“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
— Romans 7:15 (NRSV)
HOW do we respond when God doesn’t do what we ask? How does God respond when we don’t do as he asks? These are two of most perplexing questions. We are frustrated and overwhelmed when our requests fall on ‘deaf ears’, unless we are incredibly mature and incisive regarding spiritual growth, but we equally loath to bend toward God and give the Lord everything he wants either. Yes, the operative word is everything.
There seems to be a polar disconnect between us and God.
Our role as believers is to close that gap. Our opportunity is to be not so demanding of the Lord when we don’t receive what we expect. Likewise, we have the option of managing our expectations to be more realistic. Moreover, we can save ourselves a lot of trouble by praying to God for appropriate things; as we join our hearts to his divine purposes, putting the things of the Kingdom first, he gives us the desires of our hearts, because our hearts are fitted with the readiness to do what the Kingdom needs us to do.
When God asks us to do things by our discerning of his will we have the freedom to obey that calling or to disobey. But as his subjects, when we call him King, we are bound to a covenant of obedience, but alas we still have the sinful nature to contend with.
If we are prepared to accept the challenge and take up the cudgel, we can grow toward doing what God asks us to do, whilst not being swayed by God’s lack of response to the things we ask. The true life – the Christ-life – is saved by the action of sacrificing itself for the common good. It’s a sacrifice of love, not against oneself, but certainly in spite of one’s crawling or soaring ego.
Our challenge as we grow into Christ-likeness is to accept our situations of life and do God’s will to the best of our discerned ability. This will be a difficult objective to achieve, but it is far from impossible. One day at a time we can achieve a lot in doing God’s will and accepting our current situations for what they are.
How do we respond when God doesn’t do what we ask? How does God respond when we don’t do as he asks? These are two of most perplexing questions. What are we prepared to do to reconcile the truths revealed in the answers to these questions?
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.