Friday, January 06, 2006

Have you ever been there?

Have you ever lived for weeks or months at the feet of your Father asking, begging, pleading for Him to intervene only to realize that what you are asking will not happen? Have you ever read the verse in James about how powerful and effective the prayer of a righteous man is and then question your own righteousness as you watch your darkest nightmares become reality? Have you ever felt so hurt by, and angry with, and abandoned by God that you spend all your emotional strength keeping Him out of your life instead of we;coming His healing touch?

I'm not talking about failing a class, or breaking up with a boyfriend, or even getting cut from the team. I'm talking about the big stuff. I'm talking about watching your parent die of cancer, standing by your family during serious legal problems, trying for years to have a baby, living through a devastating accident. . .I mean the list could go on. In fact, it doesn't really matter what it is that you've been through, don't we all end up asking the same questions? Don't we all have the same fears? I may not know how it feels to live without one of my parents, or yearn for a baby, but I do know what it is like to feel betrayed by God. I have heard all of the cliches about perseverance and joy and blah, blah, blah. I remember so well thinking "How would you know? You've never lived through this." or "I know it will get better, but tonight, right now, I hurt."

I am ashamed to say that I also know what it is like to spend months pushing God away, as if punishing Him for doing this to me. Months of "If this is what I get for living my life to please God, then forget it." Months of hardening my heart and isolating myself as a sort of self-protection. Months of asking why did this happen? What could I have done to change it? Why didn't you stop it? In my heart of hearts, I knew that God was all- powerful, and all-knowing, and all-deserving of my allegiance and devotion, but my heart was broken, my soul was in pain, and I needed someone to blame. The core of my feelings: I knew God had the power to change it and He didn't.

I've been there. Chances are, you have too. So has Jesus. Maybe we can't turn in the Bible and read about the time when he sat helplessly aside and watched his parents go through a divorce. The specifics don't matter. What matters is that Jesus, the human God, asked the same questions I do. He spent all night praying "Father, not my will, but yours be done." Why do you think he had to pray this all night? HE WAS HUMAN! He had to wrestle with accepting God's way or doing what he wanted. The difference in me and Jesus is that in his questioning, he didn't sin. He never once gave in and tried to advance his own agenda. He didn't seek to preserve self. He didn't push God away. He did quite the opposite. He drew closer to God. He stayed faithful to doing the work of his Father. He chose to abide in God and depend on him for his protection and strength.

My situation, your situation, it doesn't matter. What matters is how you handle the questions that are sure to come. There is only one specific that matters. In the situation that Jesus faced, he chose to die. He asked the questions, expressed the fears, and in the end, he chose to die.

Thank you Father for experiencing life on earth as a human so I could draw strength, and comfort, and guidance from your example. Thank you for being big enough to hear my questions and listen to my fears. Thank you for carrying me through my darkest nightmares even when I didn't want to have anything to do with you. Thank you for giving peace that passes understanding.

1 comment:

SJ said...

Amen!

I can say that was last spring and summer...and maybe even still a little bit now and then.