What do we do when what we believe about God doesn’t line up with what we see?
This. This has been the question that I’ve been asking God, myself, my therapist, my friends, for a few years now.
If you believe in God in any way, and you haven’t asked this question, I am not here to jinx you. I’m just telling you; it’s gonna happen.
We believe what we have been told. What we read in the Bible. What we have even experienced firsthand. God’s faithfulness, His goodness, His protection, His love, His strength.
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know now that almost four years ago, my sweet stepdad fought a very quick battle with cancer and went to meet Jesus before we were ready. This is what began the new chapter of my life. I have asked God so many questions since then.
If You can heal, why didn’t You?
Do You actually hear my prayers?
Do You really mean that You care about me?
What about the rest of the world’s heartache? Are we just doomed for tragedy forever?
How can God be so good when everything around us feels so awful?
Spoiler: I have no answers for you. What I do have is three and a half years of prayer and therapy, which have led me to actual faith and trust in a God that I can’t understand most of the time.
Fast forward to about three weeks ago. There’s a new song out called “Too Good to Not Believe.” Have you heard it? If not, go search for it on Youtube or Spotify. You won’t regret it. The very first line of the bridge is this: “I’ve seen cancer disappear…” and the bridge basically recounts the miracles of God.
I have the ridiculous privilege of leading worship at my church. It’s one of my favorite things I get to do for Jesus. I listened to the song. I prepared all week. And for about six days in a row, I wondered how on earth I could stand on a stage and sing those words into a microphone. Because over and over in my head, I thought, “But God, You didn’t do it.” I am a straight hypocrite. Standing on a stage leading other people in a song with words that I can’t actually believe.
Our church has three gatherings each Sunday. With rehearsal, we probably sang the song five to six times. I won’t lie to you, I don’t remember which time it happened. But during one of the gatherings, when the line came, and I sang, “I’ve seen cancer disappear,” God reminded me:
What we see as an ending is a true beginning.
The truth is, I did see cancer disappear. Not in the way I wanted to. When we ask God for healing, we are asking for it on our terms. To keep our loved ones on earth. When the truth is this:
“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for HIm to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same power with which He will bring everything under His control.”Philippians 3:20-21 NLT
There are a million verses to choose from that remind us that this earth is not our home. We know we are living for eternity someday, but someday seems so very far away. We ask God for so many things that we believe are best. We ask for jobs and families and freedom from sickness and pain. I believe in God’s goodness and mercy. I believe He loves to give us good things. But at the end of the line, eternity is filled with every good thing, because it is where He is.
How could I be disappointed that my loved one is with Jesus? He is surrounded by love and majesty and glory. Forever and ever.
Well, I’m human. That’s why I’m disappointed. And that’s why you’re disappointed. God is not asking us not to acknowledge our losses or even ask questions about how He chooses to answer us.
But I’ll be honest with you; we are just so short-sighted. We have lost sight of the prize. We’ve lost sight of what God has found important. It isn’t comfort or happiness that makes us more like Him; it’s suffering.
“We view our slight, short-lived troubles in light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.”2 Corinthians 4:17-18 TPT
I don’t know what it is for you. I don’t know what Bible verse you’ve read or worship song you’ve sung that just hits your heart wrong and makes you question if you really believe God. My challenge for you is not to necessarily pray harder or worship more. When what you see doesn’t line up with what you believe, here is what God tells us to do:
Ask Him why. Ask Him how He wants to reveal Himself to you through it. Ask Him what He wants to show you. Ask Him to give you a bigger perspective; to zoom out on the every day of the pain of your life and to see your situation how He sees it.
If I have learned nothing else about God these past three years, I know this for sure: He is good. He is everything else He claims to be, too. But sometimes we forget about the goodness. Sometimes we keep an arm’s length out because He is a Holy Father who simply knows best. He is; but He is near and He is present and He is personal.
What have you been afraid to ask?
“How bold and free we then become in His presence, freely asking according to His will, sure that He’s listening. And if we’re confident that He’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours.”1 John 5:15 MSG