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Quick-Fix Christianity (LWB)

Chapter 2: Lies Women Believe About God

Day 5: Divine Delays and Denials

Lie #6: God should fix my problems


We live in a world of instant gratification. We want what we want and we want it now. One extreme? Not only does a coffee shop have a drive-thru, but you can now place your order ahead of time so it will be ready when you get there. I’m gonna lie – I’ve used the feature several times.

But there’s a danger in getting comfortable with (and then begin to expect) quick-fixes. Because when things aren’t easy or quick, we can get angry and/or give up – both of which reveal we’ve got an “idol problem.”

Remember what an idol is? Something I’m willing to sin to have, willing to sin if I don’t have, or something I turn to as a comfort and refuge. This lie reveals an idol of needing a pain- and problem-free life. 

Let’s face it – we all want that, and it sounds good. But the goal of our life is not comfort and ease – at least, the goal of a Christian’s life isn’t. But more on that later. Let’s start with looking at the problem with this mindset.

When we have a goal of living a pain- and problem-free life, we begin to do whatever it takes to get it – whatever the cost. 

Let’s look at TEA diagram for a minute… how does this play out? The biggest issue we tend to have is with physical pain:

Stimuli: Physical pain

Thoughts:

  • “I don’t deserve this.”
  • “Why me?”
  • “I can’t function like this.”
  • “No one understands.”
  • “If I could just get rid of this pain I’d be okay.”

Emotions:

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Self-pity
  • Bitterness
  • Resentment

Actions:

  • Irritable and harsh, snapping and being rude to friends and family
  • Isolation and depression

Now it returns to the “T” again… because our actions are reinforcing our doubtful thinking. 

Thoughts:

  • How could God do this to me?
  • I need to take matters into my own hands.
  • No one cares about me and my pain.
  • God has failed me.
  • This is too much for anyone to deal with.
  • I can’t.

Emotions:

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Self-pity
  • Bitterness
  • Resentment

Actions:

  • Irritable and harsh, snapping and being rude to friends and family
  • Isolation and depression
  • And finally, abusing pain medicine or drugs to find relief.

And the cycle continues. A person’s character begins to reveal itself. When confronted with physical pain, this person becomes angry, depressed, and indulges in an addiction to seek relief. 

Is taking pain medicine wrong? No. But abusing it is. And how did this person get to that point? By thinking it was too much and they shouldn’t have to deal with it. The focus was entirely on themselves. And when our focus is on ourselves, the inevitable result is sin.

Here’s the craziest thing of all — take a look at that TEA diagram again and think about this: becasue the root of the lie is that we shouldn’t have to deal with pain or problems, you could insert any number of situations and the outcome would be the same. Anger, depression, broken relationships. Got a family problem? How do you deal with it? Anger, isolation? Where do you turn for relief? There’s your idol. Lost your job? Received a diagnosis? Locked your keys in the car? The fact that we respond in anger is huge — let’s take a second just to talk about anger.

Anger is an unwillingness to accept God on His terms. 

Got that? Read it again. I’ll wait.

We just spent the last week or two discussing the truth about who God is – that He is good and He loves us. He is in control, and He is trustworthy. But when we get angry, we reveal that deep down inside, we still think we know better. So when God does something we don’t like, we get angry. We’re trying to be the god in the relationship. Again. And again. And again.

When you don’t choose to believe and call to mind the fact that God is good and He loves you and He is in control, then by default you are believing the opposite. 

Did the person in the TEA diagram tell themselves God wasn’t good and didn’t love them? Not at the beginning – but it edged that way the second time around, didn’t it? How is that possible? Because in believing a lie, we reject the truth. 

The fact that we respond in anger when we don’t get our own way, don’t like what God is doing, and when we experience challenges in life, is really just the beginning, because that anger causes us to act out – and that’s where we see the most damage. 

  • For some, that anger leads to isolation, self-pity, depression and suicidal thoughts.
  • Others respond by blowing up and literally leaving a wake of damages behind them, taking our their anger on a wall, a car, an object, or even a person.
  • Some people begin to use their problems as an excuse to drink their stress away.
  • And long the same lines, others escalate with drugs to take the pain away.
  • I’ve even talked to some people who have pursued psychiatric medications to control the symptoms of their sin, choosing to believe that they wont’ act out because they won’t get angry because of the medications that numb their emotions. Meanwhile, they still believe the same lies and are still in need of a Savior, but are unwilling and unable to respond, because they believe the solution has been found in their medications instead of Jesus.

Let’s all be real: life is hard. Life is unfair. To quote The Princess Bride, “Life IS pain.” We can’t escape it – and we need to stop trying. Even if you find a way to escape it now, there will come a time when you won’t, and it will break you.

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Shocking? Or comforting? Along with this lie, that we deserve a pain- and problem-free life, we take it to the point that we also believe that when we do have trouble in life, it’s God’s job to fix it. Our culture promotes this – false teachers promote this – and even in popular Christian media and churches, we hear this idea. Give your life to Jesus and he’ll make your life better. But look at John 16:33 again – Jesus doesn’t say that he will remove our trouble, does he? No, he assures us it’s coming – but then he tells us how to overcome it: with Jesus!

Trouble will come. It will come because of our own consequences of sin. It’ll come because of the sin of others. It’ll come because we live in a fallen world. And sometimes it will come because we believe in Jesus – the very thing we like to think will keep us away from pain can often bring it to us.

John 15:20

“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

1 Peter is an incredible book full of promises and encouragement for Christians who suffer – and these Christians were suffering simply because of their faith. Read the passage below:

1 Peter 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

I want to point out something — did you notice? It says that these trials have come so that. 

You know what that means? There’s a purpose. 

How else do we know this? Well, becasue God is good and God loves us and God is in control. He knows what He’s doing – and if He’s bringing pain, problems, and trouble into our life, there must be a purpose. What is it? The last half of the passage tells us – the goal is that we grow in our relationship with Jesus, glorify Him, and and prove ourselves genuine in our faith. We will become witness to the lost, an encouragement to the saved, and will earn rewards from Christ when we persevere through pain rather than give in to it.

Pain is not just inevitable, it is necessary. 

Just as gold must be refined through fire, we must also be refined in our faith – and that only comes through adversity. “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” C.S. Lewis said, “Pain is the megaphone God uses to rouse a deaf world.” And at Lifeline, we can often be heard saying, “People change when the pain of staying the way they are becomes greater than the pain of change.”

So how do we handle pain in life? Rather than looking to God to meet our demands and give us a life of ease, we must remember God’s love, goodness, and power and look to Him for grace and perspective rather than instant relief. We must remember that everything we go through has a purpose, and that according to 1 Corinthians 10:31, it won’t last any longer than absolutely necessary, and that when the time comes, God will be our deliverer, and we will not have to depend on ourselves for relief. 

God wants us to rely on Him, not ourselves. Not our medications. Not our ability to manipulate circumstances. Not our relationships with others. Just Him. 

God wants us to be holy, not spoiled. 

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Will you let God fulfill His purpose in your life? Will you let Him change you, grow you, teach you? 

Stimuli: Physical pain

Thoughts:

  • “God is good.”
  • “God loves me.”
  • “God is in control.”
  • “God has a reason for this pain.”
  • “God will help me overcome this pain.”
  • “God’s grace is sufficient for me.”
  • “God is teaching me to rely on Him, not myself.”
  • “God is faithful.”

Emotions:

  • Peace
  • Joy

Actions:

  • Perseverance
  • Faithfulness
  • Obedience

Now when we return to the thoughts, they are positively reinforced – becasue God’s grace has intervened and enabled us to push through our pain and stay faithful to Him by serving others, fulfilling our responsibilities, and not being controlled by the pain. Our character has changed and people will see it. This person is struggling with physical pain, but you wouldn’t know it – they’re joyful, they’re encouraging others, and they’re at peace. How is that even possible? 

Grace: the power God gives to do what God says. 

It’s time to decide. The next time you face pain in your life, will you use it as an excuse to sin? Or will you use it as an opportunity draw closer to Christ? To choose to be obedient, even though it’s hard? If you only obey when it’s easy, you don’t really know what it means to obey God. Jesus himself learned obedience through what He suffered. Why should we think we’re any better? God’s grace was enough for Jesus – and it’s enough for you.

Hebrews 10:23

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

 

Points to remember: 

  • Anger is an unwillingness to accept God on His terms.
  • Grace is the power God gives to do what God says. 
  • God’s goal is my holiness, not my temporary happiness and comfort. 
  • God’s job is to make me like Christ, not to fix all my problems. 
  • Pain is not just inevitable, it is necessary. 
  • God’s grace is enough for me. 

 

Further reading:

drgnfly1010 View All

In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.

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