Tuesday, July 17, 2007

No Guarantees

I know, I said the next post would be "what about good works" and that post is coming. However, I have to write a big "amen" to the message that pastor Bill preached here at Northlake on Sunday. Click here if you missed that message. This was an outstanding message and explanation of James 5, where we are instructed on prayer. Rather then recount the message, which you can listen to on your own, I just want to add a couple thoughts.

In Christianity, there are no guarantees. I see many believers, including myself from time to time, trying to find the right "equation" that will guarantee a certain outcome. We may not believe this outright, but many of us believe this "internally." We live with many variations of the following;

If I do ____, then God will do ____.
If I'm good enough, read my Bible enough, pray enough, pray with eough faith, if only I had ____ or could ____ then God would have ____.

The problem? God is a mystery and cannot be put into a box. As 1 Corinthians 1:25 states, "the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." The bottom line is this; there are no guarantees. Yes, there are principles we are commanded to live by; yes there are things we can do that will bring us closer to God and things we can do that will separate us from Him. However, even if you do everything right, that will still not guarantee a better, easier, pain-free life. Why? Well who says that "easier, pain-free" is actually better for us? As believers we always have to remember that what's actually best for us may not be what we would choose. I write that last sentence with a bit of fear, but it is also with the knowledge that it is a true statement.

I have a friend of mine who's brother owns a business. The business was going well, but he, as the owner was doing a ton of work himself. He was doing the work, the hiring/firing, finding the jobs, running the crews, balancing the books, writing the checks and more. This meant many days up past midnight. One day he had a bad accident that forced him to be bed-ridden for months. What looked like a terrible tragedy turned out to be one of the best things for him as he was, for the first time, forced to delegate and look for ways to get his work done that didn't require him to personally be involved in every aspect of the business. The result? The business has actually grown incredibly fast, and he now has a much more manageable schedule.

I share that story simply to illustrate the point that what looks bad for us from our perspective may look entirely different from God's perspective. So given that truth, I say this; I don't want the power that would come to me if all my prayers were answered. Thats too scary. I'd rather leave that power with God.

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