For a lot of my life I viewed God and consequences a bit like a vending machine. If you put in a lot you will probably get something good. Do something wrong- your consequence will follow. Praying, reading your Bible, trusting God will result in a Godly happy life. You will have prosperity in your family, friendships, and career. If you sin you will suffer accordingly. What you pray for, God will grant, if you pray diligently enough. Pray for protection over your friends and family they will be protected. Have people pray over you for a good grade and you will get it. Pray about a relationship and it will all work out alright.
And there's sometimes when it does work out. When I pray to God and ask for something and He gives me exactly what I want. And I'm like hallelujah He is Lord.
But then there's other times when I've prayed about something for a long time, and God doesn't seem to be answering my prayer. And I try to be patient, I try to wait, or I act in faith. And then all of a sudden I fall on my face- I fail a test- a relationship ends in brokenness and pain.. and I wonder.. Where are you God?
It's these times when I fall that I have to remember that whether I am in the dust lying on the ground maybe even being trampled by an elephant, God is just as much Lord as when I am dancing in the ballroom or getting my dream job.
You see God's faithfulness does not rest in my personal life success- as painful and humbling as this may be to admit- this is a blessing friends. God does not need you to be prosperous for Him to be glorified.
In fact God may desire me to fail (at times) as much as He desires for me to succeed.
His goal is not my happiness. His goal is a better relationship with me. Maybe He wants to use my weaknesses as an opportunity to trust His strength. Maybe He wants to comfort me when I am crying, to be my stronghold when I am weak.
When I am strong, when I am smart, when I am capable I don't need God. When I have friends and family and money and health, I am content to live on this earth. It's when life gets hard that I begin to look up at the stars and long for heaven and God reminds me "this place is not your home".
It's hard to fail. It's painful when God humbles us. It hurts to feel inadequate, alone, not good enough.
Yet God says your identity does not rest in your career, your grades, your friends, your relationship, your wisdom or lack of it. God sometimes has to remind us that He is the only thing that will truly matter in eternity and He wants us to stop making idols.
Friends we all have our struggles. We all have our masks that we wear at one time or another pretending to be strong when we are breaking, pretending to be loving when all we feel inside is hate, pretending.. we love pretending that we are independent and self-sufficient. But when life hits you in the face, knocks you down to the dirt, realize that even when you are covered in mud.. God loves you. Jesus loves you. He loves you so much. And He will pick you up off the ground, out of the mud, and say I have a plan and I'm growing you as a person and together we are going to overcome this.