Messiah Fail

We all have big plans for God. Big plans.

More often than I’d care to admit, I want God to do what I want, when I want and in the way I want. I know that sounds crass, but I am really good at baptizing the reasons I want God to do something.

photoWhen you pray ‘in Jesus name’ for something that doesn’t happen, it’s hard not see it as a Messiah fail. I mean, sure we’ve all prayed that Jesus would return before finals, but I’m talking about the kind of things that really hit us deeply.

I can remember one of those painful times. I was an 18yr old running back and I got a letter from the University of Western. They invited me to explore their football program and less than a month later, my knee was dangling from it’s ligaments. I wasn’t a superstar, but when you’re 18 and you get a letter from a big school, you’re sure you are – even if 100 running backs got the same letter. Both my idol and my knee collapsed and my identity crisis set it.

My doctor told me football was over, and so immediately I began my attempts to bribe God with my ‘goodness.’ I prayed, fasted and went to a healing meeting at a church. I was committed to having God serve my agenda and heal me, so I did everything in my power to ‘grow my faith’ for a miracle. God can do a miracle whenever He chooses – He is sovereign. I was disillusioned, depressed and exhausting myself by continually ‘believing for’ something that Jesus was supposed to give me if I stood on the Word and did the right things. My faith and obedience was supposed to obligate God to heal me … or so I thought. I spent a decade trying to tell God what to do in Jesus name before finally conceding to the fact that I wasn’t God.

Though I believe in the sovereignty of God – I want to be God. I think my ideas are better than His. I would have healed me at 18.

Well friends, we’re not the first to try and make God a mascot to human agenda.

The disciples did this. They had plans for Jesus. Big plans.

After Christ’s death, the disciples were all devastated that they had trusted in Jesus and they were convinced that he had failed them. They had big plans for Jesus … like overthrowing Rome and restoring Israel via a new Davidic kingdom. [1]

They interpreted the cross as a Messiah fail. Christ on a cross was, in their minds, the worst possible scenario. Three days later they would learn that it was the best possible scenario.

When we expect God to operate on our agenda, and He doesn’t deliver, we question if He’s aware of our suffering. We often doubt His existence – just like Christ’s disciples wrestled with their Messiah fail. We’ve all shaken our fists to the sky more than once. Friends: I have good news.

Christ speaks to our doubts, His gospel confronts our doubts and He dispels our doubts.

He infuses us with a supernatural strength that propels worship – regardless of our circumstances.

Christ comes to us in our doubt 
Time and time again, the bible shows us that God is for us sinners. The line for His grace reads “sinners only.” [2] When Jesus appears to His disciples he says, “Peace!” not “what the heck is wrong with you guys!” [3]

They’re devastated because of the perceived Messiah fail and they’re thinking: “what did we do wrong? … what did we miss? … is God with us? …” Christ can handle your doubt. (Less than 50 days after Peter’s denial of Christ, Peter is preaching Christ)

Christ addresses our doubt
The gospel cures the nearsightedness that so often accompanies our suffering. It becomes all we can see. He addresses our doubt head-on with His gospel: this life is not all there is. [4]

The gospel isn’t “hang on til eternity.” But rather, “you have indestructible hope now because of eternity.” The gospel is not simply our entrance to faith, but it’s the very power by which we live it out. [4b] It’s oxygen when we are drowning in hard times.

Christ delivers us from our doubt
If we don’t have hope and strength for suffering, then our gospel is no gospel. Whether you believe in Christ or not, life is full of suffering. Science has not come up with a solution for death. The gospel promise is this: Just as Christ’s glory came through suffering, this is the pattern of our lives as well. Our suffering (in every form) will end. [5] Whether in this lifetime or the next, everything that is wrong will be made right. God is working everything out in your life (the good and the bad) for your good and His glory. How He does this and when He does this are in His capable, wise and loving hands – not ours. [6]

Our ultimate hope is not based on life getting better – it is based on the fact that this life is not all there is.

The gospel frees us from being at the mercy of circumstance and worshipping at the altar of ‘better’. It frees us from the burden of being our own god, tirelessly attempting to control ourselves and others so our life ‘works out’. The gospel gives us an other-worldly peace by taking us off the throne in our hearts and returns us to our rightful place as creatures who are dependent on our loving Creator.

Press on,

Paul

[1] Luke 24
[2] Romans 3:10
[3] Luke 24:36
[4] Luke 24:39-45
[4b] You guessed it. Tim Keller said that.
[5] Luke 24:46
[6] Romans 8:28

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