It’s not peculiar that we humans are reassured by knowing we’re not the only ones going through something. The Internet –in which people are able, at least for now, to express themselves beyond writing a newspaper Letter to the Editor — has done much in recent years to encourage people who otherwise have thought that they were weird.
We’re not weird — other people have questions, doubts, misgivings, and concerns about all sorts of other things — our government, our educational institutions, our medical establishment, our judicial system, our coldly calculating corporate society, and, certainly not least, our religious arena. (Regarding the latter, it is because people are able to readily and ably connect with others who propound similar questions that we are seeing a distinct exodus from the systematized, syndicated church establishment. Many of the people leaving are committed Christians who are waking up, realizing that the dissatisfaction they are feeling is not necessarily because they are difficult, obstreperous, and spiritually cold.)
Within our walk as Christians, it is easy to get the sense that we are alone in our problems, and when deep, aching prayers appear to go unanswered and unheard, we blame ourselves because, well, those around us do:
“You don’t have enough faith,” is the frequent observation, so tiresomely predictable that we should make T-shirts out of it and pass them out to all the Christians in our lives.
“We’re not honest with ourselves,” would be a better slogan, not one to further castigate us for our lack of perfection, but to free us from the misconception that good, successful Christians never cry out, never get frustrated, never despair, and always get what they ask for from God because He is pleased with them. Such is the foundation upon which the Prosperity Doctrine is built, but the worship of money, and power, seeps into all our lives, and even when we think we’re not pursuing a lie, we spend a lot of time focusing on it.
“You hem me in — behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me,” the Psalmist says in 139:5. This is not a declaration or claim or announcement of mighty faith as it is an observation — quite realistically born out of frustration — that the writer’s movements are severely circumscribed. If we put it into the common tongue — “God. Nothing is happening. I’m not going anywhere” — we would immediately be admonished,
“That’s negative speaking. If you talk that way, how can you expect God to answer your prayers?”
“Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help: be not deaf to my weeping,” Psalm 39:12 says, with the implication that the prayer has been uttered more than once, and the person praying it feels that it has not been heard. “Why, O Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?” Psalm 88:14 is candidly direct.
Isaiah 38:11-14 gives a series of visual images — “No longer will I look on mankind or be with those who now dwell in this world . . Like a weaver I have rolled up my life and he has cut me off from the loom . . . day and night you made an end of me” — that can, and should encourage us that even those whom we think the most godly experience discouragement, and a loss of confidence in the only Person who can help them.
And what about the great prophet Elijah, who in 1 Kings 19 is so overwhelmed by the threats of Jezebel and the evil of the Israelite community, that he prayed,
“I have had enough, Lord. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
None of this is positive talk, and therefore, by 21st century establishment Christianity standards, should not be expressed — and it frequently isn’t because we’re smart enough to read a room, not requiring much time with the group before we figure out that this kind of talk makes others uncomfortable. Honesty generally does.
And honesty is what God wants from His children. It is what is expressed in the Psalms, it is brutally exposed in the very history recorded in the Bible — even the Greats, the ones whose names we know, experienced fear, doubt, anxiety, worry, discomfiture and dismay.
The exhibition of these very human emotions did not result in God throwing up His hands in frustration and storming out of the room, and He will not do so with us, His children who are free to come to Him in all honesty, vulnerability, and need. We are not alone in our frustration, doubt, impatience, anxiety, and urgent desire that God do something, NOW, and we do not need to let the fear of this stop us from going, with confidence, to the Only Person who can take all that garbage, toss it to the side, and help us.
This article is linked to The Deliberate Mom. A Little R and R, Arabah Joy, Rebecca, Christian Mom Blogger, Create with Joy, 3D Lessons, hearts for home, Tell It Tuesdays, Missional Woman, Mom to Mom, Soul Survival, I choose joy, Embracing, Imparting Grace, Look at the Book, Simple Moments, Intention, Wholehearted Home, Woman to Woman