“Everything will work out.”
Is that so.
I’m sitting in my bedroom, putting some finishing touches on a few different pieces I’ve been writing, and the advice of others is rattling in my brain like a loose screw in a metal box.
“God has the perfect person for you.”
“One day, you’ll look back on this and be grateful.”
“Just give it time.”
I’ve noticed this trait lately, in myself and others: when other words fail, we do ourselves and God a disservice by taking on his role of divine healer, offering nice-sounding promises that he never made.
Oh, we do so nobly. And, to our thinking, it may even make sense. The Bible doesn’t ever say that “everything is going to work out.” Not really. But sort of seems like the sort of thing it would say. Should say. It’ d be nice if it did, anyhow.
So, we put a little spin to ease the pain.
Ours can be a sentimental faith, and it is often difficult to sort out what is true and what only sounds true. And we sell God short when we try to supplement our mighty salvation with gilded platitudes.
There’s no sense in getting God off the hook. Perhaps you will never get married. Many people do, but it is not something that God guarantees. And who knows what in life we will look back on with gratitude and what we will look back on in regret?
And as far as everything working out goes, well, we all know better.
Fortunately, it is not hard to tell fake promises from real ones. Like wax fruit, fake promises lack the intangible grit of authenticity. “God will give you the perfect girl someday” doesn’t have the punch of “the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give” (John 14:27). And “everything will work out” sounds juvenile and saccharine next to “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Admittedly, the real promises require a little more spine than the fake ones. But that’s what I mean by “grit.”
So let us stop bolstering the Gospel with our own good intentions. Any attempt to make God better is doomed to bitter results. However much we might wish our God was more like a divine sympathy card, we do well to remember that he is better than our imagination. He is real. And he is so good.