Not so long ago, I used to believe that God was not good enough for me. Because I was a believer and I “had the mind of Christ”, nothing I could possibly want would be outside of God’s will for my life. And I wanted stuff. God was secondary.
The level of self-obsession and pride required to believe such a thing is ghastly. It’s also very works-based thinking. If I did not get healthy, wealthy or important enough (for my taste) it was because I failed on some level. I didn’t say the right things, I didn’t have enough faith, I didn’t give the right amount of money. If I had sufficiently provided for my own well-being by checking all of the boxes and doing all the right things and still nothing had happened, it was because I was “asking wrongly” per James chapter four.
One day I had to go a double check James 4 just to be on the safe side. I realized that nothing in that whole passage refers to prayer at all. It’s about how we deal with people – prayer isn’t even addressed. Oops.
Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that most important thing to God is God’s glory. It is not my bank balance, my car, my house or my wardrobe.
Realizing that my previously held conviction was not true was a very harsh reality for me; a little bit like Neo choosing the red pill and waking up after being unplugged from the Matrix. Very much a “Wait. This is reality? Cause this SUCKS.” Clearly I knew best, being the center of my own universe. A world where the Creator of the universe would dare say no or later to me? How absurd! (Ok, I never actually thought that, I’m exaggerating.)
Frankly, I did not know where to go from there. God being sovereign meant that some things automatically did not need to be worried about. But it also meant that the Gospel is not “Jesus came to make Victoria happy”. The Gospel is more like “Jesus Christ came to save sinners of whom I am chief.”
My pastor likes to say, “God is only and always gracious and good,” specifically after he gets a “no” as an answer to prayer. But I was having a small crisis of faith because suddenly I did not know if I could trust God with my happiness.
I was missing a very important piece of the puzzle. The real question was never “Why is God not good enough to make me happy?” but instead, “Why is God alone not enough?” Because isn’t that what we’re saying when we decide we need X, Y and Z along with salvation for it to be worth our time? How arrogant. How disrespectful. We are well deserving of nothing but hell. Anything other than that is the massive mercy of God.
It seems so laughable in retrospect but I was highly concerned with my happiness. Turns out Jesus wasn’t as concerned about it as I was. Or at all.
The struggle became trusting that God was right in not being concerned with my happiness. It was a little depressing, I must be honest. It was a long, dark road to come to the conclusion that the work of Jesus on the cross and the Holy Spirit both raising Jesus from the dead and dwelling in me was more than enough.
That’s always always always the Gospel. That the will of God in sending Jesus and the Holy Spirit was more than enough for me. That I could find more joy in Jesus’ work on the cross and the Holy Spirit’s work in my daily life than I could in dictating to God my own health, wealth and happiness.
I’m still working this out. I won’t pretend that I suddenly have it down pat. Because that’s just funny. Or sad. Either way. It’s a process – a day by day, minute by minute surrendering of my pride and asking the Holy Spirit to help me to trust that God is always good. He is both sovereign and good.