what’s the point in following God if this is how it goes?

whats-the-point-in-following-god-if-this-is-how-it-goes

Do you ever seem to struggle when you see non-Christians excelling in something and you wonder why it’s not going as well for you?  I know that God isn’t a Genie…. I just question sometimes why it’s so hard for me and not for others who aren’t Christians.

This is the question that showed up in my inbox recently and quite frankly, I loved it.  It’s the question deep within many of us as we try to make sense of our spiritual lives in a broken world.

I sat with a group of my favorite women today and we talked about this same question and conceded that we each within our context and struggles are wrestling with these same questions.

I don’t have all the answers but here was my response to this question:

The answer is “yes”  I have struggled with that same question.  Here’s some thoughts I have:

First of all, apart from Jesus’ work in our lives, we are all basically the same.  Obviously not literally the same, but we’re all same in that we have strengths and weaknesses.  Before I got saved, I was bad at math.  After I got saved, I was bad at math.  That seems a bit simplistic but the fundamental concept carries over to lots of areas.  Every person has their own unique strengths and weaknesses apart from their spiritual status.  

With that being said, sometimes it just seems like everything is going right for someone who is an unbeliever and not for us—so what gives?  Why aren’t we experiencing “God’s favor” when we’re the ones that supposedly actually have it?  

gods-favor-isnt-determined-by-comparing-myself-to-another-person-but-by-whether-im-yielding-to-gods-work-in-my-lifeThis is where we have to take a step back and consider our definition of “success” or “God’s favor”?  You see there are times when things are harder for us because if they weren’t we might be tempted to think we were competent to handle our lives apart from God’s intervention.  I’ve come to realize after numerous cycles of going through this with God that when I watch a non-Christian “succeed” at something I’m struggling in, it actually IS God’s favor and provision because God is at work in my heart–transforming me.

You see, my definition of success or God’s favor isn’t determined by comparing myself to another person but by whether I’m yielding to God’s work in my life.

Unfortunately, these particular circumstances happen to be the Enemy’s playground.  He whispers lies and schemes to deceive us into believing God is less than good and question “what’s the point in following God if this is how it goes?”  Satan is a master at deception and discouragement.

what-do-you-know-is-true-about-godIn these moments our best move is ask God to reveal to us truth.  God is ALWAYS honest.  Consider what you know is true about God.  Begin seeking God and asking Him to disclose to you what He wants to show you through this circumstance and then lean in.  Trust that He is doing His powerful work in you, even if you can’t see it.  

God has big Kingdom purposes and they may even involve that unbeliever and His desire to use you to reach them.  

What About You?
Have you found yourself questioning God’s ways?  Wanting life to be fair in a broken, fallen world? You’re not alone.  Many of us have asked these same questions.

The most important response is turning our focus to God.  When we wonder away, we become blinded to truth, confident in our skewed perspective and opinions and we miss God-sized work that is good and right.

How has God revealed Himself to you when you found asking these questions?  Did you go to Him for answers or did you look for them elsewhere?  Have you wandered away because things weren’t going your way?  I’d love to chat and hear your story!  Send me a message or leave a comment!

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how to really help your husband

I’m married to a pastor which means that life is a little different from some people’s.  However, marriage for a pastor and his wife isn’t different because at the core it still involves a sinful man and a sinful woman.  We struggle with many of the same things other couples do.  You see, I’m first married to a man not a pastor. So, when I received this question by email from a reader and also a fellow minister’s wife, I realized her question applied to nearly all of us old married folks, and I thought you might benefit from our interaction with one another.

Here's the Question:
how do you deal with people in the church criticizing your husband? When (if) you can tell it sometimes really gets to him, how do you encourage him? 
Here's My Response:
As to your question about your husband and people’s criticism.  There isn’t a straightforward answer here.  First of all, you have to come to accept and expect critical people.  Some of them are even well-meaning, believe it or not, but they just don’t have a clue.  I’ve had to really pray for God’s eyes for them and trust that just as He is doing a work in me, He is doing it in them, as well.  Just as I resist that work, so do they.  So, first, pray that God will give you His eyes for those people.  (easier said than done, btw)  I would also add that my husband often reminds me that with every criticism is usually some truth.  We have to be discerning to dig that truth out and disgard the rest.

williamsAs far as encouraging your husband when you know it’s getting to him.  Be a student of your husband.  What encourages me doesn’t encourage my husband.  I tend to try to encourage him in the ways that I want to be encouraged and though it’s meant well, it doesn’t really do the trick.  If you & your husband haven’t been through Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages you should.  Really learn how you can love your husband in a way that he receives it.  As a minister’s wife, my goal has always been to provide a safe, encouraging environment for my husband to come home to.  Over the course of 14 years, I’ve learned that in order for him to receive it that way, I have to be super-intentional.  For my husband, it is physical affection and words of affirmation.  I have to make an intentional point to try to verbally be his biggest cheerleader and to constantly be touching, hugging, and meeting his physical needs.  He can deal with a lot outside our home when his needs are met inside our home.

Now It's Your Turn:
When your husband experiences criticism at his job or elsewhere and you can tell it bothers him…how do you encourage him?  What would be some ideas you might add from your experiences in marriage?

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