One of my theological pet peeves is the phrase, God’s Got This. It seems to be used on everything from a pop quiz to a cancer diagnosis to an upcoming job interview to relationship issues. In response to troubles, you get: don’t worry, God’s got this. I see it crop upon FB and email threads and even refrigerator magnets.
Depressed? Cheer up! God’s got this.
Lonely? Get out there! God’s got this.
Money problems? Don’t fret. God’s got this.
Making a life altering decision? No worries. God’s got this.
It kind of turns God into Captain America, Oprah and the latest Apple product all rolled into one. The cure-all for everything.
Except that it’s not true.
Ok, it is true if people are using the phrase as a theological shorthand to express their belief in the soverignty of God and that God is in control of the world and that ultimately the lion and the lamb will lie down together and every tear will be wiped away and it will be on earth as it is in heave. If that’s what people by God’s Got This, then yes! God has, indeed, got this.
But that’s usually not what people mean. The term is used either interchangeably or in conjunction with everythings gonna be just fine. Everything is just fine.
Well, that’s not not true or Biblical.
There is nothing in the Bible that tells us everything’s gonna be just fine. In fact, we should have known, from the time that Jesus cried out on the cross My God, my God why have you forsaken me? that ours would be a faith where not everybody gets to walk happily into the sunset. Jesus was crucified. Mary lost her son. Stephen was stoned to death. Paul was jailed and later beheaded (okay, that last part is tradition and not scripture), but still, we should have known that everything would always be just fine.
And we should know better than to gloss over people’s real wound and pain and anxieties with a dismissive phrase like God’s Got This. Big bad theology is often found in short cutesy phrases. We shouldn’t offer bad theology to others…and we shouldn’t adhere to us ourselves.
It is said that Americans lie on the average of 4 to 6 times a day. The most common lie told is: I’m fine. That’s the most common lie we tell. I’m fine. It’s all okay.
Hopefully, we will be fortunate enough to have many days and weeks and even years in our life, when we can truthfully say, “yes, I really am fine.” But we all know that there are lots of days and weeks and even years when we can’t.
And we quickly dismiss and discount our pain by saying, “I’m fine.”
We start to wonder as we know things are not fine. Shouldn’t they be fine? If I was a good Christian, shouldn’t it be fine? I really belive in God. I really believe that God loves me. I really believe that Jesus died and rose again to save us from sin. Shouldn’t everything be fine if we believe all that?
And we start to think, maybe God doesn’t got any of this. We start to question our own faith. Are we just not faithful enough? It is a feeling that the Church has reinforced and encouraged. If things are not going well, maybe there’s just something wrong with your faith.
People assert that if we can buy in to God’s got this, then we will be okay with all of the things in our life that are really not okay. But, God is some sort of action hero who catches our troubles like a hand grenade and tosses them in another direction before they can totally blow up our lives.
We are promised so many amazing things in our scriptures. We are promised grace and forgiveness and a love we cannot even begin to fathom and everlasting life. We are promised all these things, but we are never promised that everything in our lives is going to be fine.
The bad news is that everything is not okay.
The good news is that that’s okay.
God may not got this, but God has US and will never let us go.