Does your theology take everything into account?
Now, let me be clear here: the Bible’s theology takes everything into account … but what we believe and what the Bible says don’t always completely tally. We, quite frankly, often believe what we want to believe, regardless of what God has revealed in his Word.
For instance, many people believe that everything in life should be good because they are Christians. After all, aren’t Christians supposed to live blessed lives? Then a spouse dies, a child develops cancer, or their finances collapse … and suddenly their faith goes out the window. Why? Because life no longer correlates to what they believe.
But God’s Word says that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, italics mine). Those few words “to work together for good” make quite a difference in meaning. The promise isn’t that everything that happens is going to be good, even if we are living completely within the will of God. The promise is that God will redeem the good, the bad, and the ugly and use it for our good and his glory.
Or take this one: I have heard many people say that they believe everyone should have a job that matches the deepest passion of your heart. That if you aren’t wildly excited about what you do, if it doesn’t make your spirit throb with energy, then you haven’t found the right job yet – keep looking.
Nice thought. Let’s look at the extreme position for a moment: there are millions if not billions of people scratching out a living in subsistence farming or horrific factory conditions – both in the U.S. and abroad. I really don’t think they feel particularly fulfilled or satisfied, but there may literally be no other alternative for them. They may never be able to receive the education, the opportunity, or the financing to pursue their deepest goals, dreams, and desires. All they can hope for is to make enough money to survive.
Has God abandoned them? Has he said, “Oops! I forgot about you all … I guess you’re outside of my scope”? Not at all. The fact is, the Bible nowhere promises that we will have fulfilling jobs if we follow God. The closest it comes is in Ecclesiastes 5:18, where it is written “Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.”
Do you notice something about the verse? First, it’s not a promise of God – it’s an observation of a very wise man. It says that it’s great if you can enjoy and be contented in what you do … not that what you do will always be perfectly fulfilling in and of itself. There’s a big difference there. Also note the words: “labor” and “toil.” That should give us a hint that work is … well … work. After all, as my father often said, “If it was fun, they’d call it ‘play’!”
Here’s the vital takeaway: If (and when!) you come to the place where life isn’t meeting up to your expectations, don’t take it out on God and make him out to be a liar. Take a good look at yourself instead, and figure out if you’ve been believing a lie of your own making.
© 2009 Paula Marolewski, www.SinkYourRoots.com
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