“Religion has always been an avenue that people have used to bargain for God’s blessing. If we do our part, we think that God will do his part and grant us our desires. The world can sometimes seem like a random and frightening place. People turn to God and religion in hope of finding some measure of security, protection, and favor. I get that.
However, the notion of pleasing or obeying God in order to gain favorable life circumstances as “God’s blessing” is false. God is not going to change the fact that the world is characterized by impermanence. God created the world like this, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Circumstances were never intended to be the source of peace, happiness, contentment, well-being, and freedom. There is no measure of pleasing or obeying God that is ever going to change the fundamental nature of the world.
As a rule of thumb in life, responding to situations as they require with wisdom and skill will yield a better result than responding out of stupidity and incompetence. If you sow seeds of love, kindness, and compassion in your life you are more likely to experience a quality of life that is more enriching than if you sowed seeds of hatred, selfishness, and bitterness. You can eliminate a lot of human pain in your life by simply responding to situations as they require. If you are in an abusive relationship the situation may require you to leave and terminate that relationship, and doing so would remove yourself from the pain of that person’s abuse.
However, you cannot mix and match together any set of circumstances to produce lasting peace and well-being because circumstances are not the source of peace and well-being.
But the idea that obedience, faithfulness, and spiritual maturity should result in God blessing your life with favorable circumstances is simply not true. If this were true, God failed Jesus, who experienced levels of physical, mental, emotional and psychological pain that few people ever have or will.
The reason why people are so caught up with seeking favor from God is that they wrongly assume that peace and happiness has something to do with better life circumstances, and that God is looking down at the world and pulling the strings to bless or curse us. This is the spiritual ignorance that too often drives our lives and relationship to God. It is the spiritual ignorance at the root of our suffering.”
Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge