We may not admit the truth even to ourselves, but disillusionment
with God is not uncommon among ministry leaders. And when it comes, it is often accompanied by an underlying anger that spills over in unexpected ways, onto unsuspecting people. Our personal issues with God become toxic as we struggle with the disconnect between our theology and painful personal experience. From this dissonance flows a poisonous mix of anger and bitterness. After all, there is no anger more personal than anger at God—anger that He allows or even causes circumstances that we believe He should not.
This is a dangerous moment for leaders because the relentless undercurrent of anger hurts those we lead, and our followers end up walking on eggshells around us. Where can we go for restoration in those situations? We go back to five basic truths and principles that must drive our spiritual leadership and must be the presuppositions from which we think, live, and minister. These core truths are what help us move toward God rather than away from Him when suffering comes our way.
One: God is good all the time, even though we live in a fallen world. We can always count on His goodness; we must trust in it, for if God is not good, nothing proclaimed in Scripture about Him can be trusted (see Romans 8:28-39; Psalm 23).
Two: God’s goodness does not preclude us from suffering. Indeed, we share in the fellowship of His sufferings (see Philippians 3:10), and our scars become trophies if we trust Him in the midst of our pain.
Three: God’s ways are indeed inscrutable to human eyes—majestic,
eternal, sovereign, and divinely good in ways that we cannot understand this side of eternity (see Romans 9; Job 38-42).
Four: God has an eternal purpose in all things that transcends our limited understanding. That purpose is good and will be fulfilled as the glory of God becomes known across our globe. Often failure and pain are the antecedents to amazing glory and eternal success (see Isaiah 40).
Five: We play a humble part in God’s eternal purposes and cannot take personal responsibility for the completion of His plan. When we carry a burden of responsibility that He was meant to carry, we become weary, disillusioned, and often angry. We must leave His purposes and His burdens in His hands and watch Him unfold His inscrutable plan through us (see Ephesians 2:10).