“I don’t understand why this is happening,” Kelly cried. “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?”
* * *
“I’m not sure what God is doing, but business is bound to pick up soon,” Dave asserted. “I’m working harder than ever—like seventy hours a week. God helps those who help themselves, right?”
* * *
“I thought I was where God wanted me to be, but that loser job was not a good fit—such boring work and for such a lousy salary,” moaned Erika. “I just had to quit! But I’ll be OK. God loves me; he’ll take care of me.”
* * *
Ever hear comments similar to these? Each one represents a misunderstanding about God. The truth is:
- God’s primary concern is our welfare, not necessarily our happiness (Philippians 4:19). The two are not synonymous.
- God has not promised to help those who help themselves. That proverb is not in the Bible.
- Neither has God promised to take care of us if we live irresponsibly (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
So, I’m sorry, Kelly, Dave, and Erika. Somewhere along the way you’ve heard these ideas about God’s ways which were misrepresented as truth.
But how can we know the truth of how God works in our lives? (They might ask!)
By becoming better acquainted with God’s Word. Within its pages we find such wonders as perfect wisdom, inspiring encouragement, hope-giving promises, and practical instruction.
Kelly, God loves you too much to grant everything you want. Over-indulgence leads to spoiled children. Discipline demonstrates true love; permissiveness demonstrates foolishness. Sometimes God exercises tough love in order to develop our characters, grow our faith, and prepare us to serve him in greater capacities.
(“The Lord disciplines those he loves”–Hebrews 12:6a).
Dave, God is compassionate and good to his people (Psalm 103:4-5). He has promised to be our help, but it has nothing to do with our effort prompting him to come alongside. It’s the person who trusts in God wholeheartedly and follows his ways who may anticipate divine help:
“You who fear him, trust in the Lord—
he is their help and shield.”
(“May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts” –Psalm 119:173.)
Erika, God certainly does care for you (1 Peter 5:7), but he does not condone irresponsibility. A wise course of action would include prayerful assessment of the current job as well as other possibilities, while asking God for his guidance. Meanwhile:
“Do your best.
Work from the heart for your real Master, for God,
confident that you’ll get paid in full
when you come into your inheritance.
Keep in mind always that
the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.”
–Colossians 3:22-24 (The Message)
To all of us: When our corner of the world is rocked by challenges and disappointment, our best strategy is to turn to God’s Word. We can steady ourselves with the truth about his character and his ways, even experience joy and peace as those truths soak deep into our hearts (Psalm 119:35, 165).
“It is only when we understand who God is
that we begin to understand what he does.”
– Selwyn Hughes
* * * * * * * * * *
Thank you, Father, for the precious gift of your Word, for the way it continues to minister afresh, day by day, year after year, with reliable truth and uplifting encouragement. As if that wasn’t enough, you reveal yourself through its pages, allowing us to know you, the King of the universe. Open my eyes that I may see even more wonderful things in your Word (Psalm 119:18)!