We often set God up.
- We assume if the door is open, it’s God who opened it, so we walk through and declare it as God’s will. Won’t God stop us if we’re going somewhere we’re not supposed to go?
- We assume that as long as something isn’t admonished in Scripture, it’s something God will provide for us. After all, doesn’t God want us to be happy?
- We claim prayers have been answered when what we want matches what seems to be happening, as if God only answers prayers in the affirmative.
We get biblical and cultural messages mixed up, assuming God must be held to timeframes, provisional standards, and individual rights. Think about it for a moment. Do you have a right to…
- a job (one you enjoy)?
- income (what provides you with what you want)?
- a place to live (with enough space to insure your comfort)?
- food (with choices, whether nutritional or not)?
- relationships (that challenge, appease, confirm you)?
- a vacation, retirement, transportation, shopping options, children, coffee, internet access, Facebook, a new outfit, safety, appreciation, recognition, education, religious choices, political choices, healthcare choices, choices about anything and everything?
Even when we graciously accept something or someone as a blessing in our lives, it often doesn’t take long before the blessing morphs into a presumptive provision.
- “Thank you, God, for this job!” becomes “Really, God? How much longer am I going to have to deal with these people for this pay?”
- “Thank you, God, for this paycheck.” becomes “I don’t know how I’m going to make it on this pay. I’ve cut out everything I can possibly cut out of the budget!” (…said over a Facebook message via a smartphone while sitting on the couch watching television and eating food picked up at the drive-thru on the personally-driven commute home from work)
- “Thank you, God, for the love of my life!” becomes “If he smacks his gum one more time….!”
We’re not the first generation or culture to struggle with this whole blessing/right thing. It’s throughout Scriptures! Consider the Israelites from the time Moses announced God would deliver them from Egypt to the time they actually left through the many years in the wilderness and finally settled into Canaan.
Seek God? Check.
Ignore God. Check.
I have no scientific proof, but I’d venture to assume we blame God more than we give him credit. We don’t praise him nearly enough for who he is, what he provides, and how he guides, so the credit columns of our balance sheets are hauntingly bare. Yet we have no trouble crying out with anger, frustration, and despair when we wonder why something would happen, where God is in a situation, or how we can possibly feel so isolated and lonely!
We have hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities to choose God every day. And we love to have choices, so why do we struggle with choosing God? He’s not silent. He’s not playing a game of hide-and-seek. He’s present where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. Maybe you just don’t want to choose God. You’d rather worship your right to choose. God will allow your choice. He loves you too much to force you to love him. You likely don’t realize how much he loves you and is passionately pursuing you, mainly because you don’t want to see and acknowledge him. Choose your god of choice over God, and God will painfully let your choices play out.
However, you might want to choose God but struggle with how to do so. You’re faced with so many small choices every day, not to mention the big ones. Which way is God’s way? Even when you know God’s boundaries of good and bad, there seem to be so many other choices—often between good and good. So, what’s the right answer?
We seek the answer to a question. We want the next steps. We want a method or technique. We want a solution.
Knowing God focuses on the relationship instead of the method. God is clear that relationship trumps legalism. Seeking God is more important than seeking God’s will. Knowing God is more important than knowing God’s plan.
Relying on a Person means you’re going to give some things up, such as your expectations, your timetable, and your agenda. But when you respond in every moment and situation with a determined intent to know God, the big issues of your life are seen against the backdrop of the cross, and the small details of your life are seen against the backdrop of the cross. Everything takes on a clearer perspective.