Why Won’t God Just Change It? (#468)
How many times have you prayed that God would change a circumstance or take away an emotion that causes you so much pain? Why doesn't he do that more often? If he truly loves me wouldn't he make my life better by doing so? In the first podcast of 2015 Wayne sorts through some listener email that provokes his thoughts about the way God sets people free, not by changing external things but by transforming us from within by renewing our minds to help us see him, ourselves, and the world the way he does. That will lead us to make different choices and the consequence of those choices will lead us into his freedom and life. He also answers a question about whether God's love is unconditional by asking another, is true love for someone ever conditional?
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I loved the story Lisa told about her experience, and Wayne, your response to it, which, to me, is valuable in assessing why people you don’t get as much out of their walk as you do respond the way they do. I never thought of it that way. Thanks.
I’ll speak to Lisa directly here, not knowing if she will read this, but I’ve had my own experience with a friend who couldn’t quite understand my journey. When I had my, for lack of a better term, ‘growth spurt’, he would say I was too religious, and ask if I was going to church regularly. I think the straw that broke the camel’s back, which was not my intent, was giving him and his wife a copy of ‘Finding Church’ with a note saying I’m willing to discuss the book, even if you don’t agree with everything that is being said. I have yet to hear from them.
Wayne, you also talked about in the podcast about consequences of our decisions, I keep a piece of paper in my Bible with a jotted down Scripture verse with the heading, ‘Sad about lasting consequences.’ That is Revelation 21, verses 3 and 4, from the New Testament. I believe I suffer not only from my own sin, but sin passed down from past generations. I take great comfort from these verses in those times where sin seems to overwhelm me.
Hi Wayne. Loved your podcast. I had been on this journey for a while when I ran across “The Shack” and your book “So you don’t want to go to church anymore”. God had been taking me through a time of rethinking everything I believed and only keeping what I knew to be true. I felt like I was on this journey all by myself until I ran across you and Darin Hufford. I realized I had been lied to and that there were others that felt the same way. If you decide to quit the podcast I would understand why but, at least for my part, you would be sorely missed. You have been a lighthouse in a stormy journey. anyway, whatever you decide, I appreciate you and love you much. a fellow traveler, Jim Lorton
I’d think 10 years on the podcast would be a reason to continue not to quit. I agree with Jim…you have been a lighthouse in a stormy (uncertain) journey. If God continues to bring encouragement into your life, it would seem fitting to pass that on to others. Either way, you must answer the call of God on your life and I’m sure you will follow the path He has for you and your family. I love how Psalms 48:14 reads…For such is God, our God forever and ever…He will guide us until the end. Blessings, Nancy
Hi, Wayne, Good to hear again in 2015. The conversation today brought clarity to conversations I was having with God. It seems now that He was wanting me to see him more in eve3rything and not dwell on what is lacking in my life. Wow, I now see what He was leading me to. Should the podcast end after 10 years, only if God is done teaching us what we need to know using your journey. Keep the podcast until God says this is enough.
My comments on the podcast were just musings as I recognized how long it has been going on. It has changed a bit throughout, so I don’t think we’re being static. I hear from so many people how much it is encouraging their journey, so I don’t foresee that I’ll be stopping any time soon. I’m not actively praying about doing so, nor do I feel nudged that direction. I am just used to living open-handedly with everything including the books, podcasts, websites. When God says they’re over I want to be able to let them go. And if he wants that he will have lots of other ways to encourage his people. Didn’t mean to scare anyone… Sorry!
Hello. If you decide to stop, please, could you leave the website up with the archived files? I’ve wanted to write so many times but always decided against it, thinking, “What could I say?” You could just simply add my name to a lot of the things that have been shared. In this week’s podcast I can relate to what people have said in finding some of these concepts hard to reconcile with my own deeply entrenched beliefs and ideas about who God is. I do realize there are areas where I don’t have to agree as well, but can admit to being so tangled up in some areas I’ve become like the person you mentioned who doesn’t engage because I don’t want to pass on the same disillusionment and confusion to others.
There have been times where I stopped listening, and then I find I have to come back. I hear the same thoughts and questions I’ve asked God, and also His validation that I’m not out there on some island with my own irrational thoughts. Coming from the black church, much of what I’ve experienced and witnessed is deeply rooted in conformity, performance, and shame-based practices. I was once part of what seemed to be a healthy and freedom-based community that turned abusive and drove many of us out never to return to anyplace. Since then I have been able to find some “safe” places, but I found they were only safe as I long I suppressed who I was and kept most of my thoughts to myself. Eventually, my refusal to outwardly conform and behave (in speech, worship styles, etc) made me stand out and then I seemed to become threatening to others and the leadership. I was never asked to leave, but staying became impossible for my own preservation. I take care of a disabled relative, so I’m challenged in being able to stay outside, because that reality is already isolating enough and impossible for her.
Currently, I’m in a new place that seems ok for now, but I am learning to manage my expectations and try to walk in the reality I know. I have a long way to go, and it’s a lonely and quiet place to be in. These podcasts have helped me hold on to Him even though its by my fingernails at times and I have no words to say to God. Looking back at all of this, I thought I was really walking with Him, and had this relationship that now I can’t even really define what it is. More than anything, that has unsettled me so much. When I heard you talk about the process and how long it has taken others to grow into His reality, it gave me hope and helped me know when my grasping is more about relief and trying to use other things as a substitute for Him.
Hello Wayne, Thank you for once again confirming What Father is working towards in me!
I love the Idea of God changing our perspective on the circumstances Rather than changing our circumstances and allowing My heart and mind to stay unchanged!
Recently I found myself in an interesting place! I have been selling tools on EBay during the winter to help pay the bills for the last 5+ years. Mostly factory direct name Brand stuff . I have become friends with my supplier and have come to trust Him quite a bit! The last time I went to his place to pick up a tool I had ordered … Last Tuesday He informs me That He will not be able to Get my most popular tools….. Management has changed and They are no longer selling The tools at the discounted price… I looked straight into his eyes and asked…These tools I have been selling for the last few years are not hot are they? To which he replied No and further explained the reason. Something Did not set right with me as I pulled out of his Drive The thought Came to me that I can ask Father to allow this to be uncovered reguardless of what it may cost me ! And as I prayed it I realized something in me had changed! I wanted What He wanted over my own well being and even over my reputation… So we celebrated that on the way home!! 3 days later There were 2 detectives at my house wanting to Inspect those tools I had listed on eBay. Father does answer prayer! Are we open to pray the prayer He would have us pray? They have confiscated most of them and the Investigation continues someone high up in the plant was selling tools He was stealing at a cheaper price . The amazing thing is through even this there has been no sence of guilt or shame but actually believe it or not I have been seeing His love for me through it !! Things are being set right and I get to be a part of that process.. God is interested in the best for all involved… I have been interested in what benefits me … But thanks to his love That is slowely changing..
We look forward to seeing you soon in Toledo!
Keep up the encouraging work!!
Wow! How timely for me! Thanks.
Wayne worded this so well, I had to write it down… “Choices have consequences and God’s love doesn’t negate the consequences. God’s love is to embrace you IN the consequences, and then use those very consequences to bring change at a depth in your soul and life that lets you live different and free in the world.”
Just yesterday a situation brought me face to face with some long-time baggage I’ve been carrying around. I made choices at the tender age of around 19 or 20 to pursue ministry instead of education and career. Fast forward 36 years and I am sitting here with neither. I am thankful for my current job but feel VERY under-employed, not to mention that a little more income could take a lot of pressure off. Ten years ago I walked away from the ministry that I had completely devoted my life to for thirty years. For ten years I struggled with this question: was God really calling me like I thought He was while I was making those sacrifices, or was I being led by my own brokenness? For ten years I’ve been back-pedalling trying to get some education and career advancement to undo those consequences. Ha! Well, today I am accepting that that’s not going to happen. At least not by me struggling. What is going to happen? I have no idea! And I’m at peace with that, most of the time anyway. It’s just time to let it go and enjoy the here and now for what it is.
Thanks Harvey and Pat for sharing specific instances where Father has begun to give you “new lenses” through which to view this brokenness. It’s encouraging as He is walking me through continued “processing” to see others’ lives as Father walks them through. Thanks.
I loved the story of explaining “communion” to the four year old as remembering what Jesus has done for us in a similar way as remembering a special family occasion through looking at photographs. I’ve done a whole lot of research on the ancient Jewish wedding ceremony and the parallels in Jesus’ life, and often use another picture when breaking bread and drinking wine with friends.
At the betrothal ceremony, the prospective bridegroom would slide a cup of wine over to the bride chosen for him by his father. If she accepted his proposal she drank from it, if not she slid it back untouched. He would not drink wine again until he returned for their wedding day (often in a year or 2, after he’d gone away to prepare a place for them both in his father’s house). I love the picture of us accepting his proposal, especially when I’m considering an invitation he’s made to me to walk with him through something difficult or to try something new in my life.
‘God often seems pleased to use inconvenient people, doing inconvenient things, that send us on inconvenient journeys – to get us to where we need to be’ referring to Samuel and Jesus visits to Bethlehem. Martin Young.
Thanks Wayne for introducing me to Emil Brunner, his 3 vols of dogma are blessing me big time. Enjoying God’s nudges.
Greetings from the Gaer Newport Wales.
There have been so many messages in the past years that have touched home but I feel the need to write about myself and maybe reinforce your message at the end of this message.
The thing you said that I want others to really hear is finding that free space and greater freedom.
I was born and raised lutheran, went to lutheran grade school and high shcool and sent my childern to the same. I only say this because as recent as 5 years ago I would have told you I had Christ in my life and was a strong Christain with many struggles and would have been asking just that question, “Why won’t God just change it?” Today the questions are so much different, I now ask, for peace, patience, strength, and wisdom to face the challenges, all with a strong since of hope, because I know on the other side of the challenge, I will be a much stronger person.
How did I get here? My story goes back some 30 years, wondering in the desert. Althougth I learned to mask it well, mainly by controlling the sittuations, I had low self-esteem. I struggled with love and what it meant to be loved. I believe much of this came because I was adopted, and knew nothing of my parents, or why? My parents I grew up with were super loving and supportive but there was still that burning question.
You would say I meet God in my life as things kept going up in my life. but really learned who he was when I hit the bottom. The decent to the bottom started some 16 years ago, one night as I was talking to my then wife, she informs me that she went out with some guys 10 years ago the weeks before our wedding. It was like the point in the Shack were his memory came back, everything came crashing down and all the peices fell together. Early in our dating life (8years) I caught her out a couple of times with a guy, but I made up my mind she was right for me and I just learned to control the situation so that would not happen again. I realily was afraid there was no one out there for me. Where today I can see all the nudges I had missed and deep down knew better. So after that annoucement, I spent 10 years heading down the path of loneliness and depression. At that moment I realized the one person I thought loved me, was only in this relationship out of fear and I had forced some of it with my control. I once again found myself struggling with love.
Today one of my favorite bible verses is: 1 John 4:18 (NIV)
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Becoming even better at masking my pain and controlling things it ended and bottom was reached 6 years ago with her asking for divocre,I had hit bottom. Something I never believed in (divorce)had happened but here is where my story changed.
You would think in all the shame I would be so afraid to talk to God. The opposite was true I began to pray and have daily conversations. He led me through nudges to pick up a book called “The Shack” and my life was beginng to be transformed. I found Waynes other books and loved each one. One of the best and hardest books I read was by a friend of Waynes, “Bo’s Cafe.” It was like they wrote a story based off my life it was so powerful to me.
God has always been in my life, as I look back I can see so many times now, where He was there, I just had to hit rock bottom to the point where I had to come and seek him out. knock on his door for help, or like the prodigal son I had to realize it and come back home.
My life is a journey, at times I feel I have gone nowhere, but I need to just look over my shoulder to be reminded where I have come. It has not been easy, I have been flat broke not knowing where money was going to come from, at home just crying to God in desperationa and someone came to the door with a check.
So what has changed I have given up on control, God leads the dance now. I have given up on fear, because I trust He always has my best interest in mind for the long run. There is an overwhleming since of freedom and peace because I have no need to worrry.
I have no need to worry because when I think I can’t I know I can lean on Him ask Him to provide the fruit I need as it is written in (Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” ) He will grant these. So I have learned to ask for these, becasue He has shown himself to me so many times, when I trust Him, I have no fears.
Key in my journey was making God first, not just in my struggles but everyday. As I learned to trust God everyday I was amazed at the fruit that was beginning to grow on my vine, Wayne once described in his engaged series.
One last thing I have written down on my billboard and it says by Wayne Jacobson: “MY journey with God is not How do I build a relationship with God but How do I begin to recognize how god is building on in me already.
Once I began to stop trying, and began to see what was happening, then freedom began to fill in the voids. Stop trying to concentrate so hard on leading the dance, relax and lsiten to the band as your are being lead, you will find pleasure and freedom in the dance.
“Many years ago I took dancing lessons. The instructor told us that one of the biggest problems couples have is letting the other lead. When they’re both trying to lead, they’re stepping on each other’s feet all the time, and it doesn’t look very pretty.
Your life doesn’t look very pretty when you’re trying to lead with God at the same time. You just need to let God be God and make Jesus the manager of your life.” ( I have the written down from Rick Warren)
Randy, thank you for taking the time to share part of your story. (I say “part” b/c there’s always much more than we can write in a blurb). Jesus is also walking me out of brokenness and sometimes I’m surprised at the amount of time He takes. Then He whispers and reassures me that this is b/c of His patience and love for me not b/c of pressure or some agenda He “needs” me to follow. Slowly I also am seeing a wider and wider space I’m invited to live inside of with Him. He does encourage us also by letting us see that there are others on similar journeys and that we’re not “crazy” or completely alone in what we’re seeing and learning. Over time the fear begins to be displaced and we can see that what appears to us to be utterly dark and chaotic…He is using for our greatest benefit and transformation. I know that Hebrews 12 has that note of encouragement “keep going….He’s at work…don’t give up…keep going”. Blessings
I want to put my 2 cents in and say I love these podcasts and the comments … Pls keep it coming. I’m amazed I am where I am on my journey since I once belonged to a very legalistic church/cult … I left it over 10 yrs ago and after leaving that more striving for religion … Whew! What a journey … I continue to pray that God would untwist what has been twisted in me as you encourage us to do Wayne.
Wayne, When I listen to u I feel a great sense of peace and observe that God has given u some serious wisdom . And I love it when Brad is there … that’s icing on the cake. I have enjoyed all the special guests u have had. Would love to hear your views on evolution … Maybe a discussion with a scientist or expert u know. I am not anti-science but the scientific view is that evolution is a fact which I don’t understand and don’t know how to reconcile with the Bible.
I will try to post more often as I get so much out of others’ comments
Thanks for the podcast, Wayne. The part that struck me most today was God wants to walk us out of our mess. I am so glad love is not conditional…
I also struggle with depression, and a few years ago I was advised by a Christian counsellor to go on antidepressants. For me, that only made it worse. I am glad I had the experience, though; it helps me understand fellow travellers. I have just really been hurt by counselling, so I don’t really endorse it at this time.
Thank you for the communion story. I have often asked God what communion is all about…I believe he is sorting out my mess on the topic. And through all of the messy trials of everyday life, I am slowly starting to glimpse the relationship God is building with me…
Sorry about your experience with counseling and medication. I’ve had varying experiences with both. Sometimes I believe it takes several tries before you come up with the right person, or right drug.
I believe the proper medication has not only saved my life, but saved me from behavior leading to potentially disastrous consequences. And I do believe God is in these processes also.
I strongly believe destructive religion was part and parcel of my emotional distress. Since having made the transition from transactional living with man at the head, to relational living with Jesus as the head, that has made a tremendous difference in my emotional health and well-being.
Wayne, Ok, I’m a little behind on my listening…just caught this podcast. But it’s still relevant here in May! You nailed it, for me anyway. When I read The Shack many years ago, the Cave chapter and Mac’s dialog with Sophia caught my attention more than anything else in the book. I resonated so deeply with Mac, and Sophia’s confrontations of my thinking were straight to the point of the problem…flawed expectations / demands of God that left me in a place of judgment against Him. I’ve been drawn back to that chapter several times, knowing deeply that I need to listen to what’s said there.
Having faced depression for years I can understand the long process of transition in my thinking (NOT in my circumstances). I too have been one complaining and grumbling that “God doesn’t just fix it”. But as time goes by and the transition slowly continues, I totally agree that God’s whole purpose, His whole method of operation is to change my thinking – on the inside – about Him, myself and the world. As another teacher says, “Stinkin’ thinkin’ leads to stinkin’ livin'” – Joyce Meyer.
As I was driving down the highway listening to these words from the podcast, the overwhelming message came upon me: “He loves me. It’s not my circumstances; it’s not whether I feel that love; it’s not whether he has fixed my church situation or my marriage, or my financial status. It’s just that He loves me.” And for some sweet, restful moments, I just accepted it. Without some proof of my own concoction, without evidence of my own insistence. He loves me…and I rest.
On another note – and I’ve wanted to do this for some time now – We HAVE most amazing places here in Colorado for a retreat / God-Journey gathering of anywhere up to 100 people. Our little spiritual fellowship has used several different places within 2 1/2 hours from Colorado Springs / Denver. They have country and vistas that will take your breath away. They have facilities for awesome food, gentle relaxation and venue for unscripted dialog. And their prices are less than $100 / night for each group member. Please consider yourself formally invited. Because I’ve worked with several places already on an annual basis, I’d be willing to make ALL the logistical arrangements for an entire group.
I know you’re Spirit-led so do whatever you know is right on this idea. Just give me several months heads-up to make it happen if you’re led here. Or…of course, if you can only give me a week, then we’ll “follow the man with the water pot to an Upper Room that WILL BE available”
Blessings in Christ,
Glenn, a retreat in the Colorado area sounds like a lot of fun if folks want to get together there. The original retreat we were talking about hasn’t worked out, but I’d be all for a God Journey gathering if folks are game. Any takers?
2015 is out, but I could probably set aside some time in 2016 with plenty of advance notice. Never been to Colorado before, sounds like a great trip!
Great. I’ll keep that in mind…