A friend once asked, “Do you think God is mad at me”? Bryan felt that God was calling him to change some destructive behaviors in his life, and he was hearing but not acting on God’s call. It was a question I took some time to think about, and while I was thinking, I was praying for wisdom to give an answer that would make a difference in this person’s life. This young man knew his behavior was not healthy and wanted to quit, but it was just too hard.
Praying made me think about how I as a parent would go about getting a child of mine to change a behavior in his or her life. First of all I would change my prayer strategy – there are just some challenges in life that call for fervent, “War Room” type of prayer. Then, with trust in the Lord and His mighty power (Ps 105:4), I would try to help my child. I would probably research all the effective strategies that existed to turn the behavior around and then present the options to him or her to see which one might work. As I pondered this situation, being “mad” at my child was not an emotion that readily came to mind. In Matthew 7:11, Jesus says, “If you then, who are imperfect, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
After a while, I was able to craft an answer that I thought would help Bryan. God is a good, good Father. When He makes us aware that we are falling short of His expectations for us in our life, He is not “mad”, He is calling us to seek Him and repent. His greatest desire is to help us find the way that will turn our destructive behaviors around. He knows we struggle in a fallen world and in His goodness and mercy He allowed for the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, by which we are forgiven and reconciled to God. When we accept His forgiveness, we are called to repentance and to turning away from sin. God is a good Father. He isn’t “mad” when we mess up. He is patiently waiting for us to turn to Him and ask for His help to turn things around in our life. When we lay down our heart before Him, and tell Him how sorry we are, He hears our call for help. He provides us with the guidance and strength to break free from our sinful ways and live the abundant life that Christ came to give us.
In his letter to the Ephesians (4:1), and to all of us, the Apostle Paul begs us to live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called by God, our Father. I pray we all answer that call today.