Friday, February 15, 2008

Though He Slay Me


The problem with corresponding with a blogger is that you may be inspiring another post. Indeed your questions are thought provoking and something I’m well acquainted with.

You say that you’ve never met anyone else who has struggled with being angry or mad at God. Dare I say…I’d be willing to bet you have. It’s just that most folks aren’t too keen on admitting or acknowledging that they have ever been mad at God. People love to share that they love God and are seeking to know Him better and to read His word…but not too many folks are willing to raise their hand and say, “I’m angry at God”.

I pray my response can offer you some hope as you work through your anger and draw close to the Lord.

For so long I was angry at God because my life has not turned out at all like I wanted it to. I wasn’t asking for great wealth or to be famous. I was asking for love…to be married…and once upon a time I even dreamed about having children.

God’s word assures us that nothing is too hard for God. That He is more than able to handle all that concerns us…with ease. The Bible tells us that God is good and that He has compassion upon those whom He loves. So I prayed and prayed and prayed for years. I can’t tell you dark times and tears I’ve struggled with. Yet God remained silent on this.

I think I finally came to a breaking point. A crisis in my faith. Was I going to believe God and who He says He is…despite my circumstances? Or was I going to be at the mercy of my circumstances and let them dictate how I feel? Feel about God...and people and me?

That’s when the Holy Spirit started to challenge me. He brought scripture to mind. Was I going to really believe what I said I believed? If so…would that change how I act, think and feel?

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

If a human being has the ability to do good…to help someone but fails to do so…that would reflect poorly on their character. Especially if they had the ability to bring relief from great suffering and pain but refused to do so. More than uncaring, such a person would considered wicked or evil. To see hurt and have the ability to help…but refuse to. That’s hard to understand how someone can do that, isn’t it.

But God…is not like man. God is not so much interested in our happiness or comfort as much as He’s interested in our character…in our heart. In bringing us to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Into growing into the image and likeness of Christ. His interests are in the eternal…not so much the temporary.

He’s all knowing. He knows that good can come from bad circumstances, pain and suffering. If you’ve ever had a painful time in your life but come out of it growing closer to the Lord or wiser or kinder and more caring…you know first hand that good can come out of bad. Now multiple times infinity and you have God…who knows all things. He sees our past, present and future all at once. He knows the eventual outcome of what we are going through. He knows it’s impact on us and others.

His aim, His focus is on eternity…not this brief time we have here on earth. In the scheme of eternity…time here on earth is a flash.

What we will gain in eternity…so outweighs what we go through here on earth. It doesn’t seem like that now…because this is all we’ve experienced. It can seem like everything. But it’s not.

One of the best illustrations that I’ve ever heard on us not understanding why God allows pain in our lives was a story told by Dr. James Dobson. He told of his son Ryan having an ear infection. He wife Shirley had taken Ryan to the doctor. But Shirley came to get Dr. Dobson because the doctor asked the impossible…to hold little Ryan down while he dug in his ear to get the infection out. Shirley couldn’t do it. But Dr. Dobson did. He held him in place for the doctor to go in and remove that infection. Ryan was in excruciating pain and he didn’t understand why his daddy, not only wouldn’t help him…but held him down while someone else caused him great pain. He said he hardest part was Ryan looking into his eyes from a mirror…pleading with him to help him. Dr. Dobson was helping him…but Ryan didn’t have the ability to understand it at the time.

That description by Dr. Dobson…was so apt…perfectly descriptive on what it feels like to be going through pain that God will not stop, nor will He explain.

It doesn’t make any sense to me…in my finite knowledge and understanding. I don’t like it…but I have a choice. I can choose to believe God and trust Him to be working out for good what I’m going through. For a lasting gain.

Or I can choose to be angry at God. Disappointed. Not trust Him. Fight Him and His plan.

It’s not easy to say, “Thy will be done.” Especially when we don’t know what will happen or what God will do in our circumstances. When we see others prosper or get away with evil with no consequences. But it’s helpful and encouraging to remind myself that their gain is temporary. My gain is simply delayed. Their gain is for the here and now…mine is in eternity. Even if I live to be 100 years old and suffer…what’ s 100 years compared to eternity?

To say, “Thy will be done”, requires trust. To trust someone, I must know His character, His intent, His purposes and His plan. To know God…I must read His word…where He has plainly revealed Himself. But at the same it’s so rich we can spend a lifetime studying the Bible, never be board or come the end.

So bottom line…how did I get over being angry at God? I had to decide….will I believe God and His word…or will I believe my circumstances and feelings?

I would encourage you to deal with your anger and let it go now. Don’t let pain and circumstances take the joy out of your life today and hope from tomorrow.

God is good…but He does allow bad and pain and hurt to go on in our lives. Sometimes He reveals why…sometimes we have to wait for heaven to understand.

Most importantly when I was angry…when I did not trust God…when I chose to be bitter and resentful…I was believing the lies of the enemy. He’s so subtle…that it’s easy to miss who is behind those feelings. It’s Satan up to his old tricks…casting doubt on God and His word. Just as he said to Eve, he says to us, “Did God really say…?”

Pray and don’t fall prey to the schemes of the enemy.

Lord’s blessings to you. I pray that God will help you to give up or work through your anger…and learn to fully trust Him.

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