Let me start this with the bad news….I am about to be homeless. I have been out of work since just before Christmas (5 days before to be exact), and I have come to the end of being able to support myself and my family of six. Initially, I have been able to support my family through the cashing in of a 401K account. That lasted a couple of months, and I have since subsisted on my wife’s very meager income, some very odd temporary jobs, and the generosity of some amazing friends. Well, that is all gone, and I find myself with no help, and no hope of deliverance from this inevitability in my life. Believe me, I have done EVERYTHING!!!! I have applied to literally over 200 jobs! I have applied at fast food restaurants, and temp services. I am registered with 6 temp services!!!! I have sought help with social service organizations and charities to no avail!
The Question Arises:
After reading this, someone might be inclined to say, “Have you sought the Lord about this?” The answer is an EMPHATIC, RESOUNDING, “YES!” I have sought the Lord consistently since I lost my job. I have made sure that my relationship is right with the Lord, my family, and everyone that I know. I have repented of sins that I did and didn’t commit, just to cover everything! I have asked God to show me if there’s ANYTHING He needs me to make right, so that He is not hindered in my life! I told God that I will do anything He asks of me. So WHY is God not helping me? I am about to lose EVERYTHING! Literally!
What people say/What people think.
So many have approached me during this trial, and have said, “Don’t worry. You’re not gonna lose everything. God is gonna bless you. God is gonna provide a job, a blessing, a way out, etc.” I have “claimed” all these things. I have told God I trust Him. I have tried to encourage myself in the Lord….I have told my wife, “Don’t worry. God’s gonna provide a job that will keep us.”…..
I have also seen the looks. I have seen those who will not say it, but it’s obvious what they are thinking. “Why can’t you get a job?” “Why can’t you support your family?” “Are you some kind of bum?” “Do you just not wanna work?”
I have dealt with all of this…
Struggling with God
Through seeking God, I have found myself asking the question “WHY” quite often. I’m yelling at God, saying, “WHY won’t you help me, God?!!! “WHY is this happening to me, God!!!?” “WHY can’t I support my family, God?!!!” “Don’t you understand what’s going on , God?!!” “Where are you, God?” “I THOUGHT you were gonna rescue me, God!”
And then I realized..
I have a skewered view of who God is, and what He does! I have told people in tough situations, “God will do this or that.”God won’t allow this or that to happen.” I have presumed what God would do, and yet He didn’t do it. Sometimes I was right, but mostly I was wrong! So, has God just suddenly decided to abandon me, or to not hold true to His character? Has God forgotten His own word? Am I in the wrong, or is God? After all, the Bible says that “My God shall supply all your needs..” (Phil 4:19) and “He will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb 13:5) and ” He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we ask or think” (Eph 3:20) What about this? “I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging for bread” (Ps 37:25). There are more, but these will do. I’ll ask again. Has God abandoned His word? Has God totally left me to myself? Is God not really who His word says He is? What about this? “For you have magnified your word above your name” (Ps 138:2) Has God betrayed His character?
The answer here is a resounding, EMPHATIC, NO! God has not, nor ever will change! (Mal 3:6) His character is intact! (Heb 13:8) His love is unending! (Rom 8:35-39) So, if that’s the case, what’s the problem?
Where the rubber meets the road
Since God is perfect, does not change, still loves me in spite of myself, and gives promises to me in His word, then WHY oh WHY would He allow me to go through this trial?
I think the problem is that I have viewed Christianity through American glasses for too long. Trials are going to come to all. The Bible clearly let’s lets us know.(Jn 16:33, Phil 1:29, 2 Tim 3:12) Americans live in a bubble. We think we are going through a trial if we get made fun of at work for being a Christian. We think we are going through a trial if our order gets messed up at the Clown Burger drive-thru. We think we are going through a trial if we get a cold. And, we’ve grown so fat and accustomed to the blessings of God, that we have lost sight of Him. We won’t admit it, but we serve Him based upon the blessings we receive, and not on who He is! And our preaching is “God’s gonna bless you!” “God’s not gonna allow A, B,C, or D!” “Don’t claim it brother, sister!” We also put trials into two categories. Either a person is going through a trial because they’re in sin, and God’s chastising them, or it’s the devil’s fault! And, if it IS the devil, then we need to “REBUKE HIM, IN JESUS NAME!”W I don’t doubt that these two situations CAN exist, more often than not, it is just due to the fact that we live in a fallen world, and bad things happen! In America, we’ve become so accustomed to the blessings of God, that we almost DARE Him to give us hardship! And when He does, we are quick with the “WHY”S!!! We base our status as Christians upon how blessed we are or are not. And we compare ourselves with other Christians, for better or for worse! But we FORGET that the storms of life come to EVERYONE! In Matthew 7, (vs. 24-27) we are told about two houses. One is obviously the saved, and one is obviously the unsaved. However, the key thing that we often miss when reading this passage is that the STORMS OF LIFE come to BOTH!!!
I spoke of American Christianity before as opposed to Christianity elsewhere. The problem with American Christianity is that we think we are untouchable. We think that we will always be well fed, well clothed, healthy, wealthy and wise. Again, we almost DARE God to allow us to suffer! We have NEVER suffered like some of our brethren around the world! It is inconceivable to us! We must have forgotten that God tests our faith…I would argue,You will NEVER hear a sermon from ANY prosperity false prophet on these passages! (Ps 11:4, 1 Pet 1:6-9) Our doctrine, if it is true to God’s word, MUST work throughout the whole world! FYI..God didn’t write a different meaning to the American church than He did to the rest of the Church scattered throughout the world! In America , we believe that God has, and always will bless us! We cannot wrap our minds around poverty, sickness, famine, homelessness, and I dare say, instant answers to microwave prayers! There are Christians in other countries who are homeless! There are Christians in other countries that cannot get enough food to feed themselves or their families! There are Christians in other countries who don’t have access to clean water, utilities, or even basic needs!!! Why??? Do they lack the faith??? I once saw a story of a PASTOR in the Sudan, who STARVED to death because he was giving HIS food away to his congregation!!! We would look at him, and without saying it, call him stupid!!!Didn’t that Pastor read Psalm 37:25??? Or maybe, it is US who got it wrong!!! Maybe we need to reexamine where we are in the faith!!! (2 Cor 13:5) Maybe we need to search our hearts. Are we trusting Christ for what He has done or is doing for us? Or are we trusting Christ for who He is? WHY are we REALLY serving God????
I confess that I’ve been struggling with this since I lost my job! I have been doing ALL the things I spoke of! And, if anything good can come out of this for me, it is that my situation has FORCED me to rethink where I REALLY stand on trusting God, and in finding that He is the same as He’s ALWAYS been, and that He hasn’t left me…He has just allowed this trial in my life!!!
I’m going to be homeless. NOTHING, apart from a sheer miracle can stop that now!!! I’m not saying that God can’t provide a miracle…I’m accepting that He probably won’t.. It’s not a lack of faith on my part…It’s a confident trust, that though He allows me to go through this, He will go with me through the midst of it!!! I am gonna lose EVERYTHING!! But I will gain that simpleness of faith again!
God has allowed my worst fears to come true…But I believe whatever deliverance that WILL come, if it does at all, will come on the other side of homelessness. At that point, my fear will truly be gone. We all have probably prayed, ” God, I’ll serve you no matter what!.” But we don’t REALLY mean that! I found this to be true in my own life! When God tested me on the “no matter what”, I faltered. But now, as I prepare for the seemingly inevitable, I declare now with CONVICTION AND PASSION. GOD, I WILL SERVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT!!!! I wrote all of this because I ABSOLUTELY needed to! I am on NO WAY asking for sympathy! I wrote it because I am Repenting of my skewered view of God, and for an encouragement to all of you! No matter what you go through…God is, and will ALWAYS be God! He will ALWAYS be GOOD, ALWAYS be JUST, and ALWAYS LOVE US!!! Let us love Him the same!!