Whether they know it or not…
Whether they admit it or not…
….every believer struggles with having a positive image of God. Is he mad at them for their latest sin, committed for the umpteenth time? Is he holding back blessings…or even sending curses on them? Has he stopped hearing their prayers?
If you want to know how I know what you’re going through so well, it’s because all believers signed up forÂ the same challenge of serving an invisible and silent Father in heaven. Yes, we all know it’s a matter of faith to believe in and serve God. But being told that over and over does little to help us with our day to day uncertainty on how he judges in general, and us in specific. We’re all left kind of paranoid about God because we are lacking information.
I finally recognized this universal problem after noticing similar questions from believers like above. I would receive these questions from people despite my advertised area of expertise being in Bible prophecy (the topic of my first book), not in, say, pastoring or Christian counseling. That indicates how desperate people are for answers on this problem.
For example, here’s the latest one from just this week on this theme:
i pray to Jesus but I’m afraid because i am not very christian in my ways that he don’t hear me
what do you think?
When I answered her she was quite pleased with what I said. Therefore I am going to publish my answer to her below knowing that for every person who has asked, there are many more who have not yet have the same doubts.
Here’s What I Said:
What you’re saying about having doubts and fears is very common. In the last few years I conquered my own doubts about God not wanting to hear from me or to help me. I did this by studying Jesus words and deeds which he said was always “showing the Father” and only doing what the Father willed.
And what did he do? He only loved those who came to him for help (which excludes the religious leaders he rebuked because they came to attack him). He even healed every single person who came to him, even when there were masses of hundreds, it says he healed them all. Of course, in crowds of that size there were certainly some there of “unchristian ways” like you have, and even heavy sinners. Yet we find that he never said, “go repent and do better before I’ll heal you.” He healed all who came.
God is the same way because Jesus said he reflected the Father’s wills and ways. He will do the same for us if we seek him. He will not reject us and say we’re not good enough.
Now, if you think you’re not good enough or worried that you are not right with God, then that’s actually a very good sign. The real problem would be if you were not worried about your ways or relationship with God. You know, just like most of the world who does not give God a passing thought let alone care what he says? You’re not like that based on what I’m hearing, so your every attempt at prayer or good works, even when you fail, is pleasing to God.
In Revelation it reveals that the prayers of the saints are as sweet incense to God. How can that be? Because it takes faith to pray to an invisible God and to believe he will do good in response. Hebrews says without faith its impossible to please God. You’re very pleasing to God when you act in faith, no matter how imperfectly (or even boringly!).
Consider by comparison how we view toddlers who try to do well but stumble and get in trouble and make messes. Even though we are imperfect and “evil” (Lk 11:13), we love them and enjoy their every cute attempt to please us, no matter how disastrous. I think God has to see us as toddlers, too. When we keep stumbling while trying to do right he still loves and enjoys us as, compared to us, he is full of patience, mercy and love.
And here’s another thing: he expects nothing less since he made us this way: limited in strength, understanding, and willpower. He already knew we’d make mistakes, forget to do what we promised and , etc. He forgives all because this is how we designed us: imperfect and learning through repeated, inevitable mistakes. When you think about it, we probably in total do more things wrong in life than right, yet we’ll all be in the kingdom for our intent or heart to do right and not be kept out for all our failures.
Do you feel better yet? Then go pray to God and just talk to him like a toddler goes on and on and know that, like we do with our toddlers, God will laugh and enjoy it. God wants to hear from you, his child who seeks to please him.