When your life is going well, it’s easy to believe God loves you. It’s great to proclaim he’s good when you ask him to give you something, and he does. But life doesn’t always go well, does it? What do you feel God is like when he doesn’t seem to answer your prayer? How do you feel about him when your circumstances get worse, not better?
When my wife and I had our third child, the doctor came in and said, “Mr. and Mrs. Maulding, you have a baby girl, and she seems healthy.” But she went on to tell us our daughter had been born with a genetic defect that would cause her to live developmentally disabled for the rest of her life. That was one of my worst days ever. My wife and I cried bitterly because we had lost the dream of a perfectly healthy child every parent wants. A few years before our daughter’s birth, my view of God in that situation would have made me think he was punishing me. I would have wondered what sin I had committed to cause God to hurt me, my wife, and our baby.
What have you thought about God on your worst day?
I know it’s not easy, but let’s find out—because making this important distinction in your mind is crucial. Think about a really bad day you had. Maybe it was the worst day in your life. You found out you had cancer. The divorce your spouse wanted was final. You were in a debilitating car accident. Your child was hospitalized and you weren’t certain she would make it. A close family member died. You had a flat tire, and you were late for the new job you just started. You got fired. You were sexually abused. Your best friend betrayed you. You realized you were in such financial debt that you didn’t think you would ever get out. You were harassed because of your ethnicity. Your church looked like it was going to split. You were falsely accused publicly.
You fill in the blank.
Then go back in your mind and remember the raw emotions you felt. Do you feel them now? I know it’s depressing to recall these memories, but here’s the important point: During that difficult time, what did you feel about God and his relationship with you? Was he even in the mix?
Don’t try to avoid those memories believing you shouldn’t think about God this way. It’s okay. God prefers honesty and truth versus sweeping secrets under the rug. Take a minute or two to recall your view of God on your worst day, what you would have said or did say to him.
What I’ve heard from people has varied from person to person, but here are some examples:
- God, if you really love me, why are you letting this happen?
- God, I’m not sure if you are even real. Maybe you’re just a fairy tale.
- God, I’m mad at you and I don’t want to talk to you.
- God, I wonder what I’ve done for you to do this to me?
- God, I don’t believe in you anymore because of what you let happen to me.
- God, it seems as though you have abandoned me.
- God, you love me no matter what is happening.
- God, you are good even if I can’t see it right now.
- God, you are sovereign in my life and in control, so I trust you.
- God, you are faithful always, so I can trust you with anything.
You may have had one of these or similar thoughts. But whatever it was, it defined what you truly believed about God, what you really thought about him.
Your view of God, however, goes beyond the way you feel on your worst day. We can get an even better picture when we consider God and ourselves together in relationship. For example, in your mind, take a selfie of yourself and God. Where are you and where is he in that photo? Remember, think about one of your worst days as you take the photo. This will give you a visual of what you truly believe about yourself and God in relationship.
(Do you have a question you would like answered? If so, please reply to this email.)
© Mark Maulding, God’s Best-Kept Secret: Christianity Is Easier Than You Think, 2017, (Baker Publishing Group), pp 17-19