“God is good all the time. All the time God is good…”
Christianity has a knack for making catchy statements for people to recite and live by (especially in fundamental circles). Frankly, I’m ready to call BS on a few of them. I have come to learn that most of the “quotes” from preachers that I have written in the back of my Ole King Jimmy are utter NONSENSE! I have said it before and stand by the fact that most people who give out cliché expressions to help you through trials have never faced any real heartache or turmoil themselves. They are just repeating what they have heard over and over—like a parrot—with no basis or understanding to what they are actually saying.
If you were a rebellious Baptist like me and actually owned a television set during the 90′s you are probably familiar with the iconic show about nothing—Seinfeld! One of my favorite episodes is when Kramer and George’s dad, Frank Costanza try a new relaxation technique. Whenever they were were stressed, upset, or annoyed, Frank and Kramer were to yell out, “SERENITY NOW” and all of their problems would “melt away”. It would take George’s nemesis Lloyd Braun to reveal that the technique was a farce, but Lloyd explained it best as, “Serenity Now; INSANITY later …” Got a quick 2 minutes? Watch this clip from the Serenity Now episode of Seinfeld and what I just said will make a little more sense:
The point I am trying to make is that repeating stupid phrases with no basis can cause some SERIOUS problems to a Christ follower if and WHEN trouble strikes. Let me explain. But first, here are a few of my favorites that I’m sure you have heard before:
If you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on!
God must hurt you deeply to use you greatly…
New levels. New Devils.
Why ask if God sent judgement if you think that He can?
Work yourself to death. Then pray yourself alive!
You don’t go into a storm. You wake up in the storm!
The test of a man’s character is what it takes to stop him.
Life is easy … when you realize how hard it is.
I have a LOAD more (Yes, these really were in my Bible) but I got sick of typing. I used to view the “Christian World” through the proverbial “Rose Colored Glasses” with all those above sayings and more in my back pocket! I would shout, “HAYMEN! That’s GOOD Preacher!” at every revival and scribble more nonsense into the margins of my Bible. I would shake my head at those who were struggling without “enough faith” to live by the Man of God’s words that were given. All those clichés were awesome—until I was put through the crucible.
To be completely candid, when the bottom fell out in my life, I would grow angrier and more upset whenever I would hear anything remotely similar to the above mentioned statements. I still actually roll my eyes and chuckle to myself when I hear morons spout off about how great their life is and how everything is “All good”. I would think to myself, “just wait … you have no idea what you are talking about.” Is some of that bitterness, pain, and jealousy creeping in? More than likely. But I said I was just being candid, remember? The truth is that we are all flawed men and women. We are all just one phone call away from the worst news of our life. When you get the call that says, “_____ is dead” or “I don’t love you anymore” or “You’re fired” or ” ____FILL IN THE BLANK____” — is some hokey saying or load of “Baptist BS” what you really want to hear? Is a catchy phrase really going to melt away your pain? The answer is NO!
What is missing from this post (as well as most sermons) is ACTUAL SCRIPTURE. Who gives a crap what some man says? I want to know what this great, big God says about overcoming my problems. I’ve been to seminary, I’ve sat through countless numbers of sermons, and I could rattle off dozens and dozens of verses on how things “work together for good” and how not to “lean on my own understanding”. However, what I have found is that those verses are hard to swallow when they are so seemingly contradictory to how your life is actually unfolding. Is there a missing piece? I believe so… But you will have wait until our next episode: WHEN GOD GOES SILENT. Sorry for the cliffhanger, but this is a blog—not a book!