When Life Hurts

God is not glorified when His children approach Him in a manner that is artificially placid.  He doesn’t want to hear stuff like, “Oh, please, Mr. God, sir, might I possibly be allowed to ask a question or tell you my heart is broken?”

He is glorified in us when we honor Him as holy (Isaiah 6)…when we live according to the fear of Lord, knowing it is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs)…when we recognize that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55)…when we submit to Him.

When we are processing pain, disappointment, or simply confusion about what He has, in His sovereignty, allowed, I believe He loves it when we are broken, real, honest, searching.  I think He wants us to come boldly before His throne (Hebrews), begging for His help.  But maybe this is my generational bent; reading into the Word was I want to see there.

icy bloom

A story I read once comes to mind.  It starts with a little girl running to her father’s lap in tears, angry and upset about something she saw as partially his fault.  At first, she pounded her tiny fists on his chest in childish rage.  But later she fell asleep against him, tears drying on her cheeks.  I think there is an analogy for us there in how to relate to God when our world seems to be caving in.  Was the little girl correct or justified in pounding her dad’s chest to vent anger and pain?  No.  Had he done anything wrong or hurtful to her?  No.  But would that father have preferred her to come to him and work through her pain and confusion with him rather than going to sulk and weep alone in her room?  Absolutely!  She knew he was her stronghold and safe place even when, in her incomplete view, he was also the source of her pain.  With his quiet love, he helped her surrender her childish rebellion.

It’s this kind of raw authenticity with the Lord that led the men and women of Old Testament days to tear their clothes, rub ashes on their faces, and sit in silence for days.  This is the emotional honesty we see in Job, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Habakkuk, Isaiah, etc.

It is part of growing up into Him who is the head.  Will we struggle to understand pain and God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness in heaven?  No.  We will have finally grown up and the remainders of our sinful flesh will have fallen away when we are glorified.  But I believe that on this earth, asking God questions and confessing our true feelings to God no matter what they are, is part of our sanctification.  It is part of how we learn to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22).

I hope it is clear that I am not advocating accusing God or relishing a state of seething in anger at Him.  But I am saying that He knows what is in our hearts and minds much better than we do.  And I believe it is right, good, and ultimately sanctifying to pour out what is inside us before a holy God.  Once the truth is in the open between us, He can purify our hearts and help us think and feel rightly.  I believe our interaction with God is meant to be interplay of surrender to Him and wrestling with Him.

I know I still have a lot to learn about life and Him.  Let me me know what you think about all this.


2 thoughts on “When Life Hurts

  1. Hebrews 5:7-8 comes to mind while reading this, ” 7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered”. Learning how to apply this verse into action has made me rest more than I use to in suffering. If I am to learn obedience it will be my joy and dignity to learn the same way He did. For when I am weak He is made strong. This has been teaching me that quiet submission and joy are my strength through grace! Nothing on my own can muster it up (tried to many times, crashed and burned every stinking time) it is a free gift of God. It’s that upside down kingdom thing… dying to live and losing to gain craziness.

    Love your heart t, you are real in this blog. The Lord takes pleasure in your honest vulnerability.

  2. I agree with you, Terra. Honesty with God leads to deeper intimacy with God. “Pour out your heart before Him…” It’s the same with relationships with people we trust.

    The psalms of lament are good food. The emotions are real and yet, mostly, they end with an affirmation of who God is and worship. We have to empty out so that we can be deeper wells from which others can draw.

    Love you

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