When God Doesn’t Live up to Your Expectations

No, God doesn’t need any help. He has his own plans and his own ways of doing things. And they’re usually not according to our expectations.

But if people are watching and things don’t move according to popular expectations, then we’re in trouble. Or we think that God’s reputation will be on the line. God is not worried about his reputation – why are we?

Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu wanted to make sure they looked authentic before the people. Instead of waiting for fire from heaven to come down and burn up the sacrifice, they offered their own solution. They decided to add their own fire to the sacrifice. They got the desired effect. But God was not pleased (Lev 10:1-3).

Allow God to work at his own pace. He doesn’t need us to help him out. When we allow God to move as he pleases, He will be glorified and pleased.

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Seven Things I’ve Learned About Worship

Worship is natural and everyone worships. The object of their worship may be different, but it is clear that worship is part of our makeup. Although there are those who worship created things, we are instructed to only worship the creator.


Here are some things I’ve learned about worship.

1. Worship Needs Preparation

The Mind needs to be readied to worship. If you’re looking for a personal time of worship, make sure to find a quiet place for you to concentrate.

When you go to church or small group, get there early. Allow your heart, mind, and body to be still. That’s one way for you to be ready, rather than rushing to worship.

The Heart has to have the single focus for God. Prepare your heart by removing distractions. Remove every distraction that draws our focus away from God.

The Body needs to be separated for God. Keep your body separated for God and Him only. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

2. Worship Has an Audience of One

Whenever we gather, God has already come. He has been expecting you. He longs to have your attention. You already have his.

Only God needs to be pleased. Seek to please no other. Because you are his child, he is already pleased. As a father, when my children call, I often answer their call with a smile. I am already pleased with them just because they are my children.

Our Father needs to be our entire focus. What about other things we focus on? They are not a focus when we focus on the Father.

3. Worship is the End, Not a Means to an End

We worship to worship. Just that. No other agenda.

As a pastor, I would like the people to be focused and ready for my sermons. But that is not the purpose of worship.

So why is worship the end? And not a means to an end? Simply because God is worthy of our worship.

4. Worship Needs to be Personal and Corporate

Both forms of worship are important. We value worship as a community because God has called us into community. The church as the body of Christ can only live when the parts are together. Therefore we worship as small communities representing the greater community of the Church of Jesus.

We worship individually because each person needs to make the decision to follow Jesus. That decision is individual within the corporate context of commitment. God will speak to us personally as we spend time with Him.

5. Worship is Life/Life is Worship

Worship is more than an event. It is life itself. We live for God and to God.

After all, God was the one who gave us life, breath, and everything to sustain us. So we live our lives as worship to God.

6. Worship should be natural, from within

True worship originates from the heart. It is a response to God and to life. It is a response to God out of thankfulness. It is a response to life as the only means to make sense of life.

Worship that originates from anywhere other than within us. becomes a performance. Then it is no longer worship.

7. Worship is best in the midst of pain

There are some who refrain from worship due to the intense amount of pain in their lives. They run from God out of confusion or guilt.

But we can run to our heavenly Father as a child runs in pain to the parents any time of the day. The immediate reaction of the child is to run to and not away from the parents.

Go to Him. Let Him shower His love on you when you hurt. There you will find rest in His embrace.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts on worship. What have you learned about worship?

Please share briefly in the comments.


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What Does Worship and Tragedy Have in Common?

I’ve heard it said that a major part of worship is thanksgiving. But what if you can’t find anything to thank God for? What if the turmoil you face within you and the struggles of daily life have just strangled you? In fact, the tragedy that gripped your life is just too much to bear. You are not even sure if you are alive. Then…what is there to be thankful for? In worship we are supposed to express our thankfulness and love for God. But why should I worship?
Lots of questions but the answers are few. Isn’t that how life is? So in this situation worship seems to be the most impossible and illogical task. During such times I would much rather wallow in my sorrows. At least it feels good to express my grief. Even if no one is listening, at least I can get it off my chest.
But when you share it with others – its fine the first few times, but not constantly. Yet my struggles seem to be never ending. How can I continue approaching people repeatedly? After a while they’ll get tired of it and begin to avoid me.

There was a man whose first response to tragedy was worship. He lost all his children and his entire wealth in one day. When the reality of this tragedy struck him, his first response was worship. With his life experience he knew there was no hope anywhere else. So why bother? The only logical and fruitful response for him was worship. “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped” (Job 1:20 ESV). Many years ago, Philip Yancey impacted my thinking greatly through his book Where is God When it Hurts? It’s a challenging book that changed my thinking and my responses to life as well. But the struggle continues as I train myself to shift my focus from my problems to God.

How have you responded to tragedy?

Leave your comments here.