Written by David Lenehan
When someone keeps changing their mind about something – going in one direction and then switching back the other way over and over – we call them “fickle.” If someone just cannot make up their mind about an issue or what path to take, we call them “indecisive.” I don’t like to admit it, but there have been many times in my life when I have been both fickle and indecisive in my faith in Christ. I’m not referring to not knowing if Jesus truly is the only way to forgiveness and eternal life. I am 100% rock solid about that. I also fully believe that God loves me, cares for me, offers me grace, mercy and peace in abundance.
I’m talking about how I view what happens in my life and God’s part in it. Sure, when things are going well, when my wife and kids are living life strongly and following Jesus as they should, I know God is in control. I thank Him for all of that. But, when life throws a curve ball – when something goes wrong in life…large or small…who is the first one that I tend to at least question if not blame? God. That’s crazy, right? I find it curious that people who say they don’t believe in God are often the first ones to blame Him when disaster strikes. I believe in Him and yet I still do that!
When the Apostle Paul was on his way to Rome, he and his companions were shipwrecked and ended up on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea south of Italy. Two things happened to Paul shortly after he walked ashore that were two polar opposite responses to what the islanders saw.
Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god” (Acts 28:1-6, NIV).
- Paul was bit by a snake so therefore he is a murderer.
- Nope, Paul survived the snake bite, so he is a god.
That doesn’t make sense. But this is exactly what I too often do with God. When things are going great, God is great. When things are not, I start wondering if God forgot about me/us. I start to complain and find myself often forgetting the incredible amazing good things God has done in my life. Despite my waffling, indecisiveness or my level of fickle, here’s the great news about God:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17, NIV)
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings” (Heb. 13:7-9a, NIV)
“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8, NIV)
“…in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior…” (Titus 1:2-3, NIV)
Circumstances change. Bad things happen to everyone. My faith sometimes waivers. Doubt loves to rear its ugly self in my heart. But, all of that is really irrelevant because we believe in, follow and serve and unchanging, always present, always loving, always faithful Lord Jesus. Praise God!!