Sometimes I think people, myself included, come to God because of what He does for us. We ask ourselves how fitting God into our lives will somehow benefit our cirumstances. Usually, I think this type of thinking is flawed and provides us, with at best, a limited view of Who God is and what His character is like. It causes us to get caught up wanting God to behave like a white haired grandpa who smells faintly like Ben Gay and peppermint candy while giving us whatever we think will make us happy.
But today I read something that made me think that sometimes, it is okay to think about my faith in terms of what God does for me. What I read sums up one of the real benefits of faith. Without faith, too much of life looks bleak and hopeless. Without faith, things like orphans and hurricanes and poverty and cancer look like deep pits of dispair. Without faith, even small circumstances like broken cars and messy houses can feel like crazy bad, want to cry to my mom things. But because of the Gospel, there is hope. And that hope is a benefit of my relationship with God. I'm not choosing to be with God because I believe He will remove the terrible things from my life; I'm choosing to be with God because I believe He will redeem those terrible things.
"More than anything else I could ever do, the gospel enables me to embrace my tribulations and thereby position myself to gain full benefit from them. For the gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which I live and move;and every hardship in my life is allowed by God only because it serves His gospel purpose in me. When I view my circumstances in this light, I realize that the gospel is not just one piece of good news that fits into my life somewhere among all the bad. I realize instead that the gospel makes genuinely good news out of every other aspect of my life, including my severest trials. The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to bow to His gospel purposes and to do good unto me by improving my character and making me more conformed to the image of Christ."
Milton Vincent's Gospel Primer