When It Seems God 'Slaps Us In The Face' - The Warrior's Journey®

When It Seems God ‘Slaps Us In The Face’

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When It Seems God ‘Slaps Us In The Face’

I don’t want to sound irreverent. But have there ever been times when it seemed like God put a damper on your zeal or trounced on your efforts to draw close to Him? There have been those times, perhaps after one of life’s storms, when I’ve tried to draw near to God. Then something happens that hits me like a punch on the jaw. My initial reaction is something like, “Sorry I asked, God. I won’t bother You again.” 

Of course, I do come to God again. I can’t endure life without Jesus in the center of it. Whether or not He answers any of my prayers or does anything else for me, life without Jesus isn’t worth living. 

If you’ve ever seen the Christmas classic motion picture, It’s a Wonderful Life, you may recall the time when George Bailey was trying to pray to God. He’s in a desperate situation and he turns to God. Yet, George barely gets through his heart-wrenching prayer before a man, Mr. Welsh, punches him in the mouth. Later, George explains to Clarence his guardian angel, “I got a bust in the jaw in answer to a prayer.” But Clarence assures him, “Oh, no, no, no George. I’m the answer to your prayer. That’s why I was sent down here. …I’m your guardian angel.”   George looks him over and retorts, “Well you look about like the kind of angel I’d get.” 

Like George Bailey, we can misinterpret painful circumstances as a sign of God’s disapproval or rejection. We can mistake disappointment and setback as a slap in the face by God. 

I thought about this recently, when reading about David’s attempt to bring the Ark of God to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 6. God had given David victory over all his enemies. And with a sincere desire to be closer to God, David planned to bring the Ark into the kingdom’s capital. But the effort initially resulted in disaster and left David wondering if he understood God at all. 

With much fanfare and 30,000 soldiers, David attempted to bring the Ark away from the Gibeonite city of Kireath-Jearim back into the hands of the Israelites. David’s men placed the Ark on an ox-drawn cart – an idea borrowed from the Philistines (1 Samuel 6:7-16) – and they began their journey to Jerusalem.  

But they didn’t get far. One of the men guiding the oxen, Uzzah, reached out and touched the Ark to steady it when the oxen stumbled. For this irreverence, Uzzah was struck dead. This so angered and upset David that he, then and there, cancelled his plans. “How can the Ark of the LORD ever come to me?” he wondered.  

But David completely misinterpreted the entire affair. God wasn’t angry with him. God wasn’t rejecting him. Nor was God’s Ark like some deadly radioactive isotope. For David soon received word that God was blessing Obed-Edom’s home through the Ark, not destroying it. So, David renewed his plans to bring the Ark to Jerusalem.

But this time David would not approach the LORD strictly on the basis of his own zeal and love for God. He would come to God reverently and on the basis of God’s word. David realized that the Scripture commanded that the sacred Ark should be carried on the shoulders of the Levitical priests and to be treated with utmost respect (Numbers 4:4-15; 7:9; 1 Chronicles 15:11-13). 

With the Ark upon the shoulders of the priests, and with the offering of sacrifices, David brought the Ark to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:12-19). There it would occupy a special tent David pitched for it. And before it, night and day, Levitical singers would sing God’s praises (1 Chronicles 16:4-37).  

Why did God put such a damper on David’s first effort to bring the Ark to Jerusalem? It wasn’t to discourage David from approaching Him. Nor was it because God was rejecting David. But God was doing a work of sanctification in David’s heart, and this required that David align himself with the word of God.  

David loved God and was zealous for Him. But this love and zeal did not grant David license to do anything he pleased or approach God in his own way. All of us approach God through the sacrifice for all sins – Jesus the Lamb of God (John 1:29; 14:6; Hebrews 19:19-22). And as we draw near to God, God will identify things in our lives that must be surrendered to Him or removed altogether. In Psalm 66:17-18, David himself wrote, I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Step by step, God was taking the deeply flawed David and transforming him into a true man of God. 

So, please don’t get discouraged when you try to draw closer to God and something painful happens. In no way is God rejecting you. Sometimes our efforts to draw closer to God enrage the devil and he’ll initiate an attack. But having the devil as an adversary is a very good and healthy sign. And God is in control, so He’ll only allow spiritual attacks and temptation to come which will serve His purpose to make you grow in faith. 

And, sometimes, when we draw closer to God, God uses it as an opportunity to point out something in our lives which displeases Him and must be changed. Maybe this divine conviction is accompanied by some failure or painful event. But God is not slapping you in the face. He’s not driving you from Him. He’s working to transform you into the image of His Son and prepare you for eternity in heaven. God is investing in a divine project which He deems worth all His effort and cost. As the Bible assures us, “Those whom the Lord loves, He corrects and trains” (Hebrews 12:6). 


PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I yearn for a life without bee stings and dog bites, but I know that pain often serves a redemptive purpose in my life. So, Lord, I submit myself to Your divine discipline and training. Please, Lord Jesus, do all that is necessary in my life to prepare me for Your judgment seat and for the glories of heaven. Amen. 

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