I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life when I didn’t think God was so good. Perhaps you’ve also experienced circumstances where although you intellectually know that “God is good” that truth seems completely disconnected with the reality of your life.
I specifically remember a few times when I knew with absolute certainty what God was directing me to do … and realized that there wasn’t single part of me that truly wanted to do it! During those times, I try to step out in faith and do it God’s way despite my own reservations and desires. Often in doing so I’ve adopted a sort of attitude of entitlement, thinking “Man, if God’s ever going to bless me it’s going to be now because of this.”
Sometimes, though, life didn’t get better, it actually got worse! On several of those occasions I let God know just how angry I was with the outcome, and even threatened to check out of this so-called “Christian life” forever if He didn’t make things right. Let me tell you … I was dead serious about it, too.
When was the last time that you got a raw deal?
For many of us, this question is almost too painful to think about. Maybe a loved one betrayed you or someone got a promotion based on something other than ability. Perhaps you recall a painful discussion with your son or daughter about why sometimes, life just isn’t fair. For some, our mate walked out, a business relationship went south or you’ve watched others with questionable ethics seem to get ahead … again.
Now I’m going to encourage you, as painful as your experience was, to let that come to the surface so God can deal with it. Where have you experienced an injustice? Whatever it was, you may have been trying to do it “God’s way” and faced a painful outcome that just didn’t make sense or seem fair.
When you’re reeling from the fallout of a raw deal the temptation is to distance yourself from God. Whether from anger or pain, many people respond by pushing God further away or even out of their lives completely.
It was during a season like this that God revealed some key truths to me through Psalm 73 that can help us overcome the raw deals that we face in life.
Four Principles to Overcome YOUR “Raw Deal”
- OWN IT. If you want to overcome the raw deals in your life, pour out your heart to God. Face it, share it, get it on the table, tell God about it. Now this doesn’t mean pour it out to everyone else – it means take it before GOD and let Him be your counselor. Even Godly people struggle with doubts and confusion when God’s truth and their experience doesn’t mesh. It’s a fallen world and life isn’t fair. Until Jesus comes back that won’t change. That means that bad things happen to good people, and vice versa.
- CONSIDER YOUR CHOICES CAREFULLY. Anger and injustice can tempt us to do very stupid things. We’re prone to say things and act in ways that will be harmful to ourselves and to others. Oswald Chambers wisely observed, “It is when a crisis arises that we instantly reveal upon whom we rely.” If you walk away from God when things don’t go your way, don’t overlook the impact it will have on others. Besides being ultimately detrimental to our own relationship with God, your reaction to a raw deal has a ripple effect, and if you’re not careful you may burn bridges and hurt a lot of people.
- GET THE BIG PICTURE. When we see life through an eternal perspective we begin to realize what’s important and what’s not. So, how can you get that “big picture” instead of locking your emotional radar onto the person or situation that has wounded or angered you? Claim this truth: God is Good. God is sovereign. God is faithful. What I’m experiencing is no surprise to Him. God will turn my situation around and use it for good, if I don’t bail out on His plan. Hear this: every promise He’s made to you, He’s going to come through. In your timing? Probably not. But in the process, He’ll help you to become more like Christ, which is part of His big plan anyway!
- REAFFIRM YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. Ultimately, God’s presence is your only source of security and joy both now and forever. He is your portion. There’s a lot of good things in our lives but none of them have the power day in and day out to come through for us. The moment we begin to trust in them instead of God, they become an idol! Make a choice today, to give your raw deal to God, and to stay in His game plan. Trust that somehow He will turn it to good. When you continue to walk it through with Him I promise you that the day will come when YOU will tell of His works! You will be able to say “This terrible thing happened in my life and what a wonderful thing God has done through it.”
This week we’re beginning a new series called “How to Find God When You Need Him the Most.” In it, we’ll focus on how to stay connected to God in spite of the difficult and painful challenges that we all encounter. Whether you’ve been the victim of injustice, struggle with depression, feel overwhelmed and confused or maybe you’ve blown it big time – I promise you this: learning how to draw closer to God (especially when you feel like it the least) will have a transforming effect on your life.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip