Tag Archives: disappointment with God

So we prayed…

It’s Narcissist Friday!     

 

So we prayed!  Some have been here to say that things were different this year.  Some said nothing.  All, I hope, felt a little more protected and loved through these challenging days.  I also hope we will keep praying.

Some of you might not have had wonderful answers to our prayers.  Maybe your Christmas was awful because of your narcissist.  Again.  And you wonder if it mattered that we prayed for you.  I understand.

Many Christians feel compelled to offer excuses for why God doesn’t answer the prayers of our hearts in the way we feel we need.  “God is teaching you.”  “God is working on the narcissist.”  “God has a longer plan.”  “It would have been worse if you hadn’t prayed.”   All or any of these could be the right answer, but I am not going to go there.  I don’t have to give God an excuse.  He says that He hears our prayers and that He loves us.  I believe He is both wise and good, therefore I have to leave these things in His hands.

I wrote a post a while back that seems to fit here.  It may be a word of encouragement, even in your disappointment.  Whatever you feel right now, please know that the love of God is real.  You are not alone.  We will continue to pray.

Here’s the post:

Why Does God Allow It?

If God is good and God is strong and God knows everything, why doesn’t He change the circumstances that hurt us so much? This question haunts many believers and non-believers. Some would say that they became unbelievers because of this question. If they were honest, some may say that they became unbelievers because of the answers they were given.

In our comments this past week this question has come up in the context of the painful narcissistic relationship. How can God allow some people to use and abuse and cause so much pain to others? How can God stand by while we lose so much? Why doesn’t God deal with the abusers?

What I have found over the years is that the pat answers, no matter how good they sound to the one who gives them, rarely give real help to those who are hurting. Here are a few:

  1. It’s because of sin in your life. If you obeyed better, these terrible things wouldn’t be happening to you.
  2. It’s for your good. God loves you and sent the abuser to make you what He wants you to be.
  3. God is preparing you to be strong because something worse is coming.

Now, I don’t find any of those to be helpful. The first one makes evil my fault. The second one makes evil God’s fault. The last one makes my future seem dreadful. There is no comfort in any of these.

Please understand that this is one of the great mysteries of the faith. The answers we have do not come easily. This post will take a topic that could encompass many pages and boil them down to one, and that will be less than satisfying for any of us.

So here’s what I know:

  1. God is good and He loves me. He is not malicious or wrathful. He does not send trouble into my life to hurt me.
  2. God is strong enough and wise enough to stop the pain and change the circumstances. The fact that He doesn’t, does not change the fact that He could.
  3. God does not initiate evil, nor does He send it on us. His plan for us is good. The abuser is responsible for the evil he does.
  4. The world is broken, not working the way it was meant to work. Evil is a natural part of this brokenness. Those who do evil, narcissists and other abusers, participate in evil without any prompting by God.
  5. God does use difficult circumstances to draw us to Himself and He is able to turn curses into blessings. While He is not the author of the evil we suffer, He can use it for good in our lives.
  6. There are worse things than the pain we suffer. In the moment it is very hard to feel the reality of this, but it is true. The loneliness and confusion and emptiness of life apart from God’s love is one thing I would consider worse.
  7. All evil is temporary. Most of it will end in this life, but all will be gone in the next. That which is broken will be re-created and pain will be gone forever.
  8. In my pain I am never alone. The Lord is always with me, always near when I cry out to Him. Even when I cannot feel His presence, I can take comfort in knowing that He is with me.
  9. Those who look to Him and trust Him in the midst of their pain do find a special grace, an ability to live above their circumstances and to find their identity apart from their suffering.

Does this help me? Yes, it does. It reminds me that I don’t need the pat answers. As much as I want to understand, I really don’t need to. My desire to understand is usually a desire to control. I want to approve of my circumstances, even the difficult ones. If I know the purpose, then I might be able to give permission. But that is not my place. When I am able to trust Him, I find the peace He wants me to have.

No, I do not find this easy. I wish I could just live this way consistently, no matter what happens. But I am just as weak as anyone, just as fearful and just as doubtful. The only thing I have is the one thing I know—Jesus loves me.

Do I still wish He would change things sometimes? Of course! I pray against pain and suffering, in my life and in the lives of others. But as long as we are in this world, the brokenness will affect our lives. Sometimes, some amazing and wonderful times, God reaches in and changes things. The pain ends and life is good again for a while. I praise Him and rejoice in my peace. But I am learning to find that peace even in the times of struggle. Learning slowly, but learning.

No more pat answers. Don’t blame evil on me or on God. It just is. There may be causes and explanations, but none of them help my situation. What helps is to look on the One who loves me and trust Him.

That’s my prayer for each of you. Look to Him and trust in His love. Do what He leads you to do. If you can leave the narcissistic relationship, do it. If you cannot, then look to Jesus and find His overwhelming love in the midst of your struggle. He is there for you.

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No Deals, Mr. Bond!

Grace 101

 

Deals with the Most High God.  Imagine bargaining with the Lord God Almighty!  What is the cost of the Lord’s favor these days?

In a bargaining relationship, something is expected from both sides.  If I go to the store, I expect to pay money for the products I take home.  If I go to a swap meet, I will bring something to trade.  If I make a deal with a neighbor, I might agree to do some work for him.  I will get something because I give something.

So what does God need that I have?  Does He need my time and energy?  Does He need money?  Does He need prayer or Bible study or Scripture memory?  What currency do I have that would allow me to trade with God?  It sounds silly, doesn’t it?  We can’t bargain with God.  We have nothing to offer Him.

You see, God is not about making deals.  He is about loving you and me.  He wants to give to us because we have needs we cannot fulfill and He is good and strong and kind.  When He made us, He made us to be complete only in relationship with Him.  He would enter into that relationship and give us what we need.  When we wandered, through Adam and Eve and through our own sin, He stayed ready for that relationship.

Since we could do nothing to restore the relationship on our end, the Lord has done all that is needed to bring us back to Him.  He did it all.  He is the Giver.

When we try to make deals with God we try to bind Him into a contract where we can demand that He keep His commitment to us.  I have seen television preachers pounding their fists on the floor saying, “God I demand . . . !”  But we are not on equal terms with God.  We have no right to design deals and expect that He will agree.  We have no right to demand anything from Him.  He is God!

If you are not serving the Lord because you love Him, then stop.  You are not earning spiritual points and He is under no obligation to reward your efforts.  If you think God owes you something, think again.  If you are working hard and making sacrifices because you think you are going to get something from God as a type of wage or deal, then rest.  He loves you and He gives all good things as a gift.

Now, I know that some people will say that the Bible tells of all kinds of rewards for good behavior.  I agree.  There are certain ways of looking at life that have certain benefits.  A husband who is kind and loving will very likely be blessed by a good marriage, certainly more so than an inattentive or cruel husband.  But there are no guarantees in this.  These are good things to do that usually have good results.

And nothing of this has to do with spiritual life or relationship with God.  No one is going to Heaven on the basis of their church work, for example.  Those who see themselves working through a bargain with God will be disappointed.

You see, the flesh understands human relationships.  It knows how to manipulate and bargain and work for things.  But when the flesh encounters God, it tries to do the same things and they don’t work.  Religion might be filled with “work for blessings” but God is not in that.  He wants to give.

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Giving and Getting

Grace 101

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  That is a quote from Acts 20:35.  It has been hammered into us for so many years that we tend to think it is a life principle.  But is it true in every situation?

The reason I ask is that there are many Christians who seem to think it is more blessed to give to God than to receive from Him.  They are more about what they are doing for Him than what He is doing for them.  In fact, they have formed their religion around what they do for God and they expect to be blessed because of the things they do.  Since it is more blessed to give than to receive, and they want to be blessed, they choose to focus on what they are giving.

Over the years I have heard about the “deals” people have made with God.  ‘Me and the man upstairs, we have an understanding.”  “I work for God and He works for me.”  “I told the Lord I would do that for Him if He would do this for me.”  Besides the fact that these “deals” seem pretty one-sided, they also put the person on an almost equal footing with God.  In other words, they seem arrogant and presumptuous.

Now, most people don’t do this, at least most church people.  But in their minds they still bargain.  They still expect God to keep deals.  I know this because I hear them express their disappointment with Him.  They say things like, “I have tried to be faithful, to do what I was supposed to do, why couldn’t He do this for me?”  Sometimes they are angry.  Sometimes they feel betrayed.  Sometimes they feel unloved.  When they needed Him, God failed.

When we suggest that God has let us down, that we somehow deserve better from Him, or that He has failed to take into account our giving—we betray something of a flesh religion in our own hearts.  When we blame God for our pain, we suggest that He is somehow responsible for making sure we get our way.  We are in charge.  He is the servant.  He is our divine caregiver and He isn’t doing His work.

The flesh system we create as we go through life is all about us.  It makes us look good, feel good, and get good.  If spiritual blessings come through spiritual service, then we understand that we are supposed to work.  And if we are supposed to work, we certainly want that work to be noticed.  Even when it isn’t spoken, the deal system is implicit in the flesh religion.

Let me make this clear.  The flesh system is all about giving because it sees giving as the way to getting.

But grace isn’t about what you give.  It’s about what you get.  God is the Giver because He loves you.  God is the Giver because He doesn’t need what you can give.  God is the Giver because you need what He can give.  You are the one with the need and He is the one with the “everything.”

So grace is about getting and religion is about giving.  Does that sound backwards to you?  That’s okay.  When you are able to rest and let God give to you, then you will begin to understand the truth.  And that truth will set you free.

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