Wasteland Kings

Why doesn’t God just fix me?

This is an important question when someone goes through a Christ centered 12-step program. I’ve asked it myself more than a few times. If God knows about my struggles and wants to help me, why doesn’t he just fix me.

The question gets a little trickier when you add in verses like Philippians 1:6. It says that ‘He who began a good work in you (God) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Paul even precedes this comment with the phrase ‘I am confident of this very thing.’

Why doesn’t God fix all of us today if this is the case?

This question didn’t seem like a big deal the first time it occurred to me. It grew in importance as the weeks of my 12-step program stretched into months. I started to feel worn out and wondered why God wasn’t rushing in to save the day.

The answer came to me in a conversation with a friend of mine who is further in the same program. While discussing Regeneration, I kind of blurted out that God wanted us to have some ownership of our recovery.

There is something special about ownership. It speaks to something deep in our hearts. It is also something which can go up or down in value.

The most common example of this is seen in teenagers and their first car. Some teenagers pay for some or all of their first car while others get it as a present. For the most part, the financial cost to the teenager translates to their sense of ownership.

I know this from personal experience because my first car was a gift. This didn’t keep me from feeling gratitude and appreciation; I loved that car. It did keep me from feeling a sense of ownership.

My gut still knew my parents hard earned money paid for the car.

Fast forward a few years to sitting on a patio with a great friend and mentor. I’d brought up the possibility of dropping out of college for a year. His kind and tactful words pointed me away from the idea.

He said graduating college is something no one can take away from me. In other words, it would give me a sense of ownership. He argued this sense would prove invaluable to me and he was right.

Hard struggles have come after college and again I’ve felt the desire to quit. Knowing I will gain a sense of ownership from pushing through has been a strong incentive in those times. This incentive is not always a good thing though.

Like many great things, the sense of ownership can be twisted into something corrupt and wicked. I’ve wanted to gain a sense of ownership to make my name great. As I’ve said before, I struggle with self-righteousness.

My original question and the corresponding verse (Phil. 1:16) give an answer to the problem of self-righteousness. They point out how God is the one whose doing all the heavy lifting. It’s kind of like when you help someone much stronger carry something.

You’re expending energy, time, and focus. The job still wouldn’t get done without the stronger person. When it comes to Jesus, He could do all of the heavy lifting with us sitting in the shade and snoozing.

He invites us to take part in the work because He knows we’ll appreciate it later. Even though we’ll recognize He did the work in our hearts, we’ll receive a sense of ownership. This combination of reliance on Him and sense of ownership points to the relational nature of our faith.

Watching your parents do your 5th grade science project is not a relational activity. Swinging a baseball bat with your dad as he provides power and guidance is. If God swooped in and fixed all of my problems, I wouldn’t feel like I was in a relationship with Him.

I would feel like a thing on the to-do list.

I do not feel glad about my problems. I am also grateful God doesn’t fix all of them today. It would rob of me of the valuable sense of ownership I get from putting in work almost every day and showing up each week.

I would also miss out on all the little ways this process develops my relationship with Christ. All 12-steps would be worth it if nothing else resulted from them.

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