“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Daniel 3:17-18 (NIV)
I’ve realized something lately. Human relationships are based heavily on selfishness. As kids, we say “please” and “thank you” because we know we will be rewarded for doing the right thing. As adults, we help someone out with the unspoken understanding that they will return the favor at some point. The problem with this attitude is that it too often translates into how we feel about our relationships with God. We unconsciously try to fit the all-knowing, almighty, unparalleled Creator in a small, manageable box we can keep in our pocket and pull out when it’s convenient.
Here’s the deal. If you haven’t already figured it out, you can’t keep God in a box. In the same way that our salvation through Jesus isn’t based on good works, our relationship with Him isn’t sustained by good works.
Often I find myself reading my bible and hoping that my day will be better, NOT because I spent time with the God who made me but just because I read the book you’re supposed to read every day.
We tell others that we are “praying with expectation that God will move,” when what we really mean is that we’re praying with expectation that God will move in a way that we’ve already figured out is the best possible way for God to handle that situation.
We try to impose our own futile, short-sighted advice on God, when what He really wants is our trust.
Just because we do the right things doesn’t mean He’s always going to do what we want. And to be honest, I don’t really like that. It’s more comforting to believe that if I pray enough, if I read my bible enough, if I serve enough, if I fast long enough, God will heal that baby who’s dying or pull that friend out of drug addiction or fix that couple’s marriage. But if that were true, the foundation of our faith would be rocky. If there were a way to earn things from God, what would be the point of Jesus’s death? We wouldn’t need Him to be our salvation anymore because we could just do it ourselves. If God simply did everything I wanted, He wouldn’t be God. I would be God.
For another thing, the thought of living my life trying to earn God’s affection sounds exhausting. I would never have true joy or peace because I would live in constant fear of not doing enough. Thank the Lord that we don’t have to live like that. God is not my servant. He’s the King. I am the servant. If I get angry because I pray for something and God gives me a different outcome that I didn’t want, I don’t even understand who He is. People who don’t follow Jesus will never understand why we would choose to follow a God who does things we don’t understand. But that’s exactly why we are different. We choose. We choose to believe God is good, even if we never understand why something happened. We choose to keep following Him, because we trust that He is always right.
And He is, you guys. He is always right.