From a survey on why people quit church, almost half of the writers expressed sentiments that in some way God had failed them by His not doing what they thought He should. God’s perceived failure took various forms, most of which fall under the general heading of “unanswered prayers.”
Somehow people think they have the right to pray to God and He must obey them and answer them the way they want. These people miss the part of having a relationship with God, walking daily with him, keeping His teachings, Obeying…
Then when God does not listen to them, or if He does and does not answer the prayers exactly the way they want, they get mad at God.
One man described the various good things that God failed to give him: “God promises me a lot in the Bible and he’s not come through. Ask and it shall be given. Follow me and I will bless you. I promise you life and promise abundance. Man should not be alone. I have a plan for you. Give tithe and I will reward you. All broken promises. This god lacks clarification. This god lacks faith in me. He wants my faith. I want his too.”
I noticed this writer was looking at selfish motives. It was all about what it would get him. I am struck by how much these accounts resonate with sociological theories from social exchange theory. This theory describes humans as judging the value of relationships in terms of costs and benefits. One variation of social exchange theory, termed equity theory, holds that people are satisfied with their relationships when they get the rewards that they feel are proportional to the costs that they bear. An inequitable relationship is unstable, and it usually occurs because a person thinks they receive too little for how much they give.
Many of the testimonies given by former Christians described a broken relationship with God. They contain the language of inequality. The writers did so much for God – praying, attending church, following God – but God did not do enough in return.
If you find yourself falling into this pattern, I urge you to look again at the promises of God in the Bible. Most, if not all, contain a sentence just before or just after that is a conditional statement. If you are walking with God daily, or if you obey His commands, then…
God is faithful. He just is not at our every beck and call.
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.