We all have those moments when we think life would be better if God would just remove (fill in the blank). By the look on Steve’s face in this picture (left), you can probably tell he wishes God would remove COVID, along with all the masks.
Whatever the case, it is easier to focus attention on a problem than how to actually get through it. If we villainize the problem, person or issue, we don’t have to deal with the fact our unhappiness or frustration could be due to our own ability, or inability, to deal with it. Could the problem actually be me? Could the problem be my attitude? Could the problem be my own lack of discipline or obedience?
The idea of being “taken away” isn’t anything new. Calgon coined it many years ago with the infamous bath scene of the stressed out woman sitting in the hot steamy bath saying, “Calgon, take me away”. However, that’s not how God rolls. God wants to help us IN our struggles and relationships, not just take us OUT of them.
“If our faith or our religion does not help us in the conditions we are in, we have either a further struggle to go through, or we had better abandon that faith and religion.” -Oswald Chambers
Why Are We Even Surprised?
I don’t know why we even get surprised when we face struggles. We should expect it. Psalms 46:1 reminds us, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help IN trouble”. It doesn’t say “God is our refuge and strength who gets us OUT of our trouble”. I wish it did! But, it is encouraging to know He will be there with us while we go through it. The key word is “through”. Sadly, we often want to run from trouble and get as far from hardships and uncomfortable situations as possible. Ironically, running away often results in running in circles.
I’ve learned that if I run from one thing or one person, I will just face it again in another thing or another person until I learn what the thing or person is supposed to teach me. Like Jonah, who refused to go to Nineveh, I learned the hard way. God doesn’t change His mind. He wants to change us and He often uses people and circumstances to do it. If we run, we will be just like Jonah or the Israelites. We will just waste valuable time we could be walking in our purpose and enjoying the reward of obedience.
If we are constantly faced with the same type of people thrown in our lives or same type of struggles, chances are, we need to change our cry from “Calgon on take me AWAY” to “God, help me get THROUGH this. Show me what you want me to learn from this so I can become better, stronger, and closer to you.”
Do you seem to attract a certain personality of friend or acquaintance with quirks that drive you crazy?
Do you keep finding yourself in the same stressful situation with relationships, finances, work or maybe even ministry?
Do you find the same things still get you upset (slow traffic, long checkout lines, needy people, a spouse’s bad habit)?
Maybe God is trying to teach us something.
When Steve and I are facing trials or uncomfortable moments, we often say “what is God trying to teach us?”. This has never been more obvious than in 2020. Masks didn’t make us grumpy. Politics, as messed up as it is, isn’t our problem. Ugly people spewing out opinions and judgement isn’t the biggest issue either. It’s all yucky, but my response is the real issue; and the only issue I can actually do anything about. These are just a few things in 2020 that made me realize I have a LOT more to work on.
God loves us right where we are but he also loves us enough to not leave us there.
God desires to do a work in us. The question is, “will we let Him”?