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God for President

God for President

They tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?” Exodus 17:7

As you know, it’s an election year – a time when we must endure all-too-frequent campaign commercials, promising that a candidate will do what we want. They campaign, making promises, because to get where they want to go, they need our support. They need us to believe in them. So, we weigh them in our minds. Does this candidate stand for the things I believe in? Is he (or she) on my side? If so, then I’m willing to be on his side. In a democracy, the will of the people is meant to collectively rule.

I’ve often approached God this way. When faced with any trial, I go to God, letting him know exactly how I’d like it handled. Then, I sit back and watch. If his performance meets my expectations, then I approve of him and the job he’s doing. Good job God. I’m on your side because you’re on mine. If, however, he doesn’t do what I want, my enthusiasm for God wanes and maybe I even begin to doubt him. Why, God? Don’t you care? Maybe you don’t love me or maybe you don’t exist. My faith grows or diminishes based solely on whether God does what I want.

God though, isn’t a politician and faith isn’t a democracy. This seems to be the lesson that God attempted to teach his people in today’s passage. In the story, as the Israelites searched for water in the wilderness, they grumbled, questioning if God was with them. Tired and thirsty, they forgot that God had just delivered them from Egyptian slavery, and they even longed to go back. They treated God like a politician who needed their support to remain in power and they mistakenly thought that their will ruled – that God existed for their purposes. God though, wasn’t on the campaign trail, hoping that they’d vote for him. Rather, he was teaching them dependence on him so that they’d learn to daily follow his will above their own.

Most of us have been here. However immature it may be, this is the starting place of faith. When we first approach God, we go to him seeking what he can do for us. We pray with an expectation that God answers every prayer as we see fit. When he doesn’t, we threaten disbelief. If you won’t do what I want, then what good is faith? I’m done with you. God’s position though, as God, is secure, and our support doesn’t change that. Maturity of faith means learning that he’s in control – we’re not. A mature faith looks to God’s will in the trial. God, I’m struggling. Here’s what I desire, but I also desire to follow your will. What do you want me to do? We often go to God, demanding that he fix our trials. God though, frequently intends to use our trials to fix us. Faith isn’t a democracy and we aren’t in charge – God is. The sooner we accept that, the better.

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