|Image by Renato Ganoza via Flickr/Creative Commons|
When it comes to my relationship with God I am a complete brat.
When God throws problems and challenges my way I throw tantrums that can rival anything that you've seen from a toddler in the middle of Wal-Mart. You would think that now that I'm well into my 30s I would be more spiritually mature. And sometimes I am. Sometimes I face challenges with a cool head and I respond by calmly and confidently going to God in prayer. But most times I just pitch a fit, as my mom would say.
This month, however, my response to tribulation has gotten even worse. In the past after things have all worked out (because they always work out) I would go to God, ask for forgiveness for my pity party, and then have a praise party instead. But this month I've been so frustrated that even when my trials have been resolved I've continued my complaining. I've asked God why was this obstacle put before me in the first place. (Yeah, I know. I'm awful.) Quickly, I fell back into my old way of thinking. Quickly, I decided that God is angry with me, that God doesn't love me as much as my pastor claims he does.
God is love. That's a phrase so common it's become cliche. But it's a phrase I believe. Sometimes. I repeat this phrase to friends who fear God has turned his back on them because of their sins. I repeat this phrase to gay friends who have heard from their own family members that disgusting saying "God hates fags." And I repeat the phrase "God is love" to friends worried that God won't provide for their needs. And when I tell these friends that God loves them I mean it with every ounce of my being. But I can't seem to mean it when I say it to myself. And when things go wrong in my life I just point to these problems as evidence that God gets a kick out of making my life hard.
But this week during my study of Priscilla Shirer's One In a Million I was reminded that each challenge I face in life is only a test and these tests aren't designed to entertain God like a bad reality TV show. Life's obstacles are there to teach me to fully rely on God, and God wants me to depend on him because it's in my best interest to do so. If I rely on anything or anyone else, including myself, I will be disappointed.
As Shirer writes, "The Lord wants us to thirst not after a quick fix to our problems but after the life-altering refreshment of His provision."
So the next time a problem comes your way, whether big or small, remember this is only a test.