When we open up the Bible we see that it is full of promises. Promises like:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:”
2 Thessalonians 1:11
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
“Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”
“If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
But sometimes when we read these promises we get the wrong idea. We read about how God works things for our good, and we exist for the good pleasure of his goodness, that he wants us to have life abundantly, and we misunderstand how this all works. We get the idea in our head that God bends to our will. We start thinking that God exists to fulfill our dreams. That God obeys our commands. We can sometimes get the mindset where God is a genie and when we call on him his answer is “POOF! What do you need?
The problem is, that is not the God that we serve! The God we serve loves us, and He wants what is best for us, but the thing we need to remember is that what is best for us is not always what we think is best for us. See, we as humans want the love of God, the grace of God, and the power of God to be active in our lives, but are we prepared to deal with the sacrifice, the discipline, and the separation that is required in order to have those things?
The God that we want tells us that the world can choose God’s will, that we can live in a “Christian nation” full of unbelievers who choose to obey God’s command without a relationship with Him! James 4:4, however, tells us the truth about our actions in the eyes of God:
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
Friendship with the world makes us the enemy of God! It makes us adulterers and adulteresses. It means that we have betrayed God. That is what the God we need tells us.
The God we want tells us nice things that make us feel good no matter what. He would tell us that people are ultimately good, and that everyone is going to heaven because God is love and a loving God could never proclaim judgment upon those who reject Him. But the God we need? He is described like this:
“For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.”
I could go on and on with the comparisons between what we want to hear from God and what we need to hear from God, but the thing is that ultimately this all goes so much deeper than just that. These comparisons only scratch the surface of the real issue here. To understand better, let’s look at a story about Jesus and His Disciples.
“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”
In this story we see the disciples and Jesus crossing the Sea on a ship. In the middle of their journey they encounter a large storm and it beats against the ship. In the midst of the storm we see two responses:
First, we see the disciples full of fear and in a panic. They are afraid that they are going to die. In fact, they’re so afraid that they wake Jesus up and ask Him if He even cares if they die!
Second, we see Jesus. Jesus knows there’s a storm, there’s no way the storm is as bad as is described and you don’t feel it on some level inside of the ship. Yes, no matter how much the ship is swaying and moving and rocking, Jesus is calmly sleeping.
So what is the difference? Why did Jesus react the way He did and the disciples react the way they did? Simple: Jesus knew that the Father’s will be done, no matter what. He had 100% trust that whatever God means to happen will happen. The disciples said that they had faith and trust in God, and they claimed to follow and trust in Jesus Himself. When the rubber met the road however and the storm rose up and threatened to swallow them up, they woke Jesus up and got the answer they wanted.
They finally convinced Jesus to say “Peace, be still” and calm the storm. But Jesus didn’t stop there, and this is what is important. Jesus turned to the disciples and asked them “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
And that, right there, is the difference in two simple questions between the God we want and the God we need. The God we want makes all of our problems disappear. The God we want bends to our will. The God we want answers to our whims and our whining and our tantrums.
The God we need? The God we need is so much different. The God we need requires us to trust Him to get us through the problem.
Let’s just get real here, ok? If our trust in God only exists to get us out of trouble, if it only exists as long as God does things our way, then our faith isn’t really in God. God is just our get out of trouble free card, not our guide, our way, and our hope!
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
If God is the God we need, then we will praise Him the same way if we’re full or if we’re starving. If we’re sick or healthy. If we’re rich or poor. If we’re strong or weak.
This fact brings me to another Bible Story that, to be honest, needs to be discussed if we’re talking about God being what we need. That is the story of Job. We read about Job in the book named after him. Job was a rich man, and a godly man. In fact, Job was so godly that one day God is sitting on His throne in heaven and the devil walks in and God talks to Him and asks “Hey, devil, how about Job?” God gave the devil permission to do anything he wanted to Job, he was just unable to kill Job.
So Job’s money (he had lots of it) was lost, his animals and property destroyed, his children killed, and his health taken away. In all of these trials, he said two things:
“And said, naked came I out of the my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed by the name of the LORD.”
Secondly, when Job’s friends came and accused him of doing wrong against God, he replied with this:
“Though he slay me, yet shall I trust in Him.”
See, Job knew that, no matter what happened, that God was what he needed and that God’s name is to be praised! Job knew that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than ours. Job understood that our only hope is in God. When times are hard and we don’t see the way out, it just means even more that we need to trust in God.
But Job’s faith didn’t end there. When Job told his friends that he would trust God even if God slay him, he wasn’t just stating trust in God when God was right. Job was telling his friends that he KNEW he had done no wrong before God and would be willing to stand before God and tell God that. Job was saying that even if God was wrong somehow, Job would still trust in God. Job’s faith in God was complete, it had no end.
So, question for us all, do we trust in the God we want only? Or do we trust in the God we need? When we struggle, do we trust in God even when the struggle doesn’t end? Or do we only say we trust in God when its easy and everything is ok?
Do we trust God to be our Provider or do we only trust Him when we feel provided for? Do we still trust in God when the math doesn’t add up and our fridge is empty or do we only trust in Him when we see how our provision is made?
Do we trust in God to be our healer? Or do we turn someplace else the moment He isn’t healing us the way we expect to be healed?
Its time to change church! It is time to change how we look at God, how we trust in God, and how we view everything around us in light of the God we serve! God does not exist to be the God we want, He doesn’t exist to fulfill our whims and desires. No! God exists because He is and the fact of the matter is that the only need in the relationship, really, is our need of Him.
We need Him. We need to learn to be desperate for Him. We need to learn to trust in Him completely because we need to understand that without His provision, His grace, His love, His protection, and His healing we are nothing. NOTHING! We are nothing without God. Without us? God is still God.
So I say though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Because the why’s and the how’s don’t matter, all that matters is that I know God is God and He is in control and what I think and what I say don’t matter.
God, I lay my life in your hands, completely from this day forward. And I will never, ever take it back!