Often when we are frustrated with God, it’s because we feel He’s promised something and not delivered on it
Sometimes the problem is we assumed a promise. Sometimes there is a promise, but we are envisioning it the way we’d expect/want it to play out.
Take this promise, for example:
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”Mark 10:29-31
Someone could read that and think, “Awesome; I give up some things now, but soon I’ll have lots of houses and land! I’ll be rich!” When they don’t become a millionaire, or when trouble strikes, they call God a liar.
An individual personally amassing a wealth of property and offspring is only one interpretation of that promise.
“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”Acts 4:32-35
We are so individually focused, that we constantly understand God’s promises from an individual-mindset. God calls us to function as part of a Body, and His promises play out in a much different, much more powerful way in that context.
By Acts 4, the disciples that had given up family, found themselves with a family of thousands of people who “were of one heart and one soul”.
The disciples who gave up home and possessions were part of a body where “no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.”
In other words, they “received a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands.” What they received was better than personal physical wealth; it was abundantly more than they could ask or imagine.
It’s worth noting we like to stop there in the first passage, and glaze over the persecutions piece; that rubs against our desire for comfort and security. It’s also worth noting — if we stop there — we miss the eternal life piece. Therein lies the kicker to all of this: the reason personal, physical wealth isn’t the point is because this physical world isn’t the point; the reason personal comfort and security now isn’t the goal is because eternity is. That is God’s promise and invitation to us, a full, eternal life.
Our frustration with God is not because He failed us, but because we have failed to grasp the fullness of what He is offering.