Too many times I receive an answer to prayer, but only rejoice temporarily. Then the dark cycle begins again.
Difficulty–>Emptiness–>Questioning “Why”–>Doubting the “Who,” which is God.
As I’m getting older an more preoccupied; I realize that I MUST stop and record my journey with Jesus. This blog is just one of many outlets. An email to myself, a prayer journal, or a private blog works; but the lesson is in the not forgetting. Because this is how the enemy thrives and defeats my soul.
Today I turn to my blog (which is in serious need of updating, I realize), hoping that through the act of writing and hitting “publish” I won’t forget.
So, how has God spoken to me lately? Well, as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed the art of questioning and analyzing. This has been a spiritual weakness (sometimes a strength, however) of mine. I know I am a child of God’s, but this doesn’t mean that faith always comes easily. I struggle with questioning God when…
- I see injustice in the world and my sense of fairness prevails.I’m not talking about someone getting cut from the cheerleading squad. I’m talking about that precious child that experiences brutal, unthinkable abuse every single day of her little life until she dies in the most insufferable manner that we refuse to even imagine. I know I’m not alone in feeling like I need my finite mind to understand how a good God can be in control of these atrocities.
- I don’t feel God’s presence.Wasn’t I supposed to hear an audible voice and have an apostle Paul-like encounter at some point in my walk with Christ? Shouldn’t I be overwhelmed with a spiritual revival of my soul, at least weekly? Truthfully, I’ve had moments of feeling overwhelmed by the presence of God, but I am sadly flawed and so self-obsessed that I quit listening.
I could spend months creating blog posts (oh, if I only had the time!) to address those two concerns. But, my purpose today is to address how God answered my prayers in this struggle of questioning and doubting His presence. And, in doing so, maybe I can offer some comfort if you, too, are struggling to really hear God.
So, let’s (briefly) set the stage–
I’ve been passive about dwelling in God’s presence lately. Most days I’m just trying to survive, and in doing so, I’ve created a chasm in my relationship with God, my relationship with my spouse, and I’ve become solely dependent on myself. The answer is not to find time; I will always need time. I finally became vulnerable and told God (in summation), “No–I don’t feel like you are here; I feel empty and exhausted. Help me.”
Here’s what God did–
- He gave me the opportunity to hear John Piper at our church’s Live14 conference, providing me with reflection and encouragement. I’d highly recommend listening to Piper’s teaching, and I especially recommend the Q&A (labeled as “panel discussion“), which addresses relevant issues facing the Church.
- He gave my husband an unexpected week of work, which enabled us to work through some issues, renew our vision for our family, and provide some help for me at home (read: I got some alone time! I also got an AMAZING 1-hr massage! Thank you, babes!).
- He addressed my recurring struggle to understand “fairness” through a Christian radio program and through a sermon on Romans 3:1-8 at my church. Seriously, these resources spoke directly to my struggle. Don’t you love it when God does that?!
To conclude, here are some truths that really help me defeat Satan when my flesh cries out “that’s not fair!” Most of these were taken from the sermon I referenced.
- There are limits to my understanding. If I could understand God, He would not be God. This humbles me, and exalts God.
- We are saved by what God does, not by what we do. The Gospel is fundamentally not fair, and aren’t we glad? Otherwise, we’d have no choice except condemnation. Thank you, Jesus! God is beyond gracious to give his innocent Son for us. I’m undeserving, yet he chose to be “unfair” for me.
- The answer to the “Who?” (God) is more comforting than to ask “Why?”
- I must choose to submit to God and realize that He knows better than I.