God's trying to teach me something - or not

So many times I have heard "God's trying to teach me something."  So many times I have said it.

I have realized it's wrong.  Here's why:

First of all, God doesn't need to "try" anything.  He "does" stuff, He doesn't "try" it. 

But that's not my main problem with the phrase.  It's really an issue with the concept that God is "teaching us a lesson".  Think about how else we use that phrase  - "I decided to teach him a lesson" or "I taught her a lesson she'll never forget".  Not a positive tone.

  When we use that phrase, most likely we are going through a difficulty and we try and explain it by "God's trying to teach me something".  The assumption is that we are somehow deficient and God is getting us up to par by sending us through pain and suffering.  Maybe we don't intend to portray Him that way, but this phrase makes Him sound like a stern schoolmaster, leaning up against the wall, paddle in hand, watching a subordinate struggle. 

God's not like that.

At all.

When His children are hurting - in small ways or in big ones - He isn't distant or passive. He isn't waiting on us to figure out the lesson so that He can move us on.  He's in the thing with us, holding us - not teaching us some lesson but rather revealing His love and grace and power and truth to us.

Yes, He often allows - even orchestrates - circumstances for His children that we probably wouldn't have chosen for ourselves.  But He's not "trying to teach us a lesson".  He's offering us...Himself.

Nest time we're struggling or enduring pain or in the midst of a problem, let's abandon the idea that this adversity is "God teaching us a lesson".  Instead, let's remember that He wants this to be an opportunity for us to see Him for who He is, full of grace and truth, extending mercy and love and power to help us in our need.

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15,16