And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me. (Luke 7:21)
As we preach and teach the wonderful truths of God’s grace and love, there are those whose current circumstances do not reflect the message that is being shared. For some, the blessings of the gospel seem far away and out of reach. As they compare their lives to the truths being taught frustration and bitterness can take root. “If God loves me, why won’t He….fill in the blank.”
The disciples experienced such a moment on their journey with Jesus across a lake. Where could there be a safer place on the face of the earth than sitting in a boat with Jesus? And yet, the storm threatened the boat and their very lives while Jesus slept. “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38) Though this took place over the course of minutes, it can be reflective of the lives of some believers. “God, don’t you care that I’m sick?” “Don’t you care that I can’t pay my bills?” “Don’t you care that my marriage is falling apart?”
This kind of thinking reflects a serious misunderstanding. Because of wrong thinking, the believer becomes offended at God. “If you are love, you shouldn’t let this happen.” That offense turns to complaining, a critical spirit, cynicism and finally, unbelief.
Wrong thinking leads to wrong believing. Jesus made this clear when after having rebuked the wind and the waves, said: “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” The problem was in the hearts of the disciples, not in the character of God.
Paul and Silas found themselves in prison for preaching the gospel. They could have been bitter, blaming each other for this indignity and suffering. They could have been complaining. They could have been offended at God for permitting their arrest. They could have said, “God, don’t you care that we are perishing?” But what they did was praise Him. “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God.” Rather than be offended, they chose to praise in the midst of the storm. Their faith rose above their feelings. “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.” Praise God! Their attitude of faith and praise released God’s provision.
If God delivered you instantly from whatever thing you are suffering right now, would you then sing His praises? Would offense and cynicism turn to thanksgiving? Well, what if you tried praise and thanksgiving in the midst of the storm? Rather than being offended, exercise your faith! God is not the problem. He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. God has given you the authority and the grace to change your circumstances. Even if you are in ‘prison,’ choose to praise Him. Praise will release the power of God. Offense never will.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. (1 John 3:21).