One piece of wisdom I absorbed as a child, was that God’s timing is almost never our own
Shocking, I know
But yet, I don’t know why as Christians we expect that every desire we have comes from a good place, is beneficial for us, and that God should drop everything and honor our prayer requests as soon as they come out of our mouths–we forget that every champion has to run an extra mile or two, even when they don’t feel like it
Christians Often Have The Worst Sense Of Entitlement
Look at it this way, when you were a child, think of how many things you wanted that seemed so important at the time, then compare how many of those things are totally irrelevant to your life now
For example, I am pretty sure that your My Little Pony play set or Power Rangers trading cards are not as important to you now as they were then (I hope!), but that doesn’t mean you didn’t think about them all the time or begged your parents for them non-stop
However, now, you probably can’t imagine doing something like that over toys or other trivial things (again, I hope!)
In the same manner, as we grow and mature spiritually and intellectually, we don’t want the same things nor do we pray for the same things
But, why is it that when Christians ask for things and don’t get them, they tend to get upset and question God as though he doesn’t care or listen to us–it is possible that we are asking for ridiculous things just like we did as children!
Spoiled Kids Make Even Worse Adults
Have you ever seen those kids that seem to cause their parents unending grief
You know the ones I am talking about, with the difficult, horrible lives that only tears and tantrums can do justice
Like for example, the poor, mistreated children who cry in the supermarket because their parents bought them regular Captain Crunch instead of the kind with Crunch-berries
Oh, the pain of it all…
This type of thing sounds ridiculous, but the reality is, we sometimes ask for things that are equally as pointless, but yet get equally as upset when God doesn’t give us what we want
“God if you are so good, why did you let _________ happen to me?”
Blah blah blah…
The funniest part about this equation of expectation and self-entitlement, is that Christians get the most upset when something bad is going on in their lives that God doesn’t just fix because they prayed about it
I am sure God wishes you stopped sinning as quickly as you expect him to answer your prayers, but the exchange isn’t exactly set up that way is it?
Can you just imagine if God gave us everything we asked for, regardless of whether we deserved it or not, we would be so incredibly bratty and spoiled, how gross!
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him
Notice that it says “he who spares the rod hates his son”
That is a strong statement about how important it is for parents to discipline their children so that they grow up to be honorable adults, it doesn’t encourage parents to be mean to them, it just says that a parent should love their children enough to teach them lessons through discipline if necessary
I bring this up, because not everything bad in our lives is something that “just happened” to us, a lot of times the negative things in our lives are the result of our own actions and choices, such as:
- We spend too much money and are up to our eyeballs in debt, with no way out
- Our spouse or partner is terrible to us, even though we won’t leave them or stand up for ourselves
- Our jobs are terrible, we get underpaid and mistreated, but refuse to go back to school or even look for something else
- The circle of people we hang out with get us into all kinds of trouble, but we don’t back away from them or find new ones
- We are totally out of shape and unhealthy, but never bother to exercise
For all of these situations, there are consequences as the result of our choices, and if God just absolved us of these things, we wouldn’t learn anything from our mistakes or understand the idea of consequences in general, ie: bad choices equal negative results
But, for the things that happen to us that are not the result of our own decisions, we often don’t realize that God is trying to help us grow and mature by teaching us to rely on him or guide us in a direction by exposing us to hardship, instead we just blindly ask for it to stop
That is the equivalent of going to the gym with the intent of losing weight with the help of a trainer, but when they have us run on a treadmill and we start feeling our lungs and legs burn for the first time, we just say “whoa, whoa… I have to stop, this is too much”, and then refuse to come back to the gym until running doesn’t cause us pain anymore
What a waste of time and money for you and the trainer!
Not only that, but you would never see the reward of getting into shape, and you would never learn that you can get fit through hard work and determination
And remember that Israel didn’t get rewarded with entry into the promise land until they spent forty years in the desert due to their own stubbornness and disobedience!
Seek The Lesson: Always Ask Why, And Keep Swinging
If you have tough challenges in your life, don’t just ask God to make them go away, ask for the lesson that he wants you to learn, and never stop pressing into him during any trial or difficulty
And, remember to keep him in mind even when things are going well too!
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other