I don’t like it. You know what I’m talking about. Here are my [least] favorites. If you say this to me, and I’m in a bad mood, prepare for a sermon (sorry, but I’m sassy these days.)
1. It’s all going to work out and be ok.
2. God will provide [the job, the money, the spouse, etc.].
3. God helps those who help themselves.
4. God never gives you more than you can handle.
Why do I hate these clichés, you ask?
A. They aren’t in the Bible.
Not even sort of. Show me where it says that “It’s all going to work out.” Read Revelations. Read about Jesus for goodness sake. All but one of the apostles were martyred. It doesn’t work out – not in the way that you mean when you say that. If you say that and mean, the world will be destroyed. God will exact justice on the unrighteous, and Jesus will come back and kick a**. Then, I agree with you. It will work out.
Otherwise, if you mean what I think you mean – that things will turn up, you are incorrect. Tell that to the person dying of cancer, to the mother whose baby is starving to death, to the man dying of AIDS.
B. They are not applicable outside of rich (white) America.
The only reason we can say with a straight face that “God will provide” (and mean that he will provide the spouse, the baby, the job, the money) is because that in rich, affluent America, there’s almost always a way to get those things yourselves. I’m not saying that God’s not a part of that, but we really are just digging deep and finding a way to get what we want. We aren’t sitting back and letting God “provide” because God doesn’t promise that he will provide – not those worldly things. He will provide strength, mercy, love and grace, but you may not get what you want in the end. There are many of God’s children around the world starving to death.
God does give us more than we can handle. In fact, I think he only gives us more than we can handle. God is not about us succeeding and handling things. God is about his own glory. Remember Job? You can’t say to a woman locked in a cage in India being raped day after day until she dies at the age of 25 that God won’t give her more than she can handle. Who can handle that? This saying just isn’t applicable to her life, so why should it be applicable to ours.
C. They fall short. Way short.
God does make bold promises. He says that he will never leave or forsake us. That he loves us so much that he murdered his only son to pay for our sins. He promises that he will return. He promises that justice will be done. He says that his grace is sufficient.
When we use these clichés, we turn God into a Hallmark card. When we indicate that Christianity is about working hard and living a comfortable life with a little God thrown in, we are lying and we are stealing God’s glory. We are diluting the truths of his promises in favor of something that is easier to say and swallow.
I think we do this because God makes a lot of scary promises too, and we don’t want to face those. He says that we will be persecuted. He says that some will call him Lord, and he will say he never knew them. He promises that the wicked will suffer eternal torment. Jesus says that He is the only Way, Truth and Life. He says that to save your life, you have to lose it. He promises that we will suffer as Jesus suffered. He says that the way is narrow and few will find it.
I want more. I don’t want clichés and feel good sayings. I want the truth. Because things are too hard right now, and I need a God who can stand up to these trials.
This adoption is getting messy ya’ll. We need serious prayer. We are completely stuck at the immigration phase with no end in sight. USCIS gave us a deadline of July 23 that we are unlikely to meet, which means we would have to reapply later once we get the needed documents and start over again. Starting over means more delays. We are contemplating a riskier strategy but are seeking God’s will in what He wants us to do. We want these kids home, and we want them home yesterday. But, most importantly, we want to love the Lord, seek first his kingdom and make decisions that bring him glory.
Thanks for following our story.