Does this hurt? Being real with God.
My son Wesley plays Jr. league tackle football. This year he moved up to the Varsity level and is playing with the big boys. He has always been the largest kid on any sports team he has ever played on until now.
Puberty has a way of leveling the playing field when boys turn 13.
After his first game he came home with more bruises and scratches than I’ve ever observed before. On his shoulders, shins, elbows and hands.
There is something about big bruises that tempts others to poke at them and ask, “Does this hurt?”
Why is that?
It’s a fun game if you are the poker…if you are the one being poked…it just hurts.
Lately, it feels like life frequently pushes on the bruises of my heart and asks,
“Does this hurt? Here? Here? How about here?”
My answer, “Yes, it hurts! Stop! Please?!”
I assure you that my life is NOT in a full fledged fall out right now. I have been in much tougher places, facing much more dire circumstances…
In fact, the truth is my life is amazing. New and exciting challenges are popping up everywhere.
The blessings are numerous.
And yet, the losses are too. New challenges don’t erase old hurts no matter how much we want them to.
I have a way of minimizing hurt and trying to pack it into a box and put it on a shelf labeled LOSS.
I don’t readily embrace loss. Who does?
Sometimes that works…
Sometimes I can just move on and pick myself up and dust myself off.
But often, that strategy fails. And I have to stop. I’m forced to grieve which I don’t like.
I have to…feel and pray.
And be angry.
And ask, “Why?”
I’m reading a book written by Lois Tverberg entitled, “Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus.” She talks about the “Jewish tradition of boldness toward God.”
She observes that “difficult questions for God may show a stronger faith than our own pious attempts to suppress all doubt.” This quote has rattled around in my brain lately.
I think many times I do bend over backwards to make “pious attempts to suppress all doubt.” I suppress and suppress but eventually the doubt leaks out. The problem with leaking doubt is that it will slowly fill my heart and thoughts without my realizing what is happening. Leaky doubt turns to bitterness.
Bitterness smells, it on you and you can’t get away…the smell fills up a room till you can’t help but breathe it in…it must be washed off.
I’ve been wondering about the boldness Tverberg speaks of and if it is a healthier way to conduct oneself?
See, assess, be real with God.
How would my prayer life change if instead of telling God the reasons why he must be allowing something I don’t like, I choose to talk to him about the struggle of my heart. Instead of hiding my feelings from him and myself, I choose to face them with his strength?
“It takes more faith to ask than it takes to fear the asking… Many of us Christians are so used to pious, solemn reverence toward God that we blush to hear someone addressing him…and yet behind this habit is the assumption that God is our loving Father, whom we can approach without trepidation or timidity.” Tverberg says on pages 123-124.
Do I approach the Father with such assurance?
Have I approached the Father with my hurt?
One more quote from Tverberg,
“The issue of prayer is not prayer. The issue of prayer is God. How you pray reveals what you believe about God.” page 125
I don’t think we are ever too old to out grown our need to preform a health check on our faith and examine if our current thoughts and beliefs are in line with what is Truth. The devil whispers so many lies in my ears and so many times I think I unconsciously agree with the lies…eventually those lies grow and bore tiny holes into my shield of faith and leave me vulnerable to attack.
Jeremiah 2:11-12 My people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols. Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror. My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
In the midst of the hurt I have been experiencing,
Have I exchanged Glory for a broken cistern that cannot hold water?
Jeremiah 6:16 Stand in the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and your will find rest for your souls.
Most days I wake up in the morning with a song in my mind, a lyric on repeat that plays until I’ve learned what the Father is trying to teach me. This song by Tauren Wells called “Hills and Valleys” is playing this morning. “The Father who gives and takes away, every joy and every pain…through it all He will remain over it all. In the valley I only will lift my eyes.”
God is good, that is Truth.
Nothing can or will change that…forever and ever Amen.
“Walking in the Dust of Rabbi” Jesus by Lois Tverberg published by Zondervan Copyright 2012 is available on Amazon. Use this link to order a copy for yourself.