people have walked away from God when things did not go their way. But to hear this statement made about people of OUR church…I have to say, I was disappointed.
As I reflect on my past experience, this topic (why doesn’t God do something about this hard time I am going through?), has come up countless times. People of all segments of our society ask this question. The bad thing is, apparently many people will walk away from God if they don’t get the answer they want. Apparently, some in our faith community are so let down by God because He won’t fix our economy, that they are walking away from their faith.
My question for these people may go something like this:
Whoever told you that God would do things the way you want, make life easy for you, or say yes to all of your prayers?
In an effort to show compassion, I am reminding myself that people are hurting. Some have lost loved ones even though they prayed for a healing. Some are alone and lonely. Some are being persecuted. My heart goes out to these people and God is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).
But because I know some of the individuals being referred to by this leader, I know that some can’t afford the mortgage on the house they never should have bought in the first place. Some aren’t making 6 digits anymore. Some can’t afford to put gas in their gas-guzzling SUV. And God is not coming through for them. So they are disappointed with Him and considering walking away.
Scripture tells us that God is all-wise and He is sovereign. He will do what needs to be done. If His plans do not match up with ours, something needs to give – and it will not be God’s plan that gives.
Take time to read the following extended passages (all NIV) and then note the concluding comments.
Isaiah 40:6-8, 12-26, 28-31 A voice says, “Cry out.”And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. 7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? 13 Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? 14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding? 15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. 16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. 17 Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. 18 To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to? 19 As for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. 20 A man too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple. 21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. 24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. 25 “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: 2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone- 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? 8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, 9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, 10 when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, 11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? 12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, 13 that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? 14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment. 15 The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken. 16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? 17 Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death? 18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? 20 Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? 21 Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years! 22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, 23 which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? 24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? 25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, 26 to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, 27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? 28 Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? 29 From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens 30 when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen? 31 “Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? 32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? 33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up [God’s] dominion over the earth?
34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? 35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? 36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind? 37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens 38 when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together? 39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions 40 when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? 41 Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?
“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? 2 Do you count the months till they bear? Do you know the time they give birth? 3 They crouch down and bring forth their young; their labor pains are ended. 4 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; they leave and do not return. 5 “Who let the wild donkey go free? Who untied his ropes? 6 I gave him the wasteland as his home, the salt flats as his habitat. 7 He laughs at the commotion in the town; he does not hear a driver’s shout. 8 He ranges the hills for his pasture and searches for any green thing. 9 “Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will he stay by your manger at night? 10 Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness? Will he till the valleys behind you? 11 Will you rely on him for his great strength? Will you leave your heavy work to him? 12 Can you trust him to bring in your grain and gather it to your threshing floor? 13 “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork. 14 She lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, 15 unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them. 16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; she cares not that her labor was in vain, 17 for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense. 18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider. 19 “Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? 20 Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? 21 He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, and charges into the fray. 22 He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword. 23 The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance. 24 In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. 25 At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, ‘Aha!’ He catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry. 26 “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south? 27 Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high? 28 He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is his stronghold. 29 From there he seeks out his food; his eyes detect it from afar. 30 His young ones feast on blood, and where the slain are, there is he.”
The LORD said to Job: 2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!”
Let it be said:
Sometimes you reap what you sow, sometimes it is raining on the just and the unjust.
God knows what you need more than you do.
God will have the final say.
God is faithful, no matter how your life turns out.