And blessed (happy - with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from outward conditions—and to be envied) is he who takes no offense in Me and who is not hurt or resentful or annoyed or repelled or made to stumble [whatever may occur].
And anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed.”
AMP & HCSB
God did not do things the way I expected. I knew from his word and experience that he was a good God. But all of a sudden he started doing things differently. So differently in fact, that at times they seemed to contradict his word. And although I had tasted and seen he was good, seen his hand in my life many times in the past, experienced the joy of seeing desires of my heart granted to me, saw prayers answered and lived in the manifestation of his presence – I doubted. Why?
First, because I made him to be a God He was not. I expected him to rescue me when I felt I needed rescuing, heal me when I felt I needed healing, deliver me when I felt I needed delivering, open doors when I thought they should be opened, intervene in circumstances that I felt he should be intervening in. I didn’t serve God, he was serving me. Whether we want to admit it or not many of us have created a God that, unbeknownst to us, is suppose to answer to us like a genie. His word clearly states:
“I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
Isaiah 55:8 (MSG)
When he didn’t work the way I would’ve, I assumed he failed me and did not keep his promises.
Second, after being devastated by certain events in my life, I became angry and afraid. Instead of running to him and clinging to what I knew, regardless of what I felt, I became offended. God hurt my feelings! He didn’t do what I expected him to do, he let me suffer. He did nothing while I was hurting and going through some very difficult circumstances and then he leaves?!?! How can I trust him now?
I equated God’s faithfulness and goodness with the fulfillment of certain promises and a change in circumstances at some point in my life. I was not much different than John The Baptist. While in jail he sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus if he was truly the Messiah or if they should expect another? This is the same man who declared Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of man. This is the same man who heard God’s voice declare that Jesus was his son and that he was pleased with him. This is also the same man who saw the heavens open and saw the Holy Spirit descend over Jesus like a dove. How could he now doubt? Was it possibly because he thought he got a raw deal? Jesus answered his questions by telling John’s disciples to tell John that people were being healed, the blind could see, captives were being set free and the good news was being preached to the poor, and that those who are not offended with his way of doing things - is blessed. (Matthew11:1-11 & Luke 7:18-28)
Maybe John expected to be with Jesus and even rewarded. Perhaps he expected to be one of the disciples and be second in command. He certainly did not expect to be jailed and beheaded. He doubted the very things he knew were a fact during a very devastating time in his life, where in human terms he got the short end of the stick. It appeared that God was unfair to him even after he followed the Lord wholeheartedly. However, Jesus goes on to say that there will never be another prophet like him. Though not specified, I believe John understood the message Jesus sent him through the disciples and that he chose to believe and not take offense at his lot. I guarantee you that immediately after his beheading he heard the words “well done my good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21)
As for me, after years of waiting I saw no specific promises fulfilled and no change in circumstances. See I expected my trials to be temporary. But my temporary and God’s temporary can be very different; to the extent that we may need to suffer/endure through certain things our entire lifetime. Yet to God our eighty to one hundred years of life is very temporary when compared to eternity. I, like John, questioned God. Though my struggle with him lasted longer than John’s, I finally decided it is better to serve him and surrender to his ways, even if I do not agree or understand, than to live a life without him. Living without him was not an option. Like Moses I cried:
"If your presence is not going [with us], don't make us leave this place.”
Exodus 33:15 GWT
While many Christians believe that we will have times of trial and suffering many of us do not believe or can even conceive that our entire life may consist of it. In Romans 8:17 we are told that in order to share his inheritance we must first share his suffering.
And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.
What kind of life did Jesus the Son of God live?
He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.
Isaiah 53:3 AMP
So what makes us think we would live a different life?
When we find ourselves in this place we have two choices:
1. Let go of our offense – forgive God for hurting our feelings and not allow his ways to offend us because he doesn’t think like we do – remember? By forgiving God I mean letting go - because his ways are sometimes offensive to us, he told us they would be. We also need to admit how we are feeling and ask him to forgive us and help us – he will!
2. Dig your heels and sulk in the offense.
The first option draws you to him and will lead to healing while the latter will create a great rift between you and God and lead you to the dangerous valley of unbelief. I know, I was there and I never ever want to go back!
My circumstances have not changed, I have yet to see those promises fulfilled in the natural and some of my wounds still ache but I am living proof that healing, restoration, wholeness, joy and peace await those who choose to let go. I am truly blessed because I have not been offended because of him.
Which will you choose?
Did I hear You?