What I Want and What God Wants
He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. Matthew 27:42
I recently read about the tragic story of a megachurch pastor, whose struggle with depression ended in suicide. I’m ashamed to admit this, but my first impulsive thought was, He must not have been living by faith as he should have, or this wouldn’t have happened. I know nothing of the man, but there I sat, a thousand miles away, judging this man’s walk with God because he struggled.
This thought of mine exposed a common flaw in our faith. Whether we realize it or not, we often believe that God’s job is to make the world work out the way we think it should. Christians should have an easier life than everyone else and shouldn’t struggle with things like depression, right? What good is following God if he doesn’t make life easier for us?
This kind of thinking apparently isn’t new. Those who mocked Christ at his crucifixion felt comfortable in their position because they knew that if Jesus really was the son of God, then he couldn’t die that way. In their perverted logic, if they could kill him, then he wasn’t the messiah and he deserved to die. If he really was the messiah, then God would allow nothing bad to happen to him. God doesn’t allow bad things to happen to those who follow him.
In our profound self-centeredness, we mistakenly think God exists for our luxury. God though, has his own plan which is often at odds with ours. Jesus wanted to avoid the cross, but it was God’s plan for him to go through with it. God absolutely loves us but that doesn’t mean he exists for our idea of comfort. It is usually only in trials and pain that we grow. If God made our lives perfect, we’d never change, and he’d never hear from us again.
God desires for me to recognize my need for him daily. It’s only in that need that I learn to abandon my way and follow him. God allows some struggles just so I may learn to drag them before him, depending on him every day. Paradoxically, it is often only in my struggle that I find God, experiencing true faith, joy, peace, and eternal life.