Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Greener Grass

Here's another great excerpt from the upcoming book The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge:

A Helpless God

As a good, orthodox Christian, I like to talk about God’s sovereignty. This term simply means that God is in control of everything. An insect can’t die apart from God letting it happen.

I passionately sing songs that affirm God’s sovereignty. God is my mighty fortress, the Rock of Ages, my help in ages past. When someone is going through a tough time, I pull out my sovereignty sword of Romans 8:28 and remind them (or beat into them?) that God is working all things for good. And truth be told, the doctrine of God’s sovereignty has been a shelter for me in the midst of really hard times. Oh, I know about God’s sovereignty all right.

But many times there’s a short circuit between my knowledge of God and the way I live. I know in my head that God is sovereign and that nothing comes into my life unless he ordains it. I drink coffee from a mug that says “TRUST.” I’m usually rocking God’s sovereignty.

Until my life starts to get hard. Until I get really sick. Until my dreams get put into a holding pattern. Until I don’t have the success for which I was hoping. When these things happen, I want to complain.

When I complain, I’m preaching to myself and everyone else that God is helpless. I’m saying that God doesn’t know what he’s doing when it comes to my life, that God is a new driver behind the wheel of the universe. When I complain, I inform the world that God isn’t very good at running my life. If God knew what he was doing, I wouldn’t be [insert your particular struggle]. Stuck in a dead-end job with an insane boss. Battling a health disorder. Unable to find steady work that will allow me to provide for my family.

The funny thing is, God has proven again and again that he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s proven it first through his Word. In Proverbs 3:5–6 we read, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” God has a detailed blueprint for my life. He knows where I’ve come from, and he knows where I’m headed. These plans are good plans, plans for a good future, plans overflowing with hope. God’s plan for me is overwhelmingly good, and He’ll make it happen. Over and over God assures me through the Scriptures that this is the case.

My experience has also proven that God knows how to run my life. God has always, always, ALWAYS been faithful to me. When the budget has been tight, God has been faithful. When life has been full of stress, God has always met me and strengthened me. In the very little amount of suffering I’ve faced, God has upheld me. God has used all these circumstances to make me more like Jesus. And God has been faithful to you too, hasn’t he?

When I complain, I’m declaring that I serve a helpless, bumbling God. That my life is out of control. That he hasn’t been faithful. That he isn’t using circumstances for good. I’m smearing God’s character and forgetting his past faithfulness. I’m telling the world that God is a pathetic, disorganized deity who can’t seem to get my life straight. I’m telling a lie about God.

~Taken from the upcoming The Greener Grass Conspiracy, copyright (c) 2011, Stephen Altrogge. Published by Crossway.

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