Jesus Doesn't Fix Everything
Holding onto faith without answers
It's called "Jesus Doesn't Fix Everything: Uncovering Radical Hope When Things Don't Go As Planned." Through these pages I wanted to offer a new way to look at our lives that is rooted not in fear or shame, but in faith that's marked by a lack of answers and hope that transcends feelings and circumstances. You can get it for only $.99 from Amazon or if you'd like a free copy just send me an email asking for it!
Here are the first couple of pages for you to explore—read or listen!
Life never goes as planned. No matter how spiritual you are, horrible things will still happen. It’s as if Jesus doesn’t fix everything. I wish this wasn’t true. Regardless of how frequent or intense your prayer, how long you fast, or how many Scriptures you memorize, family members still die of cancer, relationships disintegrate, love goes unrequited, and creativity still gets stifled.
Growing up I was raised to be a “really good Christian,”(words I now see as horrible theology!), learning how to trust God and submit myself to a greater will than mine. But it’s all been with the hopes that life would go well. At least, better than withoutall the religious effort. This has been extremely disheartening to me, as you can imagine. Like a bubblegum machine, I was faithfully inserting my quarter hoping for God’s best gumball, and many times not even getting one.
My life hasn't necessarily looked any better than people who weren't trying as hard as I was to be “good.” So I thought I just had to do more, work hard, serve more, give more, study more …. uggh, I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Still, other people seemed to be getting richer, better cars and houses, beautiful spouses, successful children. I can’t but wonder if God doesn’t want me to have the cattle on a thousand hills? Doesn't God want me to be a bright light shining for the world to see? Then why isn't God taking away my depression?
For the tired person sitting in the pew, it’s easy to feel like you’re never doing enough. There’s always something more you could be doing. And you’re tired. But you don’t want to leave or tell anyone. So, your butt gets moldy in the pew, praying for a breakthrough.
I believe this is the point where people leave the church. And usually, it’s for good. Like, no turning back, no turning back. I also believe it’s for good, theologically. Because I believe people are being sold a broken gospel. And no one’s got any time for that.
A broken gospel is an incomplete gospel. It’s a gospel that says it’s about you and what you do. A gospel that says God’s presence comes and goes, just like his love, and somehow you control that. A broken gospel says God will bless you when you’re good. It’s as if grace is a free gift with an asterisk, and small print at the bottom of the page explaining all the stipulations involved with receiving this free gift. Phooey!
Being raised with “God as a gumball machine” mentality has held me back from fully understanding the truth of what it means to live with hope. I put a quarter in—with a prayer, a memorized verse, or an act of selfless service—and then expect that God will give me what I want. Having expectations of how God should act will always lead to disappointment.
How are you to respond when your marriage dissolves, your best friend dies of cancer, or your depression doesn’t lift? The Church may attempt to placate your struggle with trite offerings like “God has a plan” or “Just trust God,” leaving you with squashed feelings, longing for a more tangible form of help.
It’s during these times when what we believe becomes the foundation for survival. If your faith isn’t rooted in the authentic truth of the gospel, you will either give up on God, or dive deeper into the fallacy of needing to be a “better Christian.” Neither of which will lead you to the life of joy, peace, and love you desire.
Turns out I can't base my faith on what God does for me. I know this because I have done it my whole life and it’s either increased my view of God as a gumball machine, or left me disappointed and discouraged, wondering where in the world I could place my hope.
I want to offer (what might be to some) a new way of looking at God—a new apologetic, if you will. As I’ve learned about the history of apologetics and how brilliant minds throughout the centuries have sought to understand God, one thing is perfectly clear—and truly only one thing—no one can know anything for sure. God, no matter how much he* has revealed himself, is apparently unable to be put in a box. (*Even using the male pronoun “he” doesn't do God justice.)
This might sound like heresy to some like myself who have been raised to “believe beyond a shadow of a doubt,” know how to “defend the faith,” and always offer a bold witness of certainty.
This approach of trying to explain God has created ego-stroked, tribalists so convinced themselves of their rightness, and the rightness sorely lacking in others, that we’ve turned into herds of people all rooting for their favorite team, convinced their team is the only one actually playing the sport correctly.
Can we find an anchor for our soul that doesn't create division between us and those who are different? Can we follow Jesus and let our actions demonstrate our faith more than our words? Can we uncover a hope that doesn't rely upon us getting what we want?
The answer is absolutely YES!