When God is Wrong

When God is Wrong

I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

It is not uncommon for the one experiencing painful consequences to cry out to God for deliverance. The one caught up in his disaster often turns to the Bible for reassuring words. Many times, I’ve seen the man in jail or treatment find a passage – such as today’s – that promises hope and deliverance. In his desperate state, he clings to the verse, claiming that God has promised freedom. God told me I’m getting out soon!

When soon has come and gone and the consequences remain, this individual becomes bitter at God. You promised! You gave me that verse but nothing’s changed! Hope turns to resentment as this individual believes that God failed him.

We often do this. We want a thing to be true so badly that we convince ourselves that God wants it too. When we find a Bible verse that corroborates our self-interest, then we’ve found divine reassurance of our plight.

Today’s passage is easy to do this with. In it, God did tell his people – in captivity to the Babylonians – that he would set them free, but that this was not going to happen for another 70 years. He promised his people deliverance, but first, they were going to endure the consequences of their destructive behavior.

When we go to the Bible, we must always seek God’s will instead of our own. It’s not that our will is always wrong, it’s just that our self-interest will misguide us often enough that it’s not a reliable measure of God’s will.

God wants us to bring him our concerns and requests, but today’s passage is not a promise that we always get what we want. Prayer is paradoxically about taking our requests to him, expecting an answer, while also accepting that our desires may not be his desires. We must bend our will to his, not the other way around.

God is never wrong. It is we who are wrong in our misguided, selfish interpretation of his word. If we want to know and live in God’s will, then we must continually abandon our way for his.

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