God must remind me sometimes that He is not, in fact, my own personal genie in the sky. I don’t really think I ever fully admit that I have the tendencies to believe such a pea-brained, barbaric, offensively narcissistic theology, but we all crawl before we walk, so I’m sure there are some spoiled childish roots still left in me.
Have you ever been there? Where you look around and everything that seemed to be growing suddenly all seems dead? Or the things that were in motion have suddenly stilled- and not in a peaceful way but in a “Is this car broken?” kind of way. Have you ever gotten really honest with God- the one who is supposed to be your Father (not even “Father” but “Daddy”)- and offered up these words:
“God, this isn’t what I wanted.“
No really, this isn’t what I wanted!! I’m confused. This isn’t the way I thought the story was going to go. What is this?
Maybe it’s not just a sudden wrong turn (from our perspective) but a familiar wrong turn, like getting lost in the woods and realizing you’re passing the same tree over and over as you think you’re finding your way out. It’s disillusioning. Or maybe it’s not even close to being familiar- completely uncharted territory- and you have no hints whatsoever as to what God: A) is doing, B) was doing, C) is going to do (for as long as He can bear your *gracious* and colorful commentary.“Umm… hello?”*)
I’m not really a “signs” kind of person. But sometimes, and perhaps moreso lately, I’ve felt more lost and confused, and I’ve been asking for some of them lately. Perhaps that’s a sign (ha!) of weakness, but it’s probably more of a sign of humility, which I’ll always need.
I’ve asked for God to move. I’ve asked for God to help me. I’ve asked for God to send me a reminder that He’s still in this… He’s still in this situation with me.
And I’ve received some, oddly enough. And if I receive them, I suppose I ought to hold on to them.
Because only he knows what concerns me, and only he knows to what degree. It’s always much more than I care to admit. It takes me a long time to lay my defenses down. I’m not entirely sure why that is.
Nothing seems more painful than the tearful prayers of confusion. The thing is, I think we rarely ever want the answer; I think we just don’t want to feel alone trapped inside our confusion. We simply have to let our questions air. We have to let our disappointment breathe. Because if we don’t, it doesn’t leave. It suffocates.
So what do you do?
I don’t know… Everything you think to do. Get honest. Get weak. Get mad. Get really messy. Get really cold. Get whatever it is that you need to be. Because as much as my heart may be fighting against the particulars of the actual, not the ideal, God’s presence still resides there in the actual, not the ideal.
It may not make your circumstances change right away- the door isn’t opened, the phone doesn’t ring, your message isn’t read, the clouds don’t part- but slowly, perhaps imperceptibly, you’ve invited God into whatever hurricane you’re in. You might still hate it. You might not have the power to control it. (None of us has a fast forward button, a reality I hate.) But perhaps you’re given enough grace, not for a lifetime, but for a day. Or a moment. Perhaps you downgrade from anxious and overwhelmed to just questioning and uncomfortable. Like I said, there’s no fast forward button. One must trust that there is a work of grace that is present and active both within you and without you, in ways we’re not allowed to see.
And until I do see, I must I must I must be brave enough to be honest about how I’m seeing life, and offer those prayers and questions up to God, even the ones I wish I wasn’t praying.