Why do I feel cheated by God?

Many have heard the story about the man who visited Peter in heaven. Maybe the man was me. Like us all, I carried a cross, and when I arrived I asked Peter, “With all due respect, Peter, this cross I am carrying is very heavy, and I’m tired of it. Is there any way that I can exchange it for another?”

“Sure,” Peter answered right away, “Let me show you to the cross chamber…”

We walked together down a long hall, and at the end were immense doors of iron that opened into a chamber the size of a stadium. Scattered all around were crosses of many different sizes and materials. Some, although smaller, were incredibly dense and heavy as if made of lead. Others towered hundreds of feet into the air. Some crosses forged of iron, some carved from thick oak – the selection was infinite.

So I set my cross among the many and began to test others. The enormous crosses I didn’t even attempt to lift, and others I could barely budge. One or two I could get up off of the ground, but they would have been impossible for me to carry. After searching for hours I came upon a simple cross of wood that seemed reasonable. With some effort I hoisted it up upon my shoulders testing its weight.

“This one seems like one I can handle,” I said. “It’s not light, but I think I can manage. I’ll carry this one.”

Peter responded calmly, “That’s the cross you came in with my friend.”

***************************************************

A cross and eternal life. These are the two things that Jesus’ promises us, and really, at the essence of our faith, nothing else matters. Why is it that I feel cheated sometimes? What about health and prosperity? These things might come to pass, but where do I focus my attention? I want to add more to the deal like ornaments on a Christmas tree – but the real tree of Christ is stripped bare waiting for Him to hang upon it. This makes me cringe. Why do my expectations exceed what is promised to me?

A cross. This is universal. All humans have their trials and following Jesus does not make us exempt. Carrying our cross teaches us to be strong, perseverant, obedient and humble. Trials are never pretty things, but they define our character. A Christian is not a “good person”. Christians are persons who respond to crisis in a way impossible for them to accomplish on their own.

Eternal life. What more do I want? Why do I feel I need, or even worse, deserve more?

This promise is so perfect that its fruit gives us all we need. When fully embraced we are at peace in every circumstance – even the impossible ones. This type of embrace is not easy, especially for those who suffer, but God extends His promise most vigorously in the darkest night. The Spirit eases the burden of the cross defining the relationship between the trial and the promise. In our worst and weakest moments we are truly saved by grace.

But I don’t want to enter into the garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. Like the apostles, I want to sleep this one off. The next chapter I want to avoid… hoisting that cross into life eternal.

So instead I ask for blessings, change, healing and restoration. These things are not bad, and I should pray for them. But in Gethsemane – as the religious and political order of the day mounted its deadly wrath against Him – did Jesus pray for a change where all men would be free and equal? The dreams of great men such as Martin Luther King, Jr. revolutionize our world, but these changes are only born of a belief in something much more grounded… that God’s will be done in every circumstance. Then there are Christians in China that do not pray for a political change at all despite cruel and suffocating oppression. Instead they pray for a stronger spiritual back to carry the load… in order to give more glory to God.

When Jesus was cornered in the garden by His future executioners, He was healthy and He was free. The most profound healing and liberation are found in His prayer…

Thy Will Be Done.

 

37 comments on “Why do I feel cheated by God?

  1. A beautiful post! Hope we can all keep the cross we came in with. May the Lord bless you!

  2. Rachel says:

    I felt such a peace just reading this post! Blessings and love♥ keep your faith and stay strong through it all♥ we will make it through all trials and tribulations my friend♥ rainbows do come after the rain:)

    ~Rachel

  3. jamie says:

    I enjoyed your thoughts in this post. It’s a great reminder of what is truly important in our lives. Well done.

    Blessings,
    Jamie

  4. Tammy says:

    Wow, that was beautifully written, so beautiful and at just the right moment for me…I am actually brainstorming my Worship Committee’s bulletin board and the inspiration of your blog has me on a direct path, now. Thank you so much for this work. Thank the Lord for good works here on earth.

  5. lbtk says:

    Beautiful imagery. Next time, I will pause before I complain. Great post.

  6. brettfish says:

    wow great post, from the other fish…

  7. tessf says:

    I love the story at the beginning.

    Having let go of the faith I was born into, now I’m struggling to embrace this one simple truth, and it’s just so hard to get my brain around, to untie the knots already there.
    “Pain is inevitible; suffering is a choice.” If only it were as easy as writing down the words.
    Peace.
    –Tess

  8. desirayl says:

    We have all felt like that . Jesus never said it was going to be easy, He suffered all because of sin for us and the cross was not a pretty sight. But through Him we have strength not of ourselves but the strength He gives us to help us stand. Remember the race is not given to the swift but to those who endure till the end.

    Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

  9. David Mills says:

    Reblogged this on Life Love God.

  10. great post. loved it!

  11. Rick Alvey says:

    Hey Vince,

    Thanks for visiting my blog and the “Like” on a recent post. I really enjoyed this post and the challenge to pray Jesus’ prayer of surrender! I look forward to reading more and to sharing the journey!

    God bless,
    Rick

  12. ansuyo says:

    “Trials are never pretty things, but they define our character. A Christian is not a “good person”. Christians are persons who respond to crisis in a way impossible for them to accomplish on their own.” Amen! Great post. Thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find yours🙂 Angie

  13. Joe Quatrone, Jr. says:

    Great post, Vince! The Apostle Paul also points out the unique relationship between suffering and character. The suffering he’s referring to are the trials and difficulties experienced by believers. He’s assuming, of course, that those who are persecuted would faithfully and courageously endure their persecutions; that they would not break under pressure and deny their faith in Christ.

  14. Dy-Anne! says:

    “A Christian is not a “good person”. Christians are persons who respond to crisis in a way impossible for them to accomplish on their own.”

    I don’t understand how that makes any sense. It sounds as if you are saying that only through crisis can once be considered a christian.

    • Vince Chough says:

      Sorry about the misunderstanding Dy-Anne. What I mean is that we are not Christians because of our good deeds, but good deeds are the fruit of our faith.

      It is God who transforms us into what we are meant to be. There are many “good persons”, but they are not followers of Christ.

  15. Bird says:

    I loved this! Beautifully written, and I can so relate!

    Bless you….

    Bird

  16. So much can be learned here. Just beautiful.

  17. Catherine says:

    Why God cheats me? Why God makes a promise and then disappoint me by breaking it? Why does He act exactly opposite to what I plead? I was once a great owner of Faith, but now I lost it all. God is loving; He is merciful; He hears peoples’ cry. I know it all. BUT TO ME ALONE, HE IS MERCILESS, PUNISHING AND CRUEL. Why?

    • Vince Chough says:

      Catherine,
      God does not punish you. I’m not sure what your hurt is. You certainly need to heal. God showed us how to deal with loss and suffering through Jesus.
      He showed us how to understand suffering through love instead of power.
      Find a friend you trust that is strong in their faith and talk. This will begin your healing process. I wish I could help you more, but I will pray for you.
      Bless you,
      Vince

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