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Grace and peace, Saints.
On Mother’s Day, I received an email from a very despondent mom, whose plans for that day were ruined when her daughter became ill. I sometimes get emails from Christians whose trials may be causing them to experience a crisis of faith or doubt the goodness of God. But this was the first time someone admitted that her trials are causing her to actually hate God.
Hate is a word that people don’t normally throw around as lightly as we do the word love. When someone says they hate something or someone, that is usually exactly what they mean. So when Gretchen said she was beginning to hate God, that really got my attention.
Here is her email:
“Hello, Still Man. I found your website when I did an internet search on curses.
Today is Mother’s Day, as well as my 18th Wedding Anniversary. My husband, daughter, and I had very special plans for celebrating two such special occasions today. I was SO excited and happy. I had been listening to a series of sermons by Andrew Wommack, that were recommended to me, and I was feeling so peaceful and happy, and growing so much spiritually.
“Then yesterday my daughter became sick, so all our special plans had to be cancelled. I had prayed and pleaded the blood of Jesus that she, would be protected from getting sick, and that we would all have a wonderful time today.
“This sort of thing happens EVERY TIME we have special plans. Either one of the three of us gets sick (usually my daughter), or something else will happen to ruin our plans. I am sick of ALWAYS being disappointed.
“Every time I start getting closer to God and Jesus, very disappointing things happen. I am starting to hate God. He doesn’t answer my prayers, and I really don’t think that He wants me or my family to be happy. I have already renounced my sins, and become born again.
Regarding Catholicism, I have Catholic friends and family who glide through life on a perpetual cloud of happiness.
“All I asked for was for 1 DAY OUT OF THE YEAR not to turn out to be a disappointment, but apparently that’s too much to ask.
—Gretchen” [CAPS in the original, boldface mine]
This was my response:
I understand how tough this must be for you. And I can understand the temptation to blame God for your troubles. But you shouldn’t hate the Lord Jesus or believe He doesn’t want you to be happy. The Bible says that God wants you to have an abundant life, not a life of misery.
Understand that the Christian life, though a wonderful existence, is not all fun and games. Jesus Himself said that it is given to us who are saved not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:29). I can testify that this is a gospel truth. Suffering is part of the Christian experience.
The Apostle Paul loved the Lord with all his heart and soul and couldn’t wait to die so that he could be with the Lord. And Paul suffered more than all the Apostles, losing everything he had just to follow Jesus. Did Paul complain? Not hardly:
“I count all but loss (I’m willing to lose everything) for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them (the things he lost) but dung (poo-poo) that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). [Parentheses and boldface mine.]
Those are pretty strong words from the Apostle. But he meant business. Suffering is part of the Christian walk. In fact, Paul goes on to say that to know Jesus is to know “the fellowship of His sufferings” (3:10). Only when you have suffered for Jesus’ sake do you truly come to know the Lord, because He is going to take you through the fire to perfect you. And perfection is had through suffering.
Even Jesus suffered. And the Bible says that Jesus “learned obedience through the things that He suffered.” This is exactly what happens to us when we suffer. God doesn’t let us suffer because He gets a kick out of it. God allows us to suffer for our good and for His glory.
I believe this may be part of what you are going through. Note that you said every time you start getting close to Jesus, “very disappointing things happen.” This happens to all of us. In Jesus’ parable of the sower, He describes the seed that fell among stones as the person who gladly receives the Gospel, and rejoices. But as soon as troubles come, he becomes weary, and Jesus becomes an offense to him (Matthew 13:20-21).
Don’t let this be you. Don’t confuse the Christian life with what many have made it out to be: all fun and joy and no tribulation. This is not biblical. Remember, Job was a righteous man in all his ways, who hated sin. Yet, God allowed Job to suffer. God allowed Satan to kill Job’s children, bankrupt him, and destroy his health. Satan was sure that when he was finished with Job, he would “curse God to His face.” Yet, the Bible says, “In all this, Job sinned not with his lips.” Job said, “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The Bible says that our trials are no different than what the average person goes though (1 Corinthians 10:13). The difference, however, is that Jesus is with the Christian every step of the way. He won’t allow us to suffer more than we are able, but “will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that we will be able to bear it.” That’s why you don’t hear about true, Bible-believing Christians committing suicide. God either stops our trials before they break us, or strengthens us so that we can handle them.
You shouldn’t worry about your Roman Catholic friends and relatives who are “gliding through life”, as you put it, as not everything is what it appears to be. Besides, the Apostle Paul says that we err when we “measure ourselves by ourselves and compare ourselves among ourselves” (2 Corinthians 10:12). We shouldn’t be looking at the person to our right and left and comparing what we are going through to what they are going through (or not). Keep your eyes on Jesus. Whatever you are going through, has nothing to do with them and vice versa.
It may very well be possible that you may be placing too much value on everything being just right, just perfect, on that special day. You may instead consider putting less emphasis on the day and more on the person. For example, Mother’s Day is a day to honor mothers for the special sacrifices they make every day to take care of their families. I get that. But, at the end of the day, isn’t it more important that mommy is around to hear her husband and children say “Happy Mother’s Day?”
Believe me when I tell you that there are many daughters out there who are very sad on Mother’s Day, because mom is no longer alive to receive her daughter’s love and appreciation. If your daughter or anyone else gets sick, and you are unable to do what you had planned, just switch to Plan B. (You should always have a Plan B.) And plan B should be a very scaled-down version of Plan A. Something that maybe doesn’t even require you to leave the house. Just stay home and watch some videos like “Mommy Dearest, “Throw Momma From the Train,” or “Stop, Or My Mom Will Shoot!” LOL.
If you are a Christian, then Jesus is allowing this to happen to you. And if He is allowing it to happen to you, then He has a reason. It could be that the Lord Jesus feels you are putting too much importance on “special occasions.” The Apostle Paul said, “One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). What Paul meant by this is that, at the end of the day, these days were not ordained of God, but by men, and they are not as important as we make them out to be. It is like the Pharisees, who put so much importance on what you couldn’t do on the Sabbath, that just about everything was a violation of it. Jesus told them that the Sabbath was made to serve man, and not man to serve the Sabbath.
One last thing: Satan is very aware of the importance you place on days like Mother’s Day and your wedding anniversary. You can count on him, therefore, to do all he can to derail those days for you. The way you thwart him is to not put so much emphasis on those days. That way, he can’t spoil it for you. All Christians have enemies, and many, if not most, of those enemies are witches. A witch will watch you, study you, and learn you. A witch will know when you have a birthday coming, or an anniversary, or a family outing, etc., and when that day approaches, will go into action, casting a spell on you, someone in your family, or someone else with whom you have to do. They will either try to make you sick, be in a bad mood, or argue with someone, in an effort to ruin that day for you. This happens to me all–and I do mean ALL–the time. So I know what I’m talking about.
Whenever a birthday is coming in my family, for example, I take it in stride, placing more value on the fact that whosever’s birthday it is lived to see it, than I do on all the trappings. There is always a cake (even a burnt one that I made) and, if possible, at least one present and a party. But it is not always under the best of circumstances.
On my youngest daughter’s 1st birthday, for example, my wife and I were at odds, so she didn’t attend the party. On another daughter’s birthday, a month later, we were still at odds, so I didn’t attend the party. Did it stop anything? No sir. Would it have been more fun if everyone had been there and getting along? Of course. But you must understand that we are in a war, and in a war, nothing is sacred; even birthday parties. At my son’s birthday party, my wife and I were still not speaking, but we both were at the party. And because we respected one another and dealt with one another amiably, everyone had a great time. The next day, my wife and I reconciled (briefly). (My wife is a Roman Catholic and has many many spiritual problems. So we are almost always at odds.) My children understand very well the spiritual warfare that is raging, and they always have a good time, under the circumstances. We have learned to lower our expectations, and we have redefined what makes a day special and what makes it fun.
In closing, I would like to say that I do not believe this is a curse at work. What I believe is that you may be placing too much importance on special days, and, in so doing, you are serving those days rather than letting those days serve you.
One last last thing. Don’t hate the Lord Jesus, and don’t feel He doesn’t want you and your family to be happy. I can tell you, as someone who has had things happen to him that my daughter says could make a bestseller, that the Lord Jesus loves you very very much. Just ask Him what His purpose is for all that is happening to you. If you are sincere, He will answer. And He will tell you what to do.
And please, please repent of hating the Lord. It could be a whole lot worse than a spoiled Mothers Day. You should be thankful it isn’t.
Your servant in Christ Jesus,
I appreciated this lady’s sincerity, and I’m sure the Lord Jesus does too. Now, someone reading this probably thinks it is the epitome of evil to hate God because of something He allows us to go through. But, in my heart, I believe this lady is not alone. My spirit tells me that it is probably very common for someone who names the name of Christ to hate Him, when the going gets tough.
Doubtless, all of us know something about God. But I would argue that very few of us actually know God. Because, once you know Him, it is impossible to hate Him; for to know God is to love Him. To hate God would be to hate goodness. To hate God would be to hate truthfulness. To hate God would be to hate honesty. To hate God would be to hate love. In short, to hate God would be to hate everything that is good in the world; for every good thing comes from God, the Father of Lights (James 1:17).
I don’t believe, therefore, that Gretchen really hates God, because I don’t believe she really knows Him. And the first clue that she doesn’t really know Him is that she doesn’t mention His name once. God has a name, and that name is Jesus Christ. If she knew God, then she would have no problem naming the name of Jesus.
The second clue that she doesn’t know God is that she says He doesn’t answer her prayers. If this is true, and God hasn’t answered any of her prayers, then it may be because He hasn’t heard them. Jesus said that anything we ask in His name He will do (John 14:13-14). Again, she doesn’t mention the name of Jesus once in her email, so one has to wonder if when she prays, she does so in the name of Jesus.
It may also be possible that Gretchen is not saved. Note that she never said that she was saved, but that she has “renounced [her] sins and been born again.” Not everyone who says they are born again means that they are saved.
Christianity is not the only religion in the world whose adherents claim to be born again. Freemasons, for example, are “reborn” during the ritual of the third degree, and some Freemasons, will tell you that that they have been born again. Freemasons are not Christians.
It is not enough to simply claim to be born again. One must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and confess Him as Lord and Savior. The Bible says,
“If thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou wilt be saved.
“For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
I don’t like to question anyone’s salvation, but, in these last days, when deception is at an all time high, one must, because there are many who have been deceived into believing they are saved, when, in fact, they are not. I was one such person. We must believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that He died on the cross at Calvary and shed His blood for our sins, in order to be saved. Then, we must confess Jesus to the world.
When we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are showing what we believe in our heart: that He is Lord of all. If you are not trusting in the shed blood of Jesus for your salvation, then you are not saved. And if you cannot say with certainty that you are going to Heaven, then you are not saved.
Renouncing our sins is also not enough. We must confess our sins if we want forgiveness for them. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Renouncing our sins is a good start, but we must confess our sins if we want the Lord Jesus to forgive them. Sin in our lives is the number one reason God doesn’t hear our prayers. The Bible says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord shall not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).
The Bible says that we all sin. But, as Christians, we must confess those sins right away to the Lord Jesus (not to any man) if we want forgiveness. Unconfessed sin creates a wall between God and us—a barrier—through which prayers cannot pass. If we want to get a prayer through to God, then we must make sure that we are in a right relationship with Him. And one way to make sure that we are in a right relationship with God is to make sure that when we sin, we confess those sins to the Lord Jesus as quickly as possible.
The Bible says that we must examine ourselves and determine whether we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). When we feel that God is not answering our prayers, we need to first ask ourselves if we are in a right standing with Him. And if we are living in sin, then we are not.
We also need to make sure that when we pray for anything, that we want for God’s will to be done first. The Bible says:
“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us:
“And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petition that we desired of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
God’s will is perfect. And everything that He allows in our lives serves a purpose, even if we can’t see it. Even Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, ended His prayer with “But not my will, but thine, be done.” Gretchen said that she prayed and pleaded the blood of Jesus that her daughter would not get sick and that everyone would have a great time. But, because she was so disappointed when things didn’t go the way she planned, I wonder if she prayed for Jesus’ will to be done. Scripture says that if we want God to hear our prayers, then we must pray according to His will.
The Bible also says that we receive that which we ask of the Lord if we “keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22). God’s commandments can be found in both the Old and New Testaments, and it behooves us, as Christians, to find out what the Lord Jesus wants and expects from us and to do it. If we don’t know what God’s commandments are, then we can’t keep them. If we can’t keep God’s commandments, then we cannot do those things that are pleasing in His sight. We will, therefore, not receive the things we ask of Him.
The third clue that Gretchen doesn’t really know God is that she believes He doesn’t want her to be happy. God wants us all to be happy. The Word of God commands us to rejoice, and to rejoice again (Philippians 4:4). The Bible says that God will not withhold any good thing from those of us who seek the Lord (Psalm 34:10). And happiness is a good thing. But it is important for us to understand that God’s version of happiness is a lot different from ours.
To us, happiness is getting everything we want. To God, happiness is getting everything He wants. And what God wants for us is not always exactly what we would want for ourselves. Just because something seems good to us, doesn’t mean that it’s good for us. And even something that is good for us may not be good for us all the time. The Bible says that there is a season for everything. What may not be right for us today may be right for us tomorrow. Only God know when the time is right.
I believe this is the root of Gretchen’s problem. She has unrealistic expectations of what happiness is—unrealistic, that is, in the Christian sense. The Apostle Paul said that we should be content with such things as we have, and that we should not grumble or complain about our lives. If God will not withhold any good thing from us, then, if we are in a right relationship with Him, we are exactly where He wants us. To be in a right relationship with God should be every Christian’s desire, and, ultimately, that is what should make us happy, even when everything else in our lives seems to be going wrong.
Knowing that you are in a right standing with the Lord Jesus can often be the only silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud. When everything else seems to be going wrong: when you are forsaken by your friends and family, when your husband or wife has turned their back on you, when your children are misbehaving, when things are not right at work, when your money is acting funny, when you just keep on getting sick, and when it seems that no one cares whether you live or die, it is knowing that God Almighty is watching over you and allowing these things to happen to you, but will not put more on you than you can bear, that helps you to get through each and every day.
True happiness, then, is being dead center in the will of God, and knowing that regardless of how things are going, the Captain of our Salvation and the Author and Finisher of our faith is at the helm. And He will guide us into a safe haven.
The Bible says, “All things work together for good to those who love God and who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Note that the passage says all things work together for good. All means all. That means even the bad things that happen to us serve a purpose, working together with the good things to fulfill God’s purpose in us. And the Lord Jesus has promised us that ultimately things will work out for our good. That means we can’t lose!
Don’t let Satan steal your joy. Sanctify yourself and avoid sin and those who sin. Don’t give a witch power over you. “Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
In closing, we shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations of the Christian life; for when we do, we set ourselves up for disappointment. The Christian life is not all fun and games. Job said it best when he said, “Shall we [only] receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Jesus is God Almighty, yet the Bible says that Jesus was “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” Life was not all fun and games for our Lord either.
Truly, the servant is no greater than his Master.
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“Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame; and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
“For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:2-3).
Be encouraged and look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.
The Still Man