Friday, January 24, 2014

Quitting God and How God Beckons Us Onward Instead

“Friends, don’t get me wrong: by no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 MSG).

Have you ever tried to “quit” God? I have. Numerous times. Way many more times than I care to admit. But I have. I can empathize with the atheists’ anger towards God. It’s why I understand them so well.

Life never seems to go right for me and my family. It is a constant uphill battle that to me, simply feels like a losing struggle. I often find myself too weak to continue the fight. I just can’t.

A few years ago, the battle waged on for far too long. I had put my trust in God and at that moment, God didn’t show up. I was angry, to put it lightly. I had decided I was done with God. It was finally over between us. Well overdue. I packed all my Bibles, prayer journals, and Christian books into a pile and threw them into a dark, cold attic cabinet. I needed God to see that I meant business, and figured that should have shown Him.

stop talking to me GodBut guess what? I didn’t hear God’s wrath beckon me. Instead, I heard a loving voice beckoning me onward. Granted, at the time, I would stick my hands over my ears (and yes, I’m a mature woman with child-like tantrums) and yell at God, “Stop talking to me God! I’m not listening to you anymore.” But God never shut up. Not once did He stop beckoning me. Relentless love. That’s how King David once described God’s love.

This constant conversation with God continued for about a week until I finally realized God was not going to let me go…thankfully. E. Stanely Jones, in his devotional, Victorious Living, explained it best: “You conquer me with Your persistence” (pg. 24).

Just recently when I was telling this story to a very dear friend of mine who truly has her ear to the Lord’s lips,she  interrupted me with a laugh and declared, “God loves that you expect Him to be who He is.” Right as she said that, I felt the love of God embrace me. I had long forgiven God for this one incident, but now I was carrying a grudge of new gunk and turmoil on my shoulders, only this time I am continually reminded that walking away from God isn’t that simple when you truly know Him. Thankfully God never shuts up, shuts down, or shuts us out. Even when we throw infantile temper tantrums when we don’t get our way.

Have you been trying to quit God recently? Have you thrown away your hope and faith in exchange for bitterness and anger? Stop for a moment and just listen. It’s okay to be angry…even at God. He understands. But He will never, ever leave you, nor forsake you, even if you have separated yourself from Him. He can’t. It’s not who He is, and that’s not how His love works. Just expect instead, that God will be just who He promised He would be in your life.

“O God, I dare not close my heart to you. You conquer me with Your persistence. How glad I am to be found. Thank You. Amen” (E. Stanley Jones, Victorious Living).

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