Having faith like Robert Pattinson.

If you asked me last week if I had anything in common with Twilight star Robert Pattinson, I would have said, “Yes, we’re both bipeds, we have hair that borders on Conan O’Brien height levels and we’re constantly harassed by lycanthropes.”

That last one is a stretch, but the other night we did see a bird attack a huge bug in a mid air battle. When we looked at the bug I told my wife, “I don’t want to alarm you but that looks an awful like the scarabs from the movie ‘the Mummy,’ starring Hollywood’s Brendan Fraser, or ‘the rich man’s Jerry O’Connell.’ That bird might have been protecting us from a spiritual attack.” (This is what it is like living with me, so that I believe I am harassed by werewolves is kind of accurate.)

But much to my surprise, me and Robert Pattinson actually share something rather large in common … our beliefs about God.

I didn’t know this until he did an interview on Nightline. Here is what he said:

“I guess I just thought if too many good things happen, then you’re gonna die at 30. I didn’t want that to happen. Yeah, so probably, I’m going to die at 30. Actually, it’s God saying, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t have asked for too much.’”

Clearly I don’t know Robert, but I know where he is coming from. It’s a pretty common belief, something I call “horror movie” faith.

We step into good situations and we are so in awe of them that we don’t trust them. It’s like a horror movie when someone walks into a room and says, “It’s quiet, too quiet.” We stand in the middle of our lives and assume there must be an axe murderer in the metaphorical closet because things are going well, too well.

It’s the idea that if good things happen to you, God will also allow something bad to happen in order to balance the scale. At the heart of this is some sort of corrupted form of Karma and justice, but you’d be surprised at how often I think about this.

I got a book deal. After dreaming about that since the third grade, I was offered the chance to write a book. And write for CNN. And speak across the country. And someone is going to get into a car wreck or get cancer. That’s just what happens next. I trust God, but I know that at some point, the other shoe is going to drop.

I don’t know if you struggle with this like me and Robert, but I want to pull the sheets back and show you the spiders in the bed. The problem with this belief is simple:

When you doubt God’s goodness, you doubt the very core of who he is.

Love and compassion and kindness are not his attributes. They are his heart and soul. They are not his hobbies. They are the lifeblood of who he is. They are his fingerprints and his breath. They are his everything.

You see this repeated over and over in the Bible. When asked to reveal himself to Moses in Exodus 33, do you know what he puts on display? Do you know what he showcases in a single moment to show the core of his presence? He reveals his goodness.

In Isaiah 30:18 do you know what we’re told is God’s reason to rise? The verse says, “he rises to show you compassion.” His purpose is compassion. We are told that he “Longs to be gracious.” Not likes, not even loves, he longs.

The devil doesn’t have to make you hate God. He doesn’t have to get you to do horrifically evil things. Those are neon sins we’d see from a million miles away. One of his greatest tricks is to get you close to God but make you doubt his goodness. To understand God as an idea but remain forever distant from his love. To wait for the punishment or hurt that is sure to come if things go well.

I hope Robert Pattinson doesn’t die at 30. I hope if something good happens to you today you won’t hold your breath for the other shoe to drop. I hope above all, that you’ll know God loves you.

Pure and simple, God loves you.

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Comments

  1. jeff says

    May your comedic insights never leave you, Jon, they are such a refreshment to us. But if I had to choose between you losing your humor or your spiritual wisdom, I'd forfeit your humor, because God has graced you with profitable wisdom to share. Thanks for handing me the nugget I needed this morning. Excellent counsel form the Book.

  2. christianjimmy says

    True. And if you have a good life for a while then God will call you to be a missionary somewhere you hate amongst people who are the exact opposite of you and you will suffer years of pain…
    God does love us, and is much better at it than we sometimes give credit for.

  3. Alise_Wright says

    I don't know if I really wait for the other shoe to drop so much as just believe that God is a lot more arbitrary with his goodness. Something good can happen and I won't hold my breath waiting for bad, but I won't hold my breath waiting for any more good either. So I'll hedge my bets and as a result, I'm sure I miss out on some of the joy and beauty that God has to show me.

    Thanks for the great reminder that God's goodness is key to who he is.

  4. Georgie says

    Very true, but my struggle is that if we are so used to God's goodness manifesting in "good things" then we get more hurt when His goodness starts manifesting in things we don't want right now… does that make sense?

    • Ben says

      The only way I can make sense of it is to say that in the end, in every situation God will bring glory to himself. What might seem to us to be bad things are really good things in the end. Take the story of Joseph in Genesis for example. I'm sure he didn't think the things that were happening to him were good, but in the end many people were saved, and God got all the glory. I mean who would have thought that Joseph could have become as close to Pharaoh as you can get?

      I guess what I'm saying is that we have to remind ourselves that our circumstances seem bad, but that's viewing them from our tiny perspective, not God's perspective.

    • Jim Michaels says

      I calmly disagree. When I do good things for my children they are blessed by it (most of the time). When I hurt them because of a mistake they are hurt, but they aren't more hurt because I have been good. If anything they are less hurt and more gracious in their forgiveness.

      In God's case, He doesn't mess up. Therefore when He does good things we should be blessed by them and appreciative of His blessings. But then when bad things happen we should either look for the lesson we are being taught or look for how to use it for God's glory (or better yet, both). I never get hurt more because things have gone well, I get hurt but not more – otherwise it would be mean for God to be "too good" to us.

      I hope that comes across in the spirit it's offered.

      • Georgie says

        sure jim. that makes sense. I guess my point (maybe not well made) was that if we put emphasis on "God loves you so much that he wants 'good' things for you" the flip side of the coin then looks like when good things don't happen it's because God doesn't love you. I don't believe that. As you and Ben say I think that when things like cancer, death of a loved one etc happen it's not what WE want but it's a lesson or for God's glory etc. So my only concern is that, yes, God loves us – but we need to remember that the way that he loves us isn't always the way that we want. Apologies for my lack of eloquence… I hope that makes a bit more sense

  5. Leslie says

    This is so dead on. Why? My life is so good, so sweet. Why do I assume/expect the worst around the next bend? (And how did the "other shoe" come to mean something horrible and ominous? I mean, we need two shoes, right? How come the idea of that "other shoe" dropping sends chills down my spine?)

  6. Jana says

    The root of all sin is the suspicion that God is not good. – Oswald Chambers.

    The more I think about that, the more I think it's true.

    Good post Jon.

      • Jana says

        I read it quoted in a book by Selwyn Hughes which I've now returned to its owner so can't check. :( But I just googled it and apparently it's from Chambers' book "The Philosophy of Sin: How to Deal with Moral Problems". Hope that helps!

    • Jim Michaels says

      Wow, that's strong – and convicting. If God is not good it gives us free reign to act however we want, or at minimum it gives us license to question Him and His authority.

  7. shawncornett says

    First: 1 John 4:16 — God is love. Simple. Beautiful.
    Second: There is no other shoe. There are tests of our faith that produce deeper faith and greater perseverance. God uses those situations and circumstances for our spiritual growth. He makes ALL things good. What some intend for evil, God works it all out for good (Romans 8:28).
    Third: Thanks, Jon. Great insight and motivating thoughts for today. Trust God, trust God, trust God.

  8. Single and Sane says

    I haven't ever thought that something good equates something bad in the near future. Having said that, I think we often ask ourselves why bad things happen to good people, which is reflected by dozens of books on the topic. Beyond that, we ask God, "Why?" whenever we see people we know personally and who we respect, admire, and maybe even envy, face a crisis that we cannot begin to comprehend. Maybe it's cancer, or the loss of a child, or something else that we fear, and we begin to think it's just God tipping the scales to balance life out. There is no doubt in my mind that God uses difficulties in our lives to show that with Him, trials of all kinds can not just be overcome, but draw us closer to Him in the process. But, as you pointed out so well, twisting that into good = bad to come is to "doubt the very core of who God is."

    • oth in nj says

      and, interestingly enough, we never ask "Why me?" when the good stuff happens (well, maybe sometimes, but not with the same intensity or angst, you know?)

  9. Cherise says

    Jon, get out of my head! This is exactly what has been going through my mind lately, expecting something really bad to happen so thanks for the encouragement about God's goodness because I really needed that :?)

  10. elizabeth says

    Maybe I read the post too quickly, but if God feels like too many good things are happening to me, He's going to send werewolves? or Brendan Fraser? Am I understanding this correctly?

    (Sorry, couldn't resist! Great post.)

  11. Kathleen Quiring says

    Wow — it's good to hear that I'm not the only one who struggles with thoughts like these. Like you, I've been waiting for that cancer or car wreck to balance out all the overwhelming goodness. I appreciate your logic — if God is wholly good, he is not interested in "balancing things out" to make sure life doesn't get too awesome. He only wants to pour on more blessing. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Angie says

    I am definately guilty of 'Horror Movie' faith! Thanks for posting this – we all need to be reminded that Karma only exists in the hearts and minds of people – not God!

  13. @daniella721 says

    Your daughters are verry lucky to have you as a dad. Remind them of what you wrote in this post and you'll set them on the right path in life. (That's my "your mom" comeback comment to yesterday's post.)

    In such moments, I stop and do what Beth Moore suggests: Put your hand out with your fingers spread, slapt anxiety and fear in the face (which visit me uninvited more than I like to admit) and say,

    God is who he says he is
    He can do what he says he can (and will)
    Believe you are who God says you are
    Believe you can do all things through Christ
    Believe God's word is alive and active in you.

    Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

    I really like to use parentheses. Grammar Cop, that one's for you. Don't make me pull out Beth Moore and the hand.

    • Heather McD says

      My great-grandmother used to take a broom and literally sweep satan out of her house, yelling at him the whole way. Based on the stories my dad tells, it was pretty funny to watch. Based on the life she lived, it must have worked pretty darn well! I like your (Beth's) idea about slapping anxiety and fear in the face. I struggle with it a lot and think that this will really help me sometimes. So thank you for mentioning it, even if it wasn't originally your idea :-)

      And thanks Jon for once again and wonderful serious Wednesday post to get us through the week!

      • Kerstyn says

        My pastor's wife actually made me open up the front door of her house (at about 10pm) and literally kick Satan out of it, with my foot, and yell at him to get out. It seemed silly at the time, but let me tell you, it works.

        Thank God for women like my pastor's wife, Beth Moore, and your great-grandmother. ( :

  14. Tyler Tarver says

    Very encouraging. I say that to encourage you. Therefore, we have performed a double encourage. One upon the other. Stacking them like Jenga blocks.

    Seriously, I feel the same way. It's almost like I feel something inside of me just doesn't think I deserve it or that I'll throw happinesses perfect game or someone else will Jim Joyce it.

  15. Anthony says

    Sometime I read your posts and I think ‘Man, that must be tough to deal with’. But reading this one feels like looking into a mirror and seeing how scared and distrustful I really am, still feeling as if I need to have some kind of hardship to justify God’s continued blessing.

  16. Becky Miller says

    This post is so full of win, I don't even know where to start.

    You made me look up "lycanthrope." Hm. Learn something new every day! (Seriously, is that word actually in your vocabulary, or did you use a thesaurus? I am betting it's actually in your vocab. Since you read books with unicorns on the cover.)

  17. Amy says

    It seems I've always had the opposite problem. Well, maybe not problem, but well… I kept waiting for something good to happen in the midst of all the bad. I kept saying, "Things can't get much worse, so something good HAS to happen eventually!" I'm still struggling a bit with the view of God I had growing up: He's good to those who are good, but if you do anything bad, He'll punish you. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I did bad to "deserve" what's happened in my life. But eventually I figured out, life just happens sometimes and when I stop and look at where I am and where I've been, there HAS been a lot of good. It hasn't been anything huge like a book deal, but I've seen God's faithfulness in the midst of hurt and loss and my faith has grown temendously. So maybe this all just depends on our definitions of "good" and "bad"…

    • Violet says

      This is my struggle, especially right now. There are many good things in my life and I see God's hand in many of them…but I cannot seem to reach my heart's desire and that makes me anxious and mad and sad and wondering WHEN the something good will happen. My heart's desire is a simple, normal thing that most other people attain – happy marriage and (step)motherhood. Why does it seem out of reach for me?

      I'm sure someone will respond that maybe wife/motherhood is not in God's plan for me. Maybe not. But if not, then why won't He guide me to peace and grace and acceptance of that? I seek His guidance and will…but I also find it hard to believe that He would cultivate or tolerate that longing in me if it's not part of the plan.

      • Amy says

        I wish I had an answer for you on that, but I don't. I've struggled with the same thing: "God, if I'm not supposed to have ____, then please take away this intense longing I have for it." I completely understand your hurt, Violet. I will pray with you for God's peace and guidance and that He would bless your desire to be in His will and not your own!

  18. Lucie says

    This reminded me of a novel I read years ago in which the main character thought that if things had gone well for her and her family for a long while, she had probably "used up all her credit with the Lord" and she had better "fetch her feet back to the ground before the Lord did it for her." By the same token, if she and/or her family went through a long patch, she felt the Lord owed her a blessing. Amusing, but true for most of us, I bet.

  19. paul says

    I don't recall questioning God's love. However, I've always accepted that life comes front loaded with various types of pain both physical and emotional. Accidents, disease, death and natural disasters are simply part of the landscape. Never the less my basic attidtude is that I always expect the best. Things may not turn out, but I expect them to anyway. My wife takes the opposite approach. See expects the worst, being pleasantly surprised when it doesn't occur. I'm thinking what most of us are questioning is our own worthiness not God's love. If God is who we believe He is, then He knows we are not worthy. And we are absolutely correct. We forget that He paid the price for us not despite that knowledge but because of it. Awesome dude that God.

    • Khaliah Ingram says

      I love your comment.

      I think the best way for any Christian to tackle life is to be realistic, not overly optimistic or overly pessimistic. Things happen all the time, whether they're good or bad. But what ultimately counts is how we continue to walk with God even when we feel like we can barely stand, and continue to walk with God even if we're floating away on Cloud 9.

  20. chad johnston says

    True, very true. On the other hand, God's goodness is so resolute that it is what it is, regardless of circumstances. So if something good happens, he's good. If something bad happens, he's good. I'm sure you didn't mean to imply that his goodness is based on what happens to us, and that since he's good car wrecks and cancer wont happen; or they wont happen just because book deals and other successes happen. But all of those things do happen, and he's good. Why? Because regardless of great or horrible circumstances, what he offers as best never changes or fades, that being of course, himself. Something scarier than the belief or expectation of quirky karma is the person who comes to Jesus for what they'll get out of him, when that something is anything but Jesus himself.

  21. Jonathan Charlie Chang says

    Man, when the Holy Spirit pours, he makes a hurricane of Truth. I'm kind of ashamed to say this, but my wife and I started therapy on Monday. I grew up with a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) parent who was always angry, violent and criticizing of me. I couldn't do anything right and I couldn't ever enjoy anything good in life. It sounds sick but I have a hard time accepting things and gifts from people, I feel like I've done something wrong and it makes me uneasy when people are nice to me. Sick, I know. So we've been going to therapy to learn how to survive being raised by a BPD parent, because her sin caught on to me and I could see it would mess up my family.

    But lately I've been learning from you, Donald Miller, Matthew Paul Turner, Jason Boyett, etc, that God is not out to get us. So this post really helps me know that God wants good things in my life. He gets excited when I get excited.

    Thanks.

    nicodemusatnite.blogspot.com

    • KatR says

      There is nothing wrong with going to therapy. You have become aware of how some issues from the past are affecting you, and are taking steps to deal with that. That's a good thing. :)

  22. emjwriter says

    I am guilty of this as well—unfortunately, because I have been conditioned to be so, because it HAPPENS that way. Sometimes I feel like a lab rat: whenever something good happens, I get an electric shock. Now I feel like I've reached the point where I'm afraid of getting good things because I know the electric shock is coming too. And it's happened so often that I can't help but think this way. Example? This past weekend, I had an awesome worship experience with my church choir, and left so happy. An hour later, I found out my aunt died and my world was shaken up YET AGAIN. I know God has a plan in all of this, but His plan doesn't always involve sunshine and gumdrops.

    • oth in nj says

      because if it did, you'd get sunburned and cavities. I am sorry for your loss and don't mean by this comment to minimize it.

  23. Jamie says

    "When you doubt God’s goodness, you doubt the very core of who he is."

    I need to re-read this every.single.day.

    Even when He goes to extravagant lengths to show me how good He is, I still wait for the other shoe to drop. I went to Africa last year on a mission trip, & was able to do a safari while we were there; it sounds weird without telling the whole long story (I'll spare you the come-read-my-blog-post link!) but He gave me the extravagant gift of an elephant. And after that, I was terrified to fly home because I guess I felt like Robert Pattinson; I'd just been given a gift I couldn't have even IMAGINED in my wildest dreams, so surely God must've used up all His good towards me, and therefore the plan would probably crash.

    I must frustrate Him greatly. Good thing He's patient, too.

  24. glamtings says

    Its amazing cos growing up my mother always used to say to me slow down, ur too ambitious….life is a marathon not a 100m dash. If you get all these things your aiming for now then God forbid that you die prematurely. And then at the age of 21 i was involved in a plane crash….but i didnt die…neither was i maimed….cos God loves me and He doesnt give with one hand and take with the other.

    God bless you Jon

  25. ian3008 says

    A little part of me DOES hope Robert Pattinson dies at 30. Divine punishment for starring in Twilight.

    Sometimes it's really hard to not project our experiences onto God, you know?

    That group of people who hurt you, the friend that let you down. It's hard to not view God in the same way. I guess that's why the renewing of the mind is pretty important.

  26. Kandi says

    Wow. It’s kind of eerie but I just wrote a post about this yesterday and it published this morning before I hopped on your site. It’s about God’s absolute goodness and how sad it makes me that He gets blamed for everything bad, when the Bible is clear that satan is the author of all evil and sin.

    Very Interesting…

  27. KatR says

    When I hear people talk about the "goodness of God", its like hearing a foreign language. After 12 years in an abusive church, and seven years out trying to fix the damage, I am finally done. I came to the realization last week that the only reason that I was trying to hang on to a relationship with God is that I am terrified of him. So God and I are breaking up. I feel like I'm leaving an abusive boyfriend.

    • Vanessa says

      The church is made up of humans and therefore sinners, people abuse their powers and do not follow the Word they claim to, but I assure you that is not God. He is faithful, loving, kind and forever keeps his promises to us. I pray that you are able to come to the realization that God is a good God and it's people who are in the wrong, He does not agree with their abusive and hurtful behaviours. I pray that all your hurts are healed and that you find your way back into his loving, forgiving, powerful arms.

      • KatR says

        He doesn't agree with abusive behaviors? Really? When the Israelites went to war and God ordered them to kill everyone, even children and infants, was that not abusive? When God allowed Job's whole life to be turned to dust for no other reason than a bet with Satan, was that not abusive?

        I know that the proper Christian response that I am supposed to have is that God is good, and so what has happened to me is part of some plan that only he understands in his infinite wisdom. But I guess I have reached the end of looking at scars and saying "oh, but he really loves me".

    • oth in nj says

      i am so sorry for your awful experiences. maybe take a break? rather than break up? there's no crap like church crap, and it is SO difficult to overcome. I'll spare you the platitudes, but maybe just take a break?

      • KatR says

        Maybe it is a break. I can't say I'm never coming back, I just know that I have tried every possible way to heal in the confines of Christianity, and nothing has worked. I don't love God. I'm only scared of him.

    • Selah says

      I'm right there with you, Kat, and I'm so sorry you have gone through this. Abusive family within an abusive church. I spent a lot of years believing that I was crazy and knowing that I will forever be punished for being imperfect. It's so hard to leave the past behind, but I challenge you to recognize your abusers and their motivations. As soon as I realized that God was not standing in their defense, I knew I had an ally in Him. You say you're breaking up…that's fair. What is it you're looking for instead?

      • KatR says

        My abuser was God. I'm not sure of his motivations. I remember that Scripture "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated". I guess from where I stand, he has made it emphatically clear that he does not desire a relationship with me.

        I don't know what I'm looking for right now. A break. Some rest.

        • Selah says

          I won't go into the "fight scripture with scripture" battle. It seems like you've already endured enough of that in this lifetime. I respect your position and place in life…and can relate. I like that you acknowledge that He exists…and that you're being honest with yourself and with Him. I suspect your journey won't leave you disappointed. Many blessings to you!

        • Sandy Kay says

          Kat, God was NOT your abuser — sinful people were. I am so sorry that you were harmed by people claiming to be acting in God's name. I understand how you can look at those verses and think God is arbitrary or wants to harm people but there are so many more verses about God's love for us. I hope you find God's love in the midst of your hurt.

    • Me! says

      I'm sorry, KatR. I've struggled with legalism and a view of a punishing God for probably 15 years or so now. It takes so darn long to get through the crap some churches put in your head. In my experience, people seem to think you should just get over it already, but it's not that easy. I haven't gone to church regularly for years. For a while, when I'd even step inside one, I'd have tremendous anxiety. It seems that no matter what church I go to, I hear guilt in the sermon, even if no one else does. I guess my ears were trained that way. The same thing happens when I read the Bible, so I don't open it often. For some reason, I've always understood intellectually that God loves me. It's just hard to truly accept.

      And yet, oddly, I do feel close to him. I don't do things right the way the church says is right (quiet times, etc.), but I feel that He and I have a special relationship and he understands why I don't do those things.

      As far as your question about the Israelites being ordered to kill everyone, I remember hearing Hank Hanegraaff, the "Bible Answer Man" answer that, but I don't trust my memory to repeat it well. His programs are here: http://www.equip.org/broadcasts and I'm sure it's also in his Bible Answer Book.

      A couple of last notes: If you're having trouble with constant anxiety and guilt, I'll put a little bug in your ear about antidepressants. They've helped me at least see the world and life clearly, even if my view of God is messed up. Also I believe my experiences have allowed me to connect with nonbelievers more. I can relate to people who don't like the church and assure them that the bad things they see aren't of God. I have a feeling you'll get to that point too.

  28. Mr. Noface says

    I needed to read this post (especially today). I've always struggled with "horror movie" faith. At times I would be focused on trying to hear the other shoe drop that I'd totally miss out on the enjoyment of the good things that come into my life.

  29. Stacy Smith Aannestad says

    Oh, gosh, you just wrote the story of my life. God gave me a wonderful family, but I was emotionally abused by a boyfriend, and ever since then I cannot accept what you just wrote about. I don't blame God for the abuse, but I was so scarred by it I can't believe anyone would want to be that good to me. And I get the God of the New Testament mixed up with the God of the Old Testament (I know, same God, but He seemed a lot more wrathful before Jesus came along). So when I just recently went through an entire winter of being sick, one thing after another, I totally lost sight of God's compassion and goodness because the Enemy kept telling me God was being negligent in healing me and was making me suffer. Anyway, didn't mean to tell my life story, but I need this tattooed on the backs of my hands. I need to be whacked in the face with it every day! Thanks so much for listening to the Holy Spirit and writing this, Jon. I think you've blessed a darned awful lot of people.

  30. Jenny says

    I can SO relate to waiting for the other shoe to drop. I actually think about this often, knowing it's not how God wants me to live from day to day…yet still fearing when things will come crashing down. Thanks for writing about this. I am trying to keep my focus on who God is and not on the imperfections of the world.

  31. Chris Jones says

    Amen. This article is a gauge for how ideologies and philosophies like karma have infiltrated our beliefs and we don't even know it. I must remember that in life, bad things happen but that doesn't mean they are bound to. God is good… and He loves us. Thanks Jon.

  32. slc says

    that is so true. i think/do/believe this (before i catch myself…and even after i catch myself) ALL the time.

    ALL the TIME.

    once again, nail on head.

  33. jiams says

    It's not so much that I'm waiting for God to balance things out, instead I look more for the devil to come running in with the shoe horn. God is awesome and he works in so many ways but when I'm the closest to Him that's when I start looking out for the devil to try and step in between us. he puts thoughts in our minds or events in our days, anything he can come up with to make our walk rocky and full of slimy pebbles to slip on.

    So if you think the other shoe might fall off, put on extra thick socks….. salvation.

  34. PW in KY says

    I wonder if sometimes God gives us an extra helping of good stuff to strengthen us to endure the hard stuff that He knows is coming. Like reading a really encouraging blog right before receiving a critical phone call…is that the phone?

  35. Kelly Neely Olsakovsky says

    I have to admit, I'm very guilty of waiting for the other shoe to drop. It feels like things are too good with work, too good at home, too perfect with the baby – I mean, how does it make sense for things to start working out so well, when things were so bad before? I have a hard time accepting that God loves me, God loves us, and these good things aren't about anything I've done. It's just like you said. God loves us. He wants good things for us. He wants to give us those good things.

    To cycle that back around to the Twilight analogy – I'm just as bad a receiver as Bella. Need to work on that.

  36. Calypso says

    Wish I had your problem. I have had one bad thing after another happen to me…I don't have even one thing I dreamed of as a child…my life has been filled with loss after loss after loss. I always think that if something good ever happened, I would die of shock. But do I still serve God? With my whole heart. Words I live by: "Count your life by loss not gain, not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth; for he that suffers most has most to give."

  37. @jaredwilkinson says

    Thanks for this Jon, it's been one of the areas of "struggle" in my life lately. I use quotes because who really sturggles when things are going well. My life 2-3 years ago was tough brought on by situations that I thought would make like better and "what God wanted me to do." What is really was, was a struggle. Maybe God wanted me to go through that struggle, but lately, other than the mundane headaches of life, things are great. My family is doing well and healthy and I like my job. I too sit and wait for the other shoe to drop when what I really want to do it bask in the goodness of God. I thank God everyday for the place He has brought me to in life, but sometimes I feel I do it simply to try to stay in God's good graces (can we ever get out of them?).

    Thanks for sharing your humor and your struggles.

  38. Katy says

    Nail on the head my friend, you just hit the nail on the head. This is the thing I struggle with more than anything else in my life. Its hard because it has proved to be so very true. Still bad things are going to happen to everyone and if we aren't living fully in God through good and bad we are missing huge chuncks of God's love.

    On a side note I have heard different interviews with Patterson and I have to say that I have been surpirsed and impressed by how intellegent and humble he sounds. I don't know him personally, but he knows how to give a good interview. My favoriate Patterson quote, "Its easy not to let the fame go to my head because I know, at the end of the day it has nothing to do with me."

  39. Gina Calvert says

    A friend told me the other day, "I don't know what's wrong with me. I feel….happy." I knew just what she meant! Another friend nearby said, "Maybe this is what it feels like to have finally matured." We're all in our 50s. I guess we're finally learning not to sweat the small stuff (or even some of the big stuff) and to really trust God.

  40. Nicole says

    Thank you so much, Jon. I've actually been going through some very difficult times lately. My sister left home unexpectedly, my mother was recently diagnosed with MS, and my relationship with my father isn't what it should be. Sometimes, I think that I'm beginning to heal; some tiny corner of my heart begins to hope and sing and pray again. Then, though, I tell myself that I can't accept God's goodness and that more heartache may come my way. This is not the God I've served for eight years.

    You have no idea how much I needed this today. Yes, I will let Him heal me.

  41. ThatGuyKC says

    I love how you cook my noodle on Wednesdays.

    The complement of "horror movie" faith is "sweaty heathen" doubt. This doubt surfaces when bad things happen and we doubt God's love and compassion and believe instead that we deserve the tragedies of life that befall us.

    Thanks for the reminder to trust in His goodness.

  42. FoolishHeart says

    This "horror film faith" is deeply rooted in me. What an incredible encouragement this post is to me! You are spot on about God's goodness. From experience I can see that the bad stuff in my life HAS strengthened my faith, and therefore, is also good. I think I could do well to read this post every day too!

  43. Amy says

    Great thoughts. God loves us no matter what. He's consistently there for us, available to us, and present in all our circumstances. Life will happen, and regardless of where life lands you (a difficult season or a "moring of rejoicing"), God's love remains the same.

  44. Makeda says

    I am so there right now. I just celebrated my birthday and had the best birthday weekend I can remember in years. I have gotten something I've wanted for a long time, my heart feels full and I feel very blessed. Yet at the same time, I keep wondering when its all going to go bad again. Its an awful, awful way to think and feel and yet it is so easy for me to do that. When being blessed I'm so inclined to think the other shoe is going to drop. Thank you for these words. They convicted me and challenged me to remember Who it is that I serve. He is love and kindness and grace and compassion. And He has blessed me out of the essence of Who He is. Thanks again, Jon. GREAT post!

  45. Jill Sherman says

    Beautiful post, Jon! Altho I had to get up and walk away from the computer for a few minutes after reading "pull the sheets back and show you the spiders in the bed". Be careful with these analogies. I want to be able to go to sleep tonight.

  46. misty says

    love this – can't wait to share it with my husband who is always waiting for the other shoe to drop

  47. janet says

    "We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." -C.S. Lewis

  48. rebeccannb says

    This is something I used to always believe… if something good happens to me then the other shoe is going to drop. Great post for me to read today!

  49. Sumsum says

    I love wednesdays. they're like a good surprise each week that just sneak up on me. every wed, I get half-way through the post and think "wait! is it wednesday?!" and why, yes, yes it is! good word. thanks.

  50. Sandra says

    I grew up watching every conceivable horror movie so what you call "horror movie" faith is spot on. I never would have realized how the genre so perfectly defines something many of us struggle with. Just recently several doctors were testing me for cancer and I was freaking out. "If I could just be okay" I prayed. When everything turned out to be okay, I anticipated some other doom. Finally I felt God asking me if I was ever going to believe he wanted me to be happy. That Jeremiah 29:11 wasn't just some trite thing to say at graduations. It was meant for me too. It was one of the most freeing moments in life.

    Your article, I think, will move people a little closer to their moments of freedom and closer to God's love. Plus, ain't gonna lie, it's kinda sweet having something in common with R-Patz.

  51. Jamie Banister says

    But … a lot of times, the other shoe *does* drop. Go to bed one night thinking "wow, parenting a toddler by myself during my husband's deployment isn't so bad – today was great" — and the next day will be UTTER HELL. True story.

  52. Leigh Ann says

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding the point of this post, but I think this type of thinking can actually be dangerous. If you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, you're not necessarily doubting the goodness of God, but if you start to tell yourself that, what happens when something bad does happen? You were right all along? God wasn't good?

    Instead, wouldn't it be better to learn to rest in God, thank Him for the good times, and trust that He'll help you through the bad ones? The verse about not worrying about tomorrow comes to mind.

    I struggle with thinking the other shoe will drop too, but I'm not about to start feeling guilty for it. I think it can serve as a reminder to be thankful for the good times now and trust Him to take care of things no matter what. Many people, Christian or not, struggle with waiting for the other shoe to drop. That's because, as the commenter above me, Jamie Banister, says, it sometimes does.

  53. Alyssa McDermitt says

    Ok so I read this because you said twilight in your tweet. It could have been about anything because after I saw that I had to read it. I can really relate to that, but I am a tad different. I am convinced if I don’t do his plan perfect I will be punished. So every bad thing that has happened, even though looking back it was all for my benefit, I blame my imperfection. Nothing can ever be that good and I know I can screw it up somehow. But like you said God loves me and wants to show his grace and compassion on me, and who would think that’s a hard lesson to learn. Almost like praying for patients

  54. Anneliz says

    Sorry Jon, I understand where you are coming from but this post feels so… American.
    I believe that God is with us and for us, I believe he loves us, but I don't see how that equates to us being happy and have "good" things happen to us.
    I've been thinking about Mother Teresa lately. She is a hero of the Christian faith and yet she had a self-proclaimed horrible life. Letters to her priest clearly showed that she hated her life in India (even though she loved the people she encountered), she was incredibly depressed, and she felt like God had abandoned her. God loved her and had her best in mind but her best equaled a lot of earthly pain and crap.
    You have been materially blessed, I am happy for you. But spending the last several months living in post Soviet Eastern Europe my view of "good" has changed. For these people WWII was yesterday, the Holocaust was yesterday, the Soviet Union was yesterday, they have so little "stuff", so much pain, and yet they love so much. They don't smile all the time because they want to smile when they have something to smile about, American's smile all the time and most of the time our smiles are fake. They know God loves them but that doesn't mean they think God is going to be "good" to them in earthly terms. I think we need to learn from them.

    • JonJonathan Acuff says

      I'm not sure that I said that God's goodness equals material blessings. I used the book deal because it's the most recent example in my own life, but during the times when I had nothing God's goodness was every bit as true. His love for me is not dependent on material possessions. In fact the Bible verses I quoted had nothing to do with material possessions but were focused on love.

  55. Cecil D says

    What does it say about my existence that I didn't realize what day of the week it is until I got halfway through this post and thought, "This isn't very funny…Oh yeah…It's Wednesday!"

  56. Jodie says

    I love this post. I think we all go through these thoughts. This is why I love SCL… those thoughts we fear saying out loud are printed out right in front of us and we realize we're not alone in our thinking. Thanks, Jon…

  57. lurker bryssy says

    In my mind I know you are right. God just loves me and wants everything wonderful for me. In reality, I fear. I have 2 fantastic children and am pregnant with our third. I constant worry that because the first 2 are so perfect (in my eyes) that there will be something wrong with the next one. Maybe wanting another child is greedy and God will punish me for being selfish. I dunno. But, it keeps me up at night.

    Well, that an RPatz. He's a doll!

  58. Melissa Closs says

    Thank you for putting me in check! I think like that everyday, and my husband hates it. Especially in the moments where I'm just blissfully happy in our marriage and say something like, "I don't ever want to lose you!" I've been trying to reprogram my thinking. It is something that I need to be diligent about. I often have to refer back to Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Having a son named Jeremiah definitely serves as a great reminder, by the way.

  59. Dawn says

    Thank you so much for the reminder that God loves me. I know it's true, but sometimes it's easy to forget. Just this morning, I was marvelling at how God has blessed me and wondered why. The answer is so obvious "He loves me", but it can still be hard to grasp the idea!

  60. kimberly says

    i KNOW God is love and all that…but…what about Job?? i have a wonderful, amazing life. I can't help but think that God and satan may be having it out over me. "That Kimberly, she only loves you because you have blessed her so abundantly." "Oh yeah? watch this!" and POOF goes my loving family, or my amazing career, or my health, or all of the above…I believe that God can take away the good things if it would further the kingdom. I almost hope he doesn't have that much faith in me. "Nope, better not take HER good life away…she'd turn away from Me and we can't have that."

    I hate that I think like this but it's honest.

  61. Kristen says

    Thanks so much for this. I'm a person who always seems to find herself showered with blessings, and since I know I don't deserve them, I sometimes feel like God is giving me all these good things now because I'm going to get bad things later to even it out. Thanks for reminding me that that's not how God works.

  62. lisacolondelay says

    It comes down to whether we truly believe God is good, and will he really protect us the way we hope he will.

    We get accustom to chaos, and a string of good things seems, well, like begging for trouble.

    We learn a lot experiencing life with both ups and downs, but I think we probably learn some of the most important, and deepest lessons during times of suffering (which can include successes). Sad to say, Fear makes us suffer more, needlessly.

    I think God may wish that we use what is drawing out our fears to get more real with him and ourselves, to do the hard labor of interior work and maturing, and to be in the kind of close and trusting relationship that can weather anything. He endeavors to make us holy.

    Insightful post, Jon!

  63. Michael Bates says

    It's not horror movies that inspire this kind of thinking; it's Christian testimonies and literature. Ever read "A Severe Mercy"? Man and wife live idyllic life, then God kills the wife to teach the man a lesson about selfishness, or so the book interprets the situation. How many other articles and memoirs have we read where someone interprets the death of a child as a divine act of discipline on the parents?

  64. yourecool says

    haha wow, i'm so glad i found your blog! i actually went through a huge phase of feeling the same way last year and let me say i still struggle with it sometimes now. but more importantly, i enjoy the things you write about and your writing style. i'll be looking forward to more entries!

  65. Matt_TCoNP says

    Wow, I guess I have something with a brooding, pasty vampire too! Yeah, I'm always assuming that God's blessings aren't really blessings. They're just tricks so he can pull the rug out from under us. I'm always feeling guilty because I have this or that, and I'm afraid God doesn't like me because He's given me so many blessings. Weird, huh?

  66. Amanda says

    I just found your blog a couple weeks ago and love it. This is more of a prayer request than a comment, but I figured that'd be okay. ;) I've had a number of setbacks the last few years, in all aspects of my life, and I'm to the point where I'm somewhere between doubting God's goodness and outright believing that He isn't good. Intellectually, I know that's not true, but my heart is having trouble believing. This is, understandably, affecting my relationship with him, and I'm not sure how to get back what I once had. Advice/prayers/etc. would be appreciated; feel free to delete this comment if it doesn't belong here.

    May God continue to bless this blog!

    • Kim says

      Hang in there Amanda! I know how you feel I have been there before, but I also know God will carry you thru to the other side. Prayers coming your way for peace and clarity!

  67. RawFaith says

    I've spent a disproportinally large amount of time in the last 10 years waiting for the other shoe to drop and things to fall apart. The irony is that even when it does it's not the shoe I expect. I'll expect to be creamed by a nice soft high end tennis shoe and it turns out to be someone's wayward stiletto. It's a continual learning process to believe that maybe God's blessings are just amazing gifts to be enjoyed… and to trust that he'll be there when those pesky shoes fall too … and perhaps then he'll "bear me up with wings as 'worship eagles'".

  68. DionnefromJA says

    Jon,

    I don't know why you've been reading my mind! I just wish it was easier to relax and enjoy the goodness of God rather than to bite my nails waiting for the next bad thing to come around the corner and wipe the smile off my face. Thank God the Bible speaks of the continued renewing of my mind!

    Good post Jon!

  69. Kim says

    This post spoke to me on so many levels Jon. I think I am a reformed horror junkie. I used to have a lot of trouble with that. Things hurt so much less if I never expected anything good.

    But now I just have this inner peace. Things still hurt, I still cry. But I also have a comforter that give me a hug and a boost back up when I need it.

  70. Joyce Spencer says

    I am sorry GOD is not only good he is Great. Yes the bad will happen but he is there for you when it does. Also when the good comes he is there to share the laughter, the beauty but one thing I know is he can help you if you just talk to him. No it won't happen in a second but it will almost slap you uin the face when it comes. God bless those that bless others.

  71. mookie says

    George Constanza.
    When they write the pilot and he thinks he has cancer.
    "God will never let me be" famous (or something)
    "You don't believe in God"
    "I do for the bad stuff"

  72. Rebeccamh says

    "Love and compassion and kindness are not his attributes. They are his heart and soul. They are not his hobbies. They are the lifeblood of who he is. They are his fingerprints and his breath. They are his everything."

    Gave me goosebumps. And this post is so accurate in my life. I constantly wait for the other shoe to drop. Right now I'm in a happy, healthy relationship with a man who is honest and kind. I'm just waiting for his other personality to come out – not that I believe he really has one but – life has shown me that there are two sides to everything, like you said, a twisted version of Karma. I'm glad I'm wrong.

  73. Erica says

    This has me in tears.
    You have exposed my shared true fear.
    Oh, God. Forgive me. I fear you for all the wrong reasons.

  74. mallen says

    I really connected with this thought. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I shouldn't feel that way. I said to myself, "I'm not going to feel this way!" Then last night I was in my backyard with my new iphone 4 in my pocket. Just watering some plants by the POOL. Yes it happened. I stepped back to move to another spot and suddenly I found myself ingulf by water. Did God cause the water to become like a trampoline so I could just bounce back out? No. Did he put a "hedge of protection" around my new iphone 4? No. Bad things happen to all of us. But God is good – He really is good all the time. No matter what happens to us. Even if we ruin our new iphone!

    Love your blog. Just bought your book. I might actually read it sometime!

  75. Scott says

    As someone who shares very few (if any) religious views with you, I am surprised at how open, thoughtful, self-critical, and honest you are. I then find I am surprised that I am surprised by that. We (all of society) need more people expressing their views in the manner that you do.

    Thanks for the humorous reads, and for opening my eyes that there is a wealth of compassion in a group of people I find myself loathing far too often.

  76. belinda says

    we had 7.2 earthquake on easter sunday and thats when i turned my life around and start believeing again every night now i pray before i go to bed i read my bible and do my psalms
    im in a relationship now but i have no idea if its gonna work because he cheated on me in the past
    so im letting go and let god take care of my relationships problems for me
    i can understand where robs coming from
    i learned the hard way if u dont have god in your life your screwd. ive seen the light and im staying in the light if god wants me in a diffrent relationship then im in now thats up to him
    and i do believe in soulmates
    God has someone for us everyday i just havent found mine yet.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 2. Lycanthrope (lī-kən-ˌthrōp) “If you asked me last week if I had anything in common with Twilight star Robert Pattinson, I would have said, ‘Yes, we’re both bipeds, we have hair that borders on Conan O’Brien height levels and we’re constantly harassed by lycanthropes.‘” ~Jon Acuff, from Stuff Christians Like [...]

  2. [...] of God, God's Goodness, grace (This is copied from the Stuff Christians Like blog called “Having Faith like Robert Pattinson” posted on June 24 by Jon Acuff. This particular blog really struck a chord with me because I tend [...]

  3. [...] “If you asked me last week if I had anything in common with Twilight star Robert Pattinson, I would have said, “Yes, we’re both bipeds, we have hair that borders on Conan O’Brien height levels and we’re constantly harassed by lycanthropes.”” – Jon, StuffChristiansLike.net [...]

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