Sometimes life makes no sense. If that’s your reality right now, then this post is for you.
Have you ever had the experience where something in your life should be okay, but it isn’t? And you want God to fix it, but He doesn’t?
I’m guessing most of us go through seasons when life doesn’t make any sense.
I certainly have.
This post is longer than usual, but I want to share a condensed version of my story, and then share some thoughts that have helped me, and just might help you.
BTW, if you prefer the YouTube version of this post, here’s the link…
My story: After I finished school, I got a job and got married. We were happy at first, but I soon became convinced that my wife didn’t want to be married, or, if she did, she didn’t want to be married to me. We got counseling, but my job didn’t pay enough to get the kind of counseling we wanted. So I quit, we moved 500 miles away, and I went into business for myself. That business failed. My wife kept us alive cleaning houses for $4 an hour.
Meanwhile, the elders of the church we were attending called me in time after time and threatened to excommunicate me for embracing secular psychotherapy. In the years that followed, another business failed. We were hungry. We were homeless. We were forced into bankruptcy. Someone in my family struggled with an addiction. We had a child born with birth defects. We had medical bills we couldn’t pay. Someone in my family was the victim of a violent crime. One of my children nearly died. My wife ended up with cancer.
It was bewildering. I was trying hard to please God, and everything was going wrong.
Maybe you’ve been there.
Maybe you are there right now.
Something isn’t right.
Something that should be okay isn’t okay.
And it hurts.
You want God to fix it.
You’ve asked Him to fix it.
Maybe you’ve begged Him to fix it.
But He’s not fixing it, and you can’t understand why.
So you’re trying to fix it yourself
but everything you do
instead of making it better
just makes it worse.
And you’re like:
“God, I’m doing my best,
but nothing I do is ever good enough.”
And deep inside you’re wondering:
Why doesn’t God care?
Can’t He see what I’m going through?
If that’s you, then I’d like to share a few things that have helped me, and I’ll wrap up with something you can do right now that I think could be a game changer for you.
#1 I know it might feel like God doesn’t care…
But He does.
I know it may feel like you’ve been singled out for some cosmic experiment.
But you haven’t.
God is not a sadist. He is not aloof.
When you hurt, God hurts.
Your pain is not something that God ignores, that God minimizes, that God doesn’t care about.
He cares deeply.
I know it may take a long time before you know deep inside that He does care,
but I can tell you from the other side: He does.
#2 This doesn’t make you a bad person…
In fact, you’re in very good company.
In the Bible, many people
including Job and John the Baptist—
two of the best people who ever lived—
went through the same thing—
maybe not the exact same circumstances
but the same kind of pain.
#3 Here’s the bad news…
I don’t know of a quick fix.
If you’re looking for a microwave miracle, and instant solution, I don’t think you’re going to find it.
If you want this all gone by tomorrow, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
#4 Here’s the good news…
Your Christian faith offers many spiritual tools—
tools that work in the real world—
that can help you.
For a long time, I felt like Christianity had nothing to offer
because I wasn’t aware of these tools.
Most people aren’t aware of these tools.
Most people only have platitudes,
and I don’t know about you,
but I hate platitudes.
If it doesn’t work in the real world, I’m not interested.
There are tools that work in the real world,
and they are available to you,
but first, you need to understand what’s going on.
#5 Understand the process…
Several years ago I was 60 days behind on my mortgage. I was getting nasty phone calls from the bank, I had no money coming in at all, so I had no way of negotiating a deal with the bank. Visions of being out on the street with a wife and four little children flooded my mind. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know what to do. I was gripped with this paralyzing fear. It was a mess.
I knew God could provide, but for some reason, I thought He wouldn’t. I had done something wrong. I didn’t know what, but I had done something wrong, and now God was going to rub my nose in it.
I started processing all of this with God, and I ended up in a memory when I was about eight years old. My dad was away for a year, deployed by the military, and I was borrowing his tools because I wanted to pretend that I could build things like my dad. The only problem was this: My dad was persnickety about how his tools were to be put away, and I didn’t understand his system. Now he was coming home, and I was going to be in trouble. Instead of being excited to see my dad, I was terrified.
That fear I felt as a child matched up with that fear I felt as an adult behind on my mortgage. Then God spoke to me:
“Dwight, your dad did the best he could with the parenting tools that were in his parenting toolbox. But I’m a different kind of Father, and I have different parenting tools. When you mess up, I don’t leave you to figure it out on your own. I come beside you and help you figure out how to make it right.”
That changed everything for me. I was no longer afraid. Instead, I was excited. God was going to help me. I calmed way down. I could sleep at night. I was fine.
My circumstances didn’t change for a couple of weeks, but my experience changed completely. I was at peace even though we were still behind on our mortgage. Then the money came in—I don’t remember exactly how—I got a new client or something happened—and I got caught up on my mortgage and all my other bills.
I tell this story because it illustrates a process God takes us through as His children.
Step one: We suffer. Bad things happen.
We don’t suffer because God doesn’t like us; He does.
We don’t suffer—as a rule—because God is punishing us.
We don’t suffer because God is mean.
But when you turn up the heat, the impurities rise to the surface.
Step two: Painful lies surface as we suffer.
In this case, I believed God was going to punish me even though I didn’t know what I did wrong. I viewed God the same way the eight year old me viewed my dad.
Step three: We take those lies to God.
The only way we’re going to get better is to invite God into the hurting places in our lives.
We need to show Him our tangled up thoughts and invite Him to tell us the truth.
Step four: God shows us His perspective. The painful lie is replaced with soothing truth.
In my case in this story, God showed me what kind of Father He is.
I needed to know that.
Step five: Our peace and joy are restored regardless of our circumstances.
On the surface it looked like the problem was not having enough money to pay the mortgage.
But that wasn’t the problem.
The problem was that I believed a lie about God.
When the real problem got solved, then I returned to peace and joy.
Step six: God fixes our circumstances.
We want God to start here, but He usually doesn’t.
This is usually the last thing He does.
And, as we learn from Hebrews 11,
sometimes fixing our circumstances doesn’t happen until this life is over.
I used to always pray, “God, give me maximum mileage out of my misery.”
I don’t like to suffer any more than you do.
Once you understand this process,
you can suffer less
and get to your breakthrough a whole lot faster.
I’m not saying that painful things won’t happen in your life;
I’m just saying you’ll have a plan when they do.
#6 Find the tools that work in the real world…
For a while, my wife was experiencing panic attacks.
And being a loving husband,
I wanted to help her.
So I recommended she memorize and quote Bible verses on fear.
She tried to explain to me how that didn’t work,
but I didn’t get it
until God graciously allowed me
to experience a panic attack of my own.
Then I realized
my “solution” was inept, anemic, and it just didn’t work.
And that’s the problem sometimes with our Christian faith.
When life caves in all around us
we discover that our so called “solutions,”
are nothing but platitudes—
platitudes that don’t work in real life.
So I went on a quest to find the things that do work in real life.
And I’ve devoted much of the last 20 years
to creating books and courses and other resources
filled with the tools that actually work in real life.
In a minute, I’ll share one of those tools with you.
It’s a place to start, it’s your best next step.
It will be very clear, and it will be something you can do right now,
and I believe you will start to see a difference in your life in a short period of time.
It won’t take all your troubles away,
but I believe it will help you.
Before I do that, let me tell you about some of the resources I have for you.
I’ve had many people tell me how much my book The Gift of Transformation resonated with them.
It’s my story.
I was trying to fix a messed up marriage,
and I was trying to sort out a painful past,
but I didn’t have the tools to fix any of it.
Then I made a discovery that changed everything.
And that’s what The Gift of Transformation is all about.
As I mentioned above, I tried to get my wife to quote Bible verses when she was having panic attacks.
I discovered that doesn’t work,
but for a long time I didn’t understand why it didn’t work.
Then I learned the wall in your mind.
There’s a wall in your mind that governs what’s going to work
and what isn’t going to work.
And if you don’t understand that wall,
you’ll keep on trying solutions that don’t work.
This is a concept most people—most Christians don’t understand.
And because they don’t get it
the tools they use to fix things
My book Spiritual Self Defense picks up where The Gift of Transformation leaves off
and it explains this wall in your mind.
And it gives you many other tools.
For example, on page 64 I explain why the tactics most Christians use to fight sin
simply don’t work
because most people don’t understand what gives sin its power.
Once you get this, you’ll start to get traction against those life controlling issues
that we all wrestle with at some time or another.
The gospel is good news.
But for many years,
I had a very narrow understanding of the gospel.
I thought it was all about having my sins forgiven
and getting a free ticket to heaven.
I didn’t understand that the gospel
also fixes the damage done to us
when others sin against us.
I didn’t understand how healing and how transformational the gospel can be.
That’s why I wrote What It Means to Follow Jesus.
There’s a lot more in the book that I don’t have time to get into here, like:
What do you do when Christian leaders disappoint?
How do you get answers to life’s most difficult questions?
This book has been translated into Spanish,
and I’m told that it’s helping many Spanish-speaking people.
The resources page on DwightClough.com is filled with resources that can help you.
Some of those resources are free, most are inexpensive, a couple of them cost a little more.
Let me point out one item:
Scroll through the page, and you’ll find the Inner Wealth Archive
which gives you access dozens of videos,
a couple of courses,
books, posts, and other resources
all for under $100.
I want to help you, and I have lots of material that I think will help you.
#7 Here’s something you can do right now…
As a first step,
I want to encourage you
to give yourself permission
to be honest with God.
Pour it all out.
If your feelings could talk, what would they say?
God already knows
but He needs you to give Him access to what’s going on inside.
So share your anger, your hurt, your fear, your shame, whatever—
all your feelings, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Let Him know what’s going on inside.
And don’t do that just once,
but do it every day,
and then, every time you do, at the end,
just pause and ask Him,
“Is there anything You want me to know?”
And give Him space to respond
if He wants to.
This really helped me, and I believe it will help you.
In the process of pouring out all my hurt and frustration to God,
I discovered something.
God likes me.
He actually likes me.
He likes hanging out with me.
I never knew that before.
I knew God loved me.
I mean, He had to.
It was part of His job description.
He didn’t have a choice.
He was stuck loving me whether He wanted to or not.
But I never knew He liked me.
I was like, Wow!
It took me a whole year just to take that in.
Okay, anyway, the best thing you can do for your world
is let yourself be loved by God.
Bring God into your hurts, and let Him bring His soothing, comforting, healing, transformational presence into your life.
God wants to be experienced by you.
Open the door and let Him in.
PS. If this has been helpful to you, please share it with others.