Do we place our expectations on God? Are we so arrogant to think we can advise Him – tell Him what He ought to do? Could it be that we have convinced ourselves that it’s “OK” to make plans and just assume that God will bless?

James has a harsh warning: Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16 (NIV)

We continue to learn that God wants all our expectations, all our hopes, and all our plans. He expects us to trust Him for every minute of every day. Totally – nothing held back. We are learning to say, “OK, God, we know our very next breath is in your hands, now take that knowledge and make it a reality in the way we live.”

We will trust God! He is rock-firm and faithful!

When I was beleaguered and bitter, totally consumed by envy,

I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox in your very presence.
I’m still in your presence, but you’ve taken my hand.
You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me.
You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful.
Look! Those who left you are falling apart!

Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God— oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home. God, I’m telling the world what you do!

Ps 73:21-28 The Message


Bad things happen to good people.

We live in a broken world. It all started in a perfect Garden, thousands of years ago when the first humans were unable to obey a simple command and sin began to multiply in this world. From that point on humankind has demanded to be in charge of our own lives. This is the most damaging impact of sin which is at work in all of Adam and Eve’s descendants and compels us to try to live without God. Living in a sinful world means we deal with accidents, sickness, shootings, and all kinds of tragedies that happen to good and bad people alike.

If it were not for God’s mercy (when He withholds what we really deserve for our sinfulness) and grace (when He generously gives us what we could never deserve) our lives would be filled with the horror of constant tragedy, pain, and separation from all that is good. At this very instant, God’s goodness is being poured out all over the world because He loves us in spite of our rejection of His Son, Jesus.

Is God powerful enough to stop tragedies like Sandy Hook? Yes, absolutely! And He does prevent tragedies and accidents all the time – but not every time. That’s what we find so difficult to understand and accept.

Why doesn’t God stop all the bad things from happening? Because God understands how foolish it would be to let us have our own way all the time. If I got my way and what I want every time, I would soon think of myself as god.

We have finite minds and that makes it difficult to understand an infinite God. Every day we grapple with the limitations of being human but God is not limited. We can only guess what might happen tomorrow but God knows every detail.

Don’t reject God because He doesn’t measure up to your standard. My measuring stick and your standard is broken and faulty. God is trustworthy because He is all-powerful, always present, and knows everything. Even when everything seems to be going wrong, God is still in charge.