Life hasn’t been smooth lately. And although I know better, if I was honest I’ll admit it’s left me a little disappointed with God. I mean, I’ve been holding up my side of the relationship—prayer, personal devotions, service, charitable giving…
God, on the other hand, seems to be neglecting his commitment to keep my life ticking along comfortably.
In my head I know being a Christian doesn't guarantee a worry-free existence.
The Bible is full of examples of how God has let his faithful servants endure unspeakable problems (see Hebrews 11 for examples) and frankly, mine aren’t nearly as bad as theirs. And I look around and see fellow Christians who, through no fault of their own, are today trapped in the mire of messy lives.
But still—I’m being honest here—I’ve been miffed that God has withdrawn his protecting hand and left me—me—to suffer.
A few months ago an interesting post appeared on my Facebook feed. Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me by Kate Bowler. I scrolled through it and passed it along to a friend, never imagining what a profound impact the article would have on her life—and through hers, mine.
You see, like Kate I've inadvertently been indoctrinated into the prosperity gospel. Terms like seed faith, name-it-and-claim-it, and kids of the kingdom have been familiar since childhood. I accepted them without question.
But, like Kate, God has brought me to a place that challenges this theology.
It is true: God wants the best for us. (See: Jeremiah 29:11.) The issue is how we’ve come to understand ‘best.’
Could the mess I’m experiencing right now be God’s idea of ‘best’?
As I mulled this over I re-read Hannah Hurnard’s classic, Hinds Feet in High Places. It reminded me that there is another way I can look at my circumstances. They are no less messy or uncomfortable, but from my new point of view I now see them as part of a larger picture,
a longer journey,
a more significant ‘best.’
I am being reshaped in Love.
Step by step, incident by incident, trial by trial, God is sanding away the parts of me that do not bring Him glory. The ‘best’ I am journeying towards is His Best, not mine.
What I find most amazing about this revelation—or maybe it’s a re-revelation—is the peace it has given me. The circumstances I find myself in are no longer frightening. Though the outcome is unknown, the outcome is certain.
He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and set me upon my high places. Psalm 18:33
Thank you, Lord.
Jayne Self is a writer being reshaped in Canada.