I have always been a square peg in the round hole of faith. If I lived 1000 years ago I would be burned at the stake. That is OK, I like barbeque.
Yesterday I got an email from a customer who works at a Christian University in Lakeland Florida (yes, that one). She was asking for customer service. In her signature block was this quote:
If you are going through a hard time today, if things look impossible, don’t give up now. Change your perspective and believe that God is working behind the scenes. Put a smile on your face and stand in confidence knowing that you are a child of the Most High God. Stand strong in the Lord today and trust that what the enemy meant for your harm, God will turn around and use to your advantage. He’ll take you places you never dreamed and cause you to rise higher and higher in every area of your life! (Joel Osteen)
Now I think she meant well and thought she was using this as an evangelism tool. But I would just love to see how the Lawrd would use it to his advantage if I put a brick through Joel’s ever loving skull (actually, that might work). Did I offend you? I hope so. Because I find this kind of crap offensive.
When I see stuff like this I just wonder if the person has really been faced with real tragedy. Yes God is always with us. Yes, he works things to HIS good. But His good and my good and my general wellbeing may be two entirely different things.
When I see something like this, I infer the following subtext:
Oh, are you going through a tuff time? Well suck it up. Plaster on a smile and pretend that you are happy that God is allowing this to happen to you. Your sorrow is a real buzz kill. If you just pretend to be happy enough, eventually God will allow you to prosper materially and allow you to donate more to my ever-loving ministry.
Real people face real tragedy all the time. And there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that you are in pain. I just wonder what the PollyAnnic bunch makes of Psalms Ecclesiastes not to mention most of the prophets.
“God never gives us more than we can handle.” Hogwash! Not only does God give us more than we can handle, I think He does it routinely. Pain and suffering are just part of life. I seriously doubt whether He gives a rat patoot whether or not I am successful. I do believe he wants me to be a man of character and compassion, a man who depends on Him utterly. Whether I achieve some pulp writer’s lofty ideals, are likely of no concern to Him.
Here is to being overwhelmed and utterly dependant!