There are a handful of modern worship songs that I genuinely enjoy, but more and more I find myself having to stop singing mid-verse once in a while because I disagree with certain ideas those songs communicate.
Last Sunday we were visiting someone’s church service in Fullerton, California and they started to sing one of those songs. The part I really love in this song says, “You are good, good, ooooooh. You are good, good, oooooh” and that feels really great to sing at the top of my lungs, to be honest.
However, the very next part always makes me shake my head in disbelief: “You’re never gonna let, you’re never gonna let me down.”
Whenever I look around the room and see about a hundred people with their hands in the air, and their eyes squeezed shut and the tears streaming down their face, all singing things like “You’re never gonna let me down” I want to run up to the microphone on the stage and shout: “Yes God will let you down one day. God will let you down so hard! And then what will you do?”
Because, see, that’s reality. That’s real life.
God does let us down now and again. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. Trust me. And then you’ll have to find your way forward from there.
See, whenever someone fails to live up to your expectations, they let you down. That’s what it means to let someone down, actually: Failure to live up to our expectations.
Will God fail to live up to your expectations? Oh, yes, Matilda. God will absolutely fail to live up to your expectations.
When you expect God to heal your Mom’s cancer, God will let you down.
When you expect God to restore that romantic relationship, God will let you down.
When you expect God to help you get that job you interviewed for last week, God will let you down.
When you expect God to __________, God will let you down.
This is when our faith gets tested. This is when we discover the gap between our expectations of God and the real God who created the Universe.
The Bible is chock full of examples where people expected God to “zig” but God decided to “zag” instead.
Job and Psalms are great places to start if you’re looking for examples of this sort of thing.
So, when I hear Christians belting out verses about how God will never let them down, it concerns me. What will happen in a few short weeks or months when God DOES let them down? Will they lose faith? Will they walk away from God? Will they sink into despair or depression?
Why do we set people up like this? Why do we allow complete nonsense like this to be shouted from loudspeakers and repeated over and over again for ten solid minutes?
Here’s what I want you to know: God will let you down. But it doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t care. What it means is that your expectations of God weren’t aligned with reality.
Our faith walk is all about learning to hear God’s voice; learning to walk with God through the darkness and the pain; learning to trust that God is there even when we don’t feel it.
God will fail to meet your expectations. But it’s our expectations that need to change, not our faith in God who never changes.
In my own life, I’ve experienced those disappointments with God. Sometimes the feeling of betrayal was unbearable. God set me up. God ripped me off. God let me go through something horrible.
In those moments, you get to reevaluate your relationship with God. You get to come to God with your pain and your brokenness and you get to ask to be healed by the One who – at least in your perception – caused you pain.
Then you get to reflect on why you thought God was going to do this, or that and why making those assumptions is what caused your pain – not God.
What God promises is that when we go through those valleys of the shadow of death, we won’t go through those places alone. Because God is with us. God will never leave us or forsake us. God’s love for us is higher, wider, longer and deeper than we can fathom. God’s love transcends knowledge. And nothing will ever separate us from the love of God. Nothing.Those are the promises you hold on to. That’s the expectation you carry with you. All the rest can fade away.
God is good and you are loved by God.
And the thing about love is: Love never fails.
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
His newest book, “Jesus Unveiled: Forsaking Church As We Know It For Ekklesia As God Intended” released on June 9, 2019 on Amazon, and features a Foreword by author Richard Jacobson.
His book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.
His Podcast: Heretic Happy Hour Podcast is on iTunes and Podbean.
Can’t get enough? Get great bonus content: Patreon page.
*Hot Springs, NC – July 11-14 “Wild Goose Festival”
*Woodstock, GA – July 27-28 “Unleashing the Word of God” [With Richard Murray] – FREE!