Facing Failure

There is a kind of doubt that goes hand-in-hand with faith in God. We experience it when we’re facing failure. We know that we depend on God. We know that He is the great I Am. He is attuned to our needs, and has promised to be our fortress and our refuge. Yet when we’re facing failure, we’re not feeling very protected. We feel like we’re all alone. That’s when we have a tendency to think, “Well, God’s not here.”

We humans are “show me” types. We need to see evidence. So when bad things happen, we might think that He’s left us. This is painful, and in our pain we take it further. We think, “I have to get through this but He’s not here. So who do I depend on? I’m going to have to depend on myself. And if I have to depend on myself, then why depend on God in the first place? If He’s even real, that is. I mean, I can’t even see Him, and this bad thing is happening!” Sound familiar?

I’ve dealt with that. I dealt with it in baseball. Nothing’s a sure thing in that game. You don’t ever know. They say it’s a game of failure, but everything is based on success. I had to succeed for teams to want me to play, and to succeed, I had to depend on so many things. I had to depend on making the right pitches. I had to depend on the hitter to hit the ball to the defense. I had to depend on the defense to make the play. It was really tough when I wasn’t succeeding.

No matter what you do, in baseball or any other undertaking, you have to depend on so many things for it to go right. And when it doesn’t, you wonder about God.

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. (Prov. 16:9)

That’s what the Bible says, but sometimes it’s so hard to deal with. We have a certain way that we want things to go. If things don’t go the way we want them to, then we wonder if God’s even there. When we’re struggling, or we feel out of control, or we are failing ourselves and others, we want to feel better. Even though we know that God sees the whole picture, it’s really hard to surrender to His wisdom.

Sometimes it’s just so hard to believe that things are going to turn out okay. Instead we start wondering, “Do I believe in a God who’s not there?” Or we ask, “If He’s real, then why is this happening? Where is He?” In our fear, we decide to take control. We decide to rely on ourselves. We quit leaning on Him. We quit believing in Him. We doubt Him.

We forget that He’s got us!

There’s no shame in this. When you read the Bible, you realize that you’re in very good company. Our Biblical ancestors had to deal with doubt all the time, and their stories have a lot to teach us. We’ll look at this next time. See you Tuesday.

Kingdom Mindset

One of the biggest problems we have, you, me, lots of us, is that we’re control freaks. The problem with control freaks is we want to decide what we’re going to do with our lives. Based on some expectation or another, we say, “God, this is my plan! This is what I want to do! And this is how it’s going to go down. Let’s get going!” When it doesn’t happen, we feel let down. We’re disappointed by God because He didn’t give us what we wanted.

Disappointment’s okay. It is. David was disappointed. The disciples were disappointed. I’m sure you can think of plenty of times when you could have said, “God disappointed me.” It’s not an issue. You only feel disappointment because you were anticipating something, and He didn’t give it the way you thought He would. It’s not a sin to be disappointed in God, and He’s not going to reject you for it. 

Disappointment is a natural emotion. But with God a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day. He is not slow, He is patient. Your story has already been written! And according to scripture, He is very pleased. He knows that you’re going to be disappointed in Him along the way. “But I’ve seen the end,” He says, “and it’s very good. When you accepted Christ as your savior, when you called me Almighty God, I called you beloved child and brought you into my Kingdom. Now walk in the understanding of who I am.”

You feel anxious? Stop! Cast all your anxiety on the King, man, cast it all on Him. It needs to leave! Holy and righteous people are not anxious. Anxious for what? God says, “Be anxious for nothing! But by everything, pray.” Ask Him. He will answer you. Say, “God, I feel anxious about this. I need you to answer me. I’m going to trust you to answer me, and I’m going to walk away from this anxiety right now. I’m going to trust that you’re going to make it okay.”

Think about the first believers in the first churches. They were getting persecuted and killed. Their kids were killed because they believed in God. Still they said, “I don’t deny Him.” They knew that to live is Christ and to die is gain.

God says to you, “Right now you’re living for me. If somebody dies, they’re gaining a lot more than they’re losing.” Hard on the soul. Hard on your heart, yes. That’s your humanity. But man, Kingdom mindset is understanding that you are who God says you are. Not who everybody else says you are, or says you should be. You’re holy and righteous, period. That’s it.

Every day, remind yourself. “I am holy and righteous.” Live in that mindset. Fear will leave you. Anxiety will leave you. Disappointment will leave you. It will. It will creep in from time to time, sure. You’re human. When it does, remind yourself that’s not who you are. You can choose to live in fear, but that’s not who you are. You can choose to commit a sin, but that’s not who you are. You are His, His precious child.

That’s who God says you are.