Looking for Answers

“Come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our God our Maker. For he is our God and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Psalm 95: 6

When you can’t pray because of disappointment than praise is fitting. Learn from King David, who started many psalms with complaints and ended in total awe and submission to a Mighty God.

With my head bowed and my lips sealed shut I just couldn’t ask for one more thing. Maybe you cannot pray because you are having a hard time believing God. Perhaps your faith has taken a hard hit, like mine. Sometimes doubt looks like believing nothing will change or believing that God hears but doesn’t help and maybe even believing that God doesn’t always rescue. Losing your faith looks like questioning everything. Why do we lose faith? is it our own fault?

As I read through my devotion today I realized that my faith is wavering, like never before, like a wave it comes in and goes out, and every time takes a little piece of what was once solid with it. My heart is encrusted with doubt and anger and I don’t understand why. As I read in my devotion about the son who actually talks to God and His mother. I felt angry,  skeptical, envious  and highly critical, the story recount a son who approaches his mother , “mom, I asked God to help me realize …”  feelings of anger and resentment were bubbling up inside me. I raised my son to ask God for help too, i raised my son to talk to me about his faith and pray and  I’ve prayed for my son relentlessly, why isn’t my son praying? suddenly the flood gates burst open with these words, it’s not fair! Why is her son saved and seeking God and not mine! Together my husband and I have brought up our children to go to church and we modeled a Christ centered life.

Why don’t my children care about God the way I want them too, hope or prayed they would? This is why I have bitterness, this is why my faith is diminishing. Because i have prayed and prayed and asked and obeyed and done all the things and I  feel unanswered. It’s why I cannot rejoice at anyone else’s joy and happiness and success right now.  I’m truly sorry. I don’t know how this happened. I’m devastated and heartbroken. That’s not a stretch. In the hospital while rocking my firstborn for the first time I remember praying that he would grow up to love the Lord God and serve him, I remember praying for his salvation on that very first day. Above all else his salvation was the most important thing to me.  Now I feel  I have failed in raising him up in the way he should go,  and somehow, for some reason it feels God has failed in answering me. 

“How you respond to these things says a lot about who you are.”

I believe how I respond to the situations in my life ,  the people in my life,  the way in which God is interacting in my life, the thoughts and emotions that show up says a lot about who I am. What is my response right now indicating? Perhaps,  I don’t have as much faith as I suspected, perhaps it reveals that I am not as strong and mature spiritually as I claim to be. Perhaps that I am one event away from changing my mind about Jesus, and that my brokenness is not fully healed and reconciled, I do not have the  wholeness I long for. I am missing something, but maybe its not something that’s been revealed. 

According to God’s great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. i peter 3-6

I am full of sorrow and despair.  I am not fixed or rescued yet, this depression is heavy. But it’s also why I’m angry, why am i not fixed yet?   I am “saved”, but I am not saved. I cannot understand this. What is salvation then? If the Lord has saved me than save me, help me, fix me, intervene – DELIVER ME. 

Its not just my son, I am looking back at the mass of unanswered prayers,  dust covered hopes, unfilled dreams and I’m at a loss. Other peoples have built their careers and portfolio’s and have something to show for their efforts.  Other peoples are respected and contented, and their children probably talk to God, and it breaks my heart, because I  have sought first His kingdom, not my own. Have all these things been added to me? where are MY cookies? 

what is this response saying about who i am right now?

Maybe this is the moment in time, the unfair moment, the utter disappointment when I have an opportunity to give up my right to be right before God, maybe God wants me to learn how to accept the word no, without arguing with him, maybe he wants me to trust his judgement and heart. 

When God says no, it’s not rejection and when he says yes its not acceptance.

God’s acceptance of me is not based on answers to prayers, or my requests, but on a work already done, His.  The healing is not my hope, the success is not my hope, the financial peace is not my hope, the marriage is not my hope, the child who walks with God faithfully is not my hope, the perfect life, the beautiful body, the disciplined life and organized home,  reputation and character , the answers are not my hope. All of these things are what I have prayed for over the years , with little resolve. so clearly they are not bringing me the satisfaction I long for. Maybe God wants me to humble myself and give them up all the things i have hoped for and in, to show me how powerless they are. I have hoped in these things, with God as my cover story.

So now I sit feeling betrayed , empty,  alone, angry, disappointed. I don’t believe the answer i need right now is a  Christian cliché, rejoice in the suffering sister, get on your knees, trust Jesus. while all these are quite true, they are not helpful in the dark moments of your heart. They do not remove the disappointment and grief. its  easy to be  positive and cheerful when everything is going well for you. but is that really the joy of the Lord, or is that more often contentment in your circumstance.   The caterpillar may boast of the glories of being a butterfly, when it flutters around your head, but the butterfly will never boast of what it took to become a butterfly. and that is how the butterfly remains humble, through the suffering hardships of becoming. Jesus wants me to be the butterfly but right now i’m still the worm. 

Jesus healed people in the real time. He fixed, he rescued, he saved with tangible, visible, actual miraculous change in their physical being. He opened blind eyes, he made lame legs walk, he loosed tongues, he exorcised demons, he stilled the seas (on more than one occasion.) He raised dead children to life at the knees of grieving parents. Why has God chosen to not heal my depression, my dark nights answer my prayers?

This is the Jesus, Church tells us will save and heal, so that is what we expect, in fact i think we often say yes to Jesus for the gifts he bears. and if that’s true the day will show it. because we all suffer some time, and what if he doesn’t give you the gift and answer you desire? when people don’t receive they get discouraged, so the message is adjusted, we will all be made well in heaven? Great so I won’t be depressed in heaven. Thanks. That is the backup message when things don’t pan out the way we hope. BUT WAIT.

Maybe I need to practice accepting things I cannot understand rather than demanding i understand before taking one more step, isn’t that trusting God? Maybe God is making me a different person and maybe right now I am the kind of person who quits when things get hard, or don’t go the way I want. Maybe I need to look at what my response is saying about me. Maybe my response is saying I Don’t trust God with the outcome. 

I know two things about myself right now, I am exhausted spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally and I am utterly worn out. and I am discouraged and hopeless that if life hasn’t changed in 25 years…if my marriage hasn’t changed, and my parenting style hasn’t changed, and my financial situation hasn’t changed , my career … and the bottom line is I haven’t changed after all these many many years of prayer and pleading to the One True God, and if so, what hope is there? My response proves I have lost my hope. 

Where are you leading me Lord? where are we going? and why do I feel like I am a paddle boat in the middle of the lake? Suddenly I am tapping my foot and demanding something be done, I have paddled long enough, bring me to shore. I have watched him all around me, I have read about his faithfulness, and i have believed. but now i am choosing to be impatient. BUT WAIT! 

The Living God, does act within the framework of our fallen earth, he does enter into our world and he does work through the holy spirit. That’s why Jesus Went back to heaven, to send the helper to us. He is the God who saves now  and later. That IS what I believe. Of course he rescues us if he is the savior, the rescuer. Just because i am not seeing this, maybe its because i’m blind, maybe its because i’m not seeing it. I  mean sometimes faith is about choosing to remember what we believe about God. 

I am struggling to pray for my children, and I need to work through something. God is watching me in this moment of despair to see how I will respond, but not to spank me when i fail, to direct me in his ways, which will tend to my wounds. 

My daughters, Volleyball Coach said something of great magnitude and God used it to speak to me about what he is doing right now and how he is working. If you remember nothing else about this post, remember this: He said of the girls trying out, “I will put you in situations where you cannot succeed to see how you will react, that will determine what team will best suit you. 

” I will put you in situations where you cannot succeed to see how you react.”

But doesn’t God know how we will react? doesn’t God know all things? Why must he test us?  I could make a list of the things I have asked for from the Lord – things I believe would help me succeed in life, what “team” I wanted to be on, what track will shoot me to the top, because who doesn’t want to be on the varsity team its impressive. But if someone made varsity without the skills set of a varsity player, they get zero playing time, and therefore cannot possibly become a stronger player. The point is God is our Coach and he is putting us in places in life where we cannot succeed, because his plan for us is to be a stronger believer. Its not about success or failure, it’s simply to see where we belong? We are human and if we could choose , we would always choose the team that makes us LOOK the best, but God loves you and i way to much to just make us look good. 

I don’t know what hoping in God looks like right now.  I thought i have been hoping in Christ all these years. But something is changing. He is revealing something different to me. Closing a door somewhere and I’m freaking out. 

I do have a glimmer, the slightest spark of hope that God is using all this to do something amazing,  but honestly,  I’m afraid to hope.  I am  afraid to be disappointed. Right now disappointment for me feels like a blister, the constant friction and rub of something relativity soft but the repetition is tortuous and I am raw.

Where is my help and what does it look like?  Where is my rest? Where is the win that I feel will catapult me into a season of joy,  and who is responsible for bringing it forth, me or God? 

If Jesus were to say to me, what can I do for you, would I even know how to answer that question, is there really just one thing as in the scriptures. People knew exactly what they wanted and needed. He was approaching the lepers, and the paralytics, and the blind. Easy. right? so what is my one thing? perhaps there is one thing that  holding me back, or keeping me down. It’s different for each one of his children,  from Noah to the apostle Paul. Perhaps salvation doesn’t mean heaven or eternity, perhaps its taking hold of Jesus , recognizing his power and love and letting him change the one thing. What is the one thing that I need Jesus to change in my life, that would change everything else? He knows what that one thing is. Do I? 

Perhaps the most humble thing a man can do is to ask  Jesus to forgive my sins. I have been following Jesus around for many years, and silently believing but if i don’t cry out at some point, i will always be a follower and never a disciple? Our response reveals our need and gives us an opportunity to be changed. Perhaps it all is leading up to the one moment when God reveals , peels back the layers of our pride and we see ourselves so utterly unsaved,  that we scream out Jesus son of David have mercy on me. The pride say, i’m already saved i already believe. I’m already going to heaven, but the humble say Lord have mercy i am a sinner. It takes humility to admit that we need to saving, more so when we have been saved. I have spent a lot of time, just wanting God to see me here and deliver me quietly, but something tells me God never moves quietly on our behalf,  because then His mercy would go undetected.

God never moves quietly on our behalf,  because then His mercy would go undetected.

God saves us with thundering blasts and lightening strikes and booming wind storms, with blood and sweat and emotion, I think. But it feels like sorrow. It’s not so we can be seen but that HE will be seen. He permits us to be in turmoil, to labor in the dust by the sweat of our brow to be oppressed and enslaved and depressed. and in the many prayer times, and the devotion and the faithfulness and the hours or seeking his kingdom and his face and his word we meet him there. We see him. Even though we don’t get the answer we might want, even though we cannot keep asking can –  praise for he He is the answer.

What will our response be? 

 

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