Promise Me Everything Will Work Out
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power . . . 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
I’ve often gone to God, bargaining with him for my will to be done. When life began to fall apart due to my addiction, I begged him to get me out of my mess. I’ll become a missionary in Africa if you just get me out of this! Later, in treatment, I felt God asking me to do whatever it takes daily for the rest of my life to abandon my way for his. I told him I’d follow him if he promised to give me my family and career back. On both occasions, I tried haggling with God, asking him to promise that everything was going to work out according to my specifications. On both occasions, I learned that I had to follow God whether I was promised my way or not.
God didn’t deliver me from facing the consequences of my addiction. I did lose my job and I had to go to treatment. Still, I needed to follow him, even when things didn’t go the way I wanted. Later, in recovery, I did get my family and career back. That wasn’t guaranteed up front though. I had to first follow God, not knowing the outcome. I had to follow him because it was the only right path. My only other option was to follow me, which I knew to be a disaster.
In today’s passage, Paul told the Thessalonians that he prayed that God would continue to transform them into what they were called to be. Paul prayed, asking God for this because he knew there were no guarantees. He knew the Thessalonians could go their own way, abandoning God. Paul knew that things don’t always work out the way we want. So, he prayed, asking for God’s will to be done. Paul had no other reasonable choice but to practice faith in God – So he did.
We often go to God, desiring some guarantee that the future will work out according to our plans. The only thing we’re guaranteed though, is that all will be made right in the afterlife. This takes a lot of faith. The truth is, we don’t know how this life will turn out. We don’t know if our loved ones will find faith and recovery. We don’t know if they’ll be healed from cancer. Still, it is our job to follow God, even when we don’t know what’s going to happen. That is faith – To follow God into the future, trusting that he knows, particularly when we don’t.