May 082016 5 Responses

Sometimes God Calls You to Lose

A cornerstone idea of Christianity is that God is active in our lives. The world didn’t occur by accident–there is a design and purpose to creation. God didn’t just spin the world into motion and then step back to watch what would happen.

The Christian story is of a creative God who designed, created, and then involved Himself within that creation. While we can’t always understand everything God is doing in our lives, a follower of Jesus can seek wisdom and believe they are being called by God into certain actions, attitudes, and activities.

While many Christians rightly believe God is active in their lives, they wrongly conclude what that means on a day-to-day basis. They assume God’s loving care for them means success, happiness, and ease. They never consider God may call them to lose. (See: Three Lies Christians Tell Themselves)

Each election cycle, at least one candidate of faith makes mention of feeling a sense God is calling them to run. Many mock the candidate and wrongly twist those words to mean that the candidate believes God has called them to win. When the candidate loses, it’s seen as a stain on faith.

Yet God might call a candidate to run for political office. That calling wouldn’t guarantee a win. Because sometimes God calls us to lose.

  • He can call you into a relationship that will fail.
  • He can call you to a job that won’t work out.
  • He can call you to a race you won’t win.

God calls but his call isn’t a guarantee of success.

But Doesn’t God Want to Bless Us?

Some may object to this idea. They may ask:

  • Doesn’t God want what is best for us?
  • Isn’t God on our side?
  • Doesn’t He desire to prosper and bless us?

The answer to those questions are yes, but that still doesn’t guarantee success. Whenever we experience pain, sorrow, and failure, those characteristics don’t negate God’s sovereign concern for us.

The confusion comes in what we understand as success and failure. We most often define the two based on current circumstances. We value today, but give very little thought to tomorrow. Everything is defined by the moment. (See: A Dangerous Assumption About God’s Will)

God isn’t like this. He sees more than we do and cares far more for outcomes than temporary circumstances. It’s not that God cares less than you and me about today. He actually cares far more than we could imagine about every aspect of our lives. However, His care for today is matched by His concern for eternity. This dual perspective changes His viewpoint on the present circumstance.

In contrast, humanity cares very little about eternity. We deny it, ignore it, and never define success or failure in light of it. Our ignorance of tomorrow causes us to misunderstand today.

Why Would God Call Us to Lose

God is willing, not just to allow us to lose, but to actually call us to lose because He cares more about His eternal plan, our future destiny, and the transformation of our hearts than He does about our temporary feeling of success or failure.

If your loss furthers His purpose, He will call you to lose.

Years ago I walked through a job opportunity with a church member. Another company was trying to lure him away from his present job and he wanted to honor God with his decision. After much prayer and consideration, he took the job. It didn’t work out. In just a few years, he was looking for another job and wondering how he had made the wrong decision.

But who is to say his original decision was wrong? Maybe God desired him to walk through the pain of job loss. Maybe God called him to lose. (See: How to Come Back to Faith)

Consider why God may have called the man to lose. The job loss could have provided the opportunity to:

  • Find his identity in God and not in a job.
  • Break from the lure of greed and materialism.
  • Understand the experience of those who have gone through job loss.
  • Be open to a new situation or season of life.
  • Grow his awareness of God’s work in his life.
  • Stretch his faith by trusting God through the circumstance.

There are many good byproducts which could be experienced through the loss.

When God Calls You to Lose

Most loss is not a result of God’s call, but of our disobedience. There is no need to blame God for our mistakes. When we make horrible life decisions, they aren’t God’s fault. Many times I experience people asking–“Why did God do this…”–when the person has blatantly disobeyed God in every way.

However, even if a loss is our fault, God allowed it to happen. His divine permission has a purpose. And sometimes the loss isn’t our fault. There are times in which He calls us to lose.

  • To relationships that fail
  • To jobs that get downsized
  • To locations we don’t like
  • To situations which don’t prosper

When that happens we should evaluate our role in the circumstances. If we have ignored His commands or gone our own way, we should repent. Yet we should’t always assume we are at fault. Maybe God called us to lose. (See Here for why confident Christians scare me)

Anytime you lose, consider:

It’s the most likely time for you to see God at work. It’s not that God works more through loss, it’s that we pay more attention when circumstances are tough.

God cares more for your heart than your circumstances. He is even willing to use negative situations to give you an opportunity to change.

God allows temporal loss for eternal success. He is willing to use pain in order to accomplish what He desires.

Sometimes God calls us to lose. Don’t assume His will is limited to success. God is so powerful and loving that He can even use a loss for our good.

5 Responses to Sometimes God Calls You to Lose
  1. Nikki Reply

    Love this! Great reminder!

  2. Nate Reply

    Kevin – you always have great posts, and this is no exception. it is interesting to see what a limited scope we as humans like to use in determining “good and bad” even while we as parents tend to do “good” things to/for our kids, that they would identify as “bad” from their frame of reference.

  3. wellwoman57 Reply

    My husband is in the midst of standing up/speaking out at his job. He might lose it this week. Thank you for your timely message!

  4. Deb Reply

    I love everything about this post Kevin! I recently came across a quote by Joni Erickson Tada. “God will permit what He hates to accomplish that which he loves.”

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