I recently got blindsided when something I'd been praying about didn't turn out how I wanted. I was surprised and peeved God didn't do what I'd asked. But it's not my first rodeo with being disappointed about how God does things. Working through not being offended at God is a rite of passage in Christianity.
The Bible is full of stories of people feeling disappointed by God, but John the Baptist is my favorite. John's ministry was to prepare Israel for their Messiah. The day he introduced Jesus as "the Lamb of God" was undoubtedly the apex of his life. Shortly after, he was imprisoned. I don't think he was expecting that because he sent people to Jesus to ask if He really was the Messiah or should they "be looking for someone else."
Seems like John was struggling with disappointment and doubt. When Jesus heard what John was asking, He told John's friends to tell him about the miracles He was performing. Jesus didn't offer to pay his bail or anything like that. What He did say was, "blessed are you when you don't get offended by me."
What a strange thing for Jesus to say, until you consider how often we get offended by God. Let's be frank, God rarely behaves the way we expect or even want Him to. Jesus was no exception to that rule. Before He entered the scene, John told people they needed to flee the coming wrath of God. Then Jesus shows up and starts hanging out with sinners and healing everyone. I'm sure that made John scratch his head in confusion.
I know many believers are baffled about the events that have occurred over the past year. Face masks, controversial vaccines, and politics have created a climate where it would be easy to get offended at what God is, or isn't, doing. Times like these will shipwreck your faith if you aren't careful.
I once spent a season offended and mad at God. Like John, I was in prison and believed He'd failed me. It was a dark time. I had seen too much to doubt His existence, but I still felt let down. He met my disappointment and offense with grace and, in the end, gave me double of what I had been praying about. No lightning bolt hit me while I was mad at Him, only love and grace to get me through my doubts. What a strange God He is.
That event, and many others, have made me very grateful He's not the God I think He is. He's way better, much kinder than what I've conceptualized. He surprises me daily with His love, so even when I'm still stinging from my unexpected news, I'm going to give Him the benefit of the doubt. I choose to trust Him to work out my situation in a way that is even better than what I had asked for. Today I choose blessing over offense. Any time we choose not to be offended is a blessing. Nothing like an offense to suck the happy right out of your day.
Do you want to walk the path of blessing with me today? It's as easy as telling God you trust Him, even when things look scary and confusing. Now, give up offenses at Him and your fellow man, and come into the light.
• Cris Corzine-McCloskey is a licensed clinical social worker and director of Caring Counseling Ministries in Marion, a nonprofit that provides counseling from a Biblical perspective at an affordable cost. Call (618) 997-2129.