When Things Are Out of Our Control
I remember one night kneeling on the back pew of my UPC church, tears flowing down my face, I prayed to God with all I had in me, pulling every trick out of the bag that I knew, begging him, pleading with him to heal me. My pastor’s wife saw that I was struggling and came to ask me what was wrong. I completely word vomited all over her. I was distraught because I have a rare medical condition and the message the pastor spoke on that evening was that of the Word of Faith persuasion. Name it and claim it! Speak those things as though they were! If God didn’t perform whatever miracle you were demanding of him, it was because of your lack of faith.
I was a second-class saint.
No matter how many times I asked, no matter how I asked it, I was still bound to my medication on a life or death level. Clearly something spiritual was wrong with me.
She could offer me no comfort or solace. How could she? If she honestly believed what her husband had been yelling about from the pulpit, there was no other explanation other than me.
I thought God hated me.
Fast forward to this past week. I have been surrounded by sickness, sadness, and even death. While most of these things did not affect me personally, I’ve had to watch friends suffer through them. I also received a frustrating medical diagnosis and found myself going down the dark pit of self-pity and perceived second-class saintism.
I have questioned many different topics since I left the UPC, including the name it and claim it doctrine. As I was mentally trying to pull myself into a better mindset, a few verses came to mind.
If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.
Job 13:15 ESV
But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
Psalm 31:14-15 ESV
Am I suggesting my situation is the same as these Biblical examples of incredible faith and trust? No way. However, I have found great comfort in believing that God hears my prayers, yet I have no right to demand him to do anything. I can ask him, and it is in every right of God Almighty to say no.
Do I believe God can heal? Yes! One hundred percent! Do I believe God always does things on our time? No. And oddly enough, that brings me peace.
It’s all about trust. It’s all about actually having faith that God’s ways are higher than mine. He really does have me in his hand and I have to trust in his righteous, holy love.
Jackie Hill Perry eloquently stated in her “Holier than Thou” devotional: “No one told or taught God how to be good, that is simply who He is, and He can be no other way.”
God is good. He only wants good things for his children. He has given us eternal life with him. That means, ultimately we get to live forever. You can’t want more than that. You cannot demand anything more from him. That’s not how this works.
Why is it the charismatic Word of Faith theology is so prevalent today? I’ve given that some thought this evening and here is my layman’s theory: Pride.
These are generally the same group of people who will tell you there is more to getting saved than just belief. They will tell you your salvation depends on specific works on your part. They will claim if you do not follow specific rules you can even lose your salvation after you worked so hard to get it in the first place. These people will tell you, you can do something to twist God’s arm into giving you what you want.
There is a whole lot of you in that paragraph, and not a whole lot of Jesus.
It comes down to pride. It comes down to humbling ourselves and laying down what we think we want and need and fully trusting in God. We as humans like to be in control, it takes faith to admit we were never in control to begin with.
God saves us, God keeps us, and God alone can heal us. It’s much more comforting to trust.