at odds with God

Are You at Odds with God?

All of us probably have people that we don’t particularly like—those who rub us the wrong way with their attitudes or behavior. These are folks whom we simply prefer to avoid, doing our best to keep them at a comfortable distance. (I’m sure that at least a few others feel the same way about us!)

We all understand, however, that we also can be at odds with someone whom we dearly love. My wife, Debi, and I have been married for over 30 years and, for the most part, it has been a great experience for the both of us. Even so, we have had our seasons of difficulty.

Debi always felt that she should be actively involved with our kids’ every endeavor. That meant providing food, working concession stands, and attending PTA meetings, among other things. I, on the other hand, always felt that our ministry involvements were worthy of a greater emphasis. I still attended the kids’ events and helped as I was able, but Debi and I drew our lines in different places.

photo credit: Southern Foodways Alliance via photopin cc
photo credit: Southern Foodways Alliance via photopin cc

We managed to keep a fairly healthy balance until Debi signed up to help organize the concession stand for our son’s ailing baseball league—which was in a worsening state of decay—without consulting me on her decision. In the blink of an eye, she got sucked into the vortex of everlasting parental obligation. I did not respond well. For two years, that concession stand became a point of contention between us. Even now, years later, our voice levels still rise on those rare occasions when we broach the topic. In spite of our deep love for one another, that dreadful concession stand is an issue that we have never been able to agree upon.

In a similar vein, it is entirely possible for a person to have a deep love for God and still be at odds with His expectations and desires. In this case, however, I refer not to a relationship of equals. God is—and should be—the dominant partner. He always knows best and always has our best interests at heart. Thus, we would all do well to align ourselves with our heavenly Father’s agenda.

Not only are Christians in the Western church often at odds with God, many fail to even recognize the point of deep disagreement. Our heavenly Father expects—even demands—that we trust Him. Because our faith has amazing heavenly value, God will go to great lengths to grow and perfect our trust in Him. We, on the other hand, rarely consider the growth of our faith to be a high priority. Comfort and security are our goals. And what offense we take when God allows anything to hinder the fulfillment of these two ever present desires!

Sadly, it seems that not much has changed with human nature in over 3,500 years. The ancient nation of Israel moaned and complained with each new trial that they faced. Little did they understand the degree to which their agenda conflicted with the Lord’s. The result? An entire generation went to their graves in a barren wilderness.

photo credit: TheeErin via photopin cc
photo credit: TheeErin via photopin cc

The Apostle Paul provided ample warning for New Testament “believers” to avoid ancient Israel’s unfortunate example (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-13). If faith is the foundation of our relationship with the all-knowing King of the Universe, and if we truly love Him with all of our hearts, we will deliberately work to align our expectations with His.

Being at odds with our heavenly Father makes for a highly unpleasant existence on our part. But if we can celebrate His goodness in the face of challenging circumstances, there is no limit to what He will do in and through us!

(This post is loosely based on the content of my new book, Champions in the Wilderness, which can now be viewed in its entirety on our website.)

banner photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc