Those born before 1990 might remember receiving chain letters in the mail. You were promised riches or other material goods, and if you didn’t obey the commands of the letter, you would suffer from misfortune.
Now I’m receiving the digital version of chain letters, which are much shorter. A screen shot of this chain letter is below:
I would hope that if God was speaking these words to the originator of this message, the Holy Spirit would also breathe “grammar” and “spellcheck.”
I’m all for positive, uplifting messages, but this was one step beyond a fortune cookie. God doesn’t grant wishes if you put a quarter into a Zoltar Machine.
First of all, God’s love and providence aren’t conditional. Perhaps our previous relationships have given us ultimatums — “If you love me, you’ll do this.” But that’s not love. That’s certainly not faith. It’s manipulation. It’s coercion.
God doesn’t work that way.
God, like any parent, wants us to love Him, but our free will offers us a choice — do we want to love God and His path, or do we want to do things our way and have God submit his works to our own will?
Second of all, it doesn’t consider what we would do if God did indeed change his mind and “fix two things” in our favor. Is our faith now conditional upon his bending things toward our favor? Is our faith based on things seen rather than unseen?
When things are always going our way, will we continue to honor God, or will we become complacent? Do we look deep within and vow never to make the choices that brought us to this circumstance in the first place?
Thirdly, where do our own efforts factor into play? If God fixes all of our circumstances, do we continue to make stupid choices, knowing that God will fix our situation? Do we never face consequences for our actions?
Last, it says “tomorow (sic)” will be the best day of your life. Although this encourages us to start that day with a positive mindset, it doesn’t recognize the gift that our trials have to offer. It also doesn’t recognize the gifts that we aren’t acknowledging in the present moment. We “hope for” something that hasn’t arrived rather than “hope in” the fact that God is currently with us in our struggle.
If I were to rewrite that digital chain letter, it would read something like this:
God is with you in your struggle — do you not see it? He is there with you in your rubbled-over heart. When you feel the world is crashing down on you, it’s hard to see where God might be. If you look beyond the world and look within, God is there. He is the whisper in things unseen. He is the ground beneath you.
You have already been blessed with many gifts, but you continue to ruminate on what you don’t have. You insist that things go your way, yet you don’t acknowledge the choices you have made that blinded you from seeing where God has been.
If you believe in God, that is enough. Now open your eyes and see the many blessings you have already been given that you failed to see.
You are being tested, but don’t believe for a second that you can test God. Your test was yours and yours alone, designed to build strength for your unique path.
If you believe in God, drop everything that you have done that turned your eyes away from Him. Today is the best day of your life.
Rather than share this with 30 kind friends, take the next 20 minutes to pray for them.