Is God Good When Life Isn't?
Reminder: Watch this video the week of July 19th - July 25th
Session 4 – Introduction:
It is a simple Latin phrase, only three words: quid pro quo.
Roughly translated, it means, "This for that." This little phrase encapsulates the way many people approach life. Everything is a negotiation, a contract, an agreement. You do this; I'll do that -- everyone is happy!
Marriages can function like this. You clean the house and raise the kids and I'll go to the office and pay the bills. You listen to me and show tenderness and I'll respond with romantic affection. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Quid pro quo.
Business partnerships often rest on this line of thinking. You handle the clients and I'll do the bookkeeping. You put in sixty hours a week and I'll match it. You keep the customers happy and I'll keep products on the shelves. This for that. Quid pro quo.
Friendships can even revolve around this philosophy. If you are there for me in my times of need, I will be there for you. When you show kindness and concern, so will I. If you speak well of me to others, my words will be equally flattering about you. Quid pro quo.
For some people, quid pro quo makes their world go round. But here is the dilemma with this contractual approach to relationships; when a spouse does not uphold his or her part of the bargain, then all bets are off. When a business partner is not producing the goods, it might be time to offload them. When a friend is not measuring up and caring as we think they should, we can find ourselves moving on to greener relational pastures.
Nowhere is this kind of thinking more dangerous than when we impose on God our sense of how he should behave, what he should do for us, or how he should run the universe, things can get messy very quickly.
God, if you keep my body healthy, then I will follow you with all my heart. If you give me a solid financial footing and provide what I think I need, then I will lovingly share my resources with others. If you protect my children from harm, then I will follow you and trust you. If you draw my loved ones to faith in you, then I will tell the world that you are a good and merciful God. Quid pro quo.
But when your health fails, your finances crash, your child is seriously injured, or a loved one dies without faith in Jesus, what then? Is God still good? Will you still follow him with all your heart?
Think About it:
How can using a quid pro quo approach to relationships be helpful? When does it become detrimental and harmful? How can a quid pro quo approach to faith cause real problems in our relationship with God?
KEY SCRIPTURES OF THE WEEK
“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
“So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.