God is our Father, God is our friend, God is our protector and our provider.
Of those things, we can be completely assured.
Yet as good as God is to us, we can’t help but wonder why he doesn’t always appear that way from our point of view.
Yes, I am well aware that God, being a good father to us, will often not allow us to do things or obtain things that can be harmful to us, however, that is not the question being asked here.
The question being asked is “why does God make it hard to do the right thing?”.
Why does God make it difficult to establish a thriving church?
Why does God make it difficult to write a popular Christian book?
Why does God make it so hard to maintain Godly and righteous relationships?
If we are doing everything we can to completely deny ourselves so that his will shall be done throughout our lives and not our own, why would God sometimes make it hard for us to follow him?
Why does God hurt us as we follow after him?
To answer this question, let’s start by answering a different question, “how do we feel that God hurts us when we follow after him?”.
Now, this may seem to be a question that may be too vague to have a specific answer, however, there are a few generalizations we can make about ourselves when we feel that God has hurt us even when we have followed after him so passionately.
1. We feel that he has betrayed our expectation of reward or gratification that comes in exchange for our devotion to him.
2. We feel discouraged and somewhat frustrated that our efforts to honor and praise God have produced no results in the world around us.
3. We feel as though has to some degree abandoned us and that therefore, our attempts to please him go unrecognized.
None of these things describe the love of God or the person of Jesus.
In the discomfort of our feelings of pain and dissatisfaction that we have when we suffer for doing God’s will, we so often forget the truths that lie beyond each of those feelings.
1. Our reward is not of the riches of the earth but in the riches of heaven (see Matthew 5:12).
2. We can’t know how God may or may not use us to fulfill his promises, we can only have faith that those promises will be fulfilled (see John 6:29)
3. God will never leave us or forsake us (see Revelation 3:20).
All of these truths serve to point out that when it comes to doing the work of God in our lives, the pain disappointment and the hurt of a broken promise were never apart of the process.
God is, was, and always will be true to his promise to us that a life lived in the imitation of Jesus will not only have life but have life abundantly (see John 10:10).
In other words, God isn’t the reason we feel that he works against us when we do his will, but rather…
As the saying goes, we are only human.
And because we are human, we are bound to commit sin, whether we realize it or not.
And it is because we commit a certain kind sin in the midst of our labors unto God that we ultimately become hurt and frustrated when our labors seem to go unrecognized and unrewarded.
And that certain kind sin is known to us very well by one name, pride.
We feel entitled to the rewards and blessings that God ought to give us because of our devotion to him.
We feel betrayed when God doesn’t give us the comfort we feel we deserve just because we obey him.
To make it plain and simple, we’re spoiled and we feel God owes us something because of our love and sacrifice for him.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am guilty of that.
Yet if you hear nothing else from this post, hear this.
God doesn’t owe you or me or anyone out there anything, he already gave us his only son.
We don’t deserve anything from God because, in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he has already given us more than we could ever need.
We allow the will of God to be done through us in our lives not because we want God to rain down his blessings upon us, we do it because, in the miraculous love of God that allows us to no longer be bound to sin and to be reborn in his everlasting and immaculate kingdom, the devotion of our entire lives to his goodness is a perfect reward in and of itself.
We shouldn’t do the work of God because of what he can do for us, we should do the work of God because of what he has done for us already.
If we make that a focus in our works to honor God, we find that the feelings of inadequacy and disappoint that may come when our works fail our expectations completely wither away so that only the delight in our faithfulness to God can reside with us, and in this…
We find that our faith is our greatest reward.
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