Being Blunt and Honest With God….. A Necessity..even when I am ticked off
Devotional Thought of the Day:
7 LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived. You are stronger than I am, and you have overpowered me. Everyone makes fun of me; they laugh at me all day long. 8 Whenever I speak, I have to cry out and shout, “Violence! Destruction!” LORD, I am ridiculed and scorned all the time because I proclaim your message. 9 But when I say, “I will forget the LORD and no longer speak in his name,” then your message is like a fire burning deep within me. I try my best to hold it in, but can no longer keep it back. Jeremiah 20:7-9 (TEV)
333 Think about this carefully: being transparent lies more in not hiding things rather than in wanting things to be seen. It is a matter of allowing the objects lying at the bottom of a glass to be perceived, and not trying to make the air visible. (1)
it has been one of those weeks. The kind I have had far too often recently, but this one is up there.
Six years ago, even though I read the verses above from Jeremiah many times before, I actually preached on it. I was at the time deciding to accept a call to the church I presently serve. Leaving behind friends and a church that was described by my predecessor as the nicest church he had ever encountered in 50 years of ministry. So why would I leave? And what did it mean that I would preach on this dark passage from Jeremiah?
Weeks like this one. Where I started the week praying for friend that was likewise moving from one parish to another, at the choice of his supervisors. Trying to grieve the change, while ministering to those he was coming to serve. Difficult. Very difficult. Another old friend this week revealed that he was also moving from one church to another – re-assigned by his supervisors. A challenging move for him as well, and then another friend last night, was told it was time to move in his ministry.
I am praying for one of the men I had a part in training for ministry, he has brain cancer and is fading fast. Another friend I found out this morning, who I also trained as a deacon, had a heart attack. Last night, out of the blue, I found myself discussing the death of one of the best friends in my life, who ministered at my side for far too long. There as well was another of my best friends, who lost his dad a month after I lost mine, and a few months later, his mom went to be with God as well.
Tomorrow, as our children wish us Happy Father’s Day, for the first time we can’t go to lunch with our dads, or talk to them on the phone. Some 15 of our friends lost dad’s or a granddad after ours passed.
This is not counting the trauma of those around us, which dwarfs our own. Dear friends with health problems. Families torn apart and going through death, others through divorce, family facing issues with those they love who are in bondage to drugs or alcohol. People dealing with financial crisis, people dealing with disabilities, including those of the mental health variety. Missionaries who are trying to deal with poverty that makes our headspin, or with violence and threats and potential martyrdom. Other people making decisions that will wreck their lives, decisions they know are wrong, but justify with justifications that…
It is enough to make you want to scream “stop”, or yell out in anger and frustration.
And if we admit it, if we are honest and transparent, the One we want to yell at …. is God.
Couldn’t He do something? “In only you had been here Lord,”the sisters of Lazarus has said. Whose fault is all of this suffering, all this pain? Why can’t life be simple and pleasant and without all this…. painful crap… (I wrote something else there.(shit).. but edited it)
It took preaching on Jeremiah’s hitting the breaking point, to be able to realize that it was ok to yell at God. That you can say that God tricked you, deceived you, to cry out like a 5 year old, “That’s not fair” or “This sucks…. That transparency with God, about our feelings, our frustrations our pain is a good thing, and I will dare say, it is necessary.
Because being that transparent with God is a matter of faith, it is necessary if we are to trust Him to bring us through the situation, if we are going to allow Him to walk us through the fire, through the storm, even through the valley of the shadow of death. It is necessary to grieve, because then acknowledging the pain, we can let Him, ask Him, count on Him, to bring healing, to bring peace, to flood our lives with His love, and comfort.
You can’t do that if you are hiding it, if you are bottling it up, letting it turn to resentment. Pouring it out on those who become you victims, because you won’t let the frustration and anger be turned on the One who has shoulders to bear it, shoulders that bore the stripes of whips, the very stripes that Isaiah prophesied would heal us, cleanse us… save us.
Have to admit, I don’t like writing this blog. Have to admit – I would love to just spend tomorrow walking along Lake Ossipee, with my son, and yeah – with my dad.
It needs to be written, for my own sake, but perhaps for yours as well. To give us the confidence to say,
Lord have mercy…. which can only be said… when we know we need it… even desperately need it.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1555-1557). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on June 14, 2014, in Devotions, The Furrow and tagged anger, Change, coping mechanisms, death, faith, Father's Day, God you deceived me!, grief, honesty, life, pain, St. Josemaria Escriva, suffering, trans, trauma.. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.