I Want My Glory Now

Jesus, Why Aren’t You Doing More for Me?

As a pastor, I often field questions from hurting people. The main thrust of the question is always the same. “Why isn’t Jesus doing more for me, now?” Speaking truth into these situations requires a delicate balance, and I’d like to give proper nuance here. Here are four thoughts…
  1. God’s grace is enough to help us endure. An African Christian once observed that, whereas Americans ask God for miraculous healing, the Africans ask for strength to endure. A case study is from the Apostle Paul. He had a “thorn in the flesh,” a physical, painful malady that God would not take away. But Paul received the answer, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
  2. God’s timing is not what we expect. This past week I was at a high energy worship conference for youth. Most of it was good, but at one point, the worship leader was singing that there was “Power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.” And he implored the 4,500 youth who were gathered, “Sing this over your anxiety, your depression!” There are indeed resources for your anxiety in Jesus Christ. And there is power in the Jesus’ name to have all of your depression and anxiety wiped out, period. But I was deeply concerned because of the timing implied by the worship leader. That if we would somehow believe or claim the healing, it would be ours right now. Let’s use a different example. Is there power in the name of Jesus to stop the effects of aging? Of course, there is! But what is the timing of that deliverance? It’s in the future age, when his kingdom comes in power and fullness. Jesus, why aren’t you helping me with depression and anxiety? If your depression and anxiety is genetic, if it is inborn, if it is caused by deep childhood wounds that you don’t even remember, the odds are that you are probably going to have that struggle until Jesus makes all things new. We must remember Hebrews 11:13, “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”
  3. God’s plan is suffering and then glory. If we wonder why God isn’t doing more for us right now, we might need to reorient our hearts toward a more fundamental question: what does God want for me in this life, anyway? Throughout all of Jesus’ ministry, his purpose was misunderstood. The sons of Zebedee wanted to be number 1 and 2 in the kingdom. John the Baptist wanted to know what was taking so long when he was waiting in prison. When Peter heard that Jesus’ path was to the cross, he pulled him aside and rebuked him. All of these situations share one thing in common. The people wanted glory without suffering. By way of contrast, Jesus made himself last and suffered for his people. And he has told us, “a servant is not greater than his master” indicating that we too are expected to suffer on our way to glory. Romans 8:18 assumes we will suffer when it says, “The sufferings of this present life are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us.” We may have a problem with the difficulties of life because we fundamentally misunderstand how God works.
  4. God’s miracles are purposeful, not promised. In the many cases that God does indeed miraculously intervene, we must remember there is a distinct purpose for the miracle. Jesus taught that miracles were signs by which we would believe. They authenticate the messenger of the Gospel (John 4:48, Mark 2:10-11). Sometimes, the miracles are done because God’s plan for that person isn’t finished yet. God saved Peter from prison and showed mercy to the jailer. He struck Paul blind. He ministered to Elijah when he was suicidal. In addition, miracles are never promised, and they are not created by a quantity of faith or a set of words you pray.

If you are going through something difficult, and if you need someone to talk to, feel free to shoot me a message and I’d love to talk and listen. A prayer: Lord, we pray for endurance in our trials, knowing that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope does not disappoint, because you have poured your love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Be close to all those who struggle, and help them to know that your grace is sufficient, for your power is made perfect in weakness. Amen.