It was triggered by one of those cutesy, Christianese sayings people post on Facebook with flowers, or a sunset, or a puppy in the background. It went something like - if God takes something away, He always gives us something better in return. Bull crap. I don’t know what made me so cynical, but I just felt so over it. For the past few years I have been in a perpetual wrestling match with God. I have struggled in an area of my life for quite awhile and have done everything I know to do to fix it. I am just. so. done. I have seen too much. I have heard too much. I know too much. The hard questions never come with answers or at least not answers that make it better. I’m tired of pretending like we have to be okay with that.
Can we just say it? Sometimes God doesn’t give us something better than He took away. Sometimes we suffer through a loss that leaves us feeling like every good thing we ever believed about Him was a lie. Sometime we see injustice that makes us doubt every amazing story about Him we have ever been told. Sometime we experience something we just can’t wrap our faith around with a clever saying or out of context scripture. Sometimes we just want to walk away from it all.
Problem is, I can’t. I can’t tell that friend who just gave birth to her stillborn child to just walk away. I can’t tell that teenager just rescued from a lifetime of being sex trafficked to just walk away. I can’t tell that man who’s wife just committed suicide and left him with three small children to walk away. I can’t tell that homeless child who ran from the foster care system to just walk away. I can’t. Why?
Because despite everything inside of me screaming no, I choose Him. I choose to trust Him. I will choose to believe that His promises are true. I will choose to surrender my expectations of what life should be like. I will - by an act of my will - choose Him over my lack of understanding. I will lift up my hands and worship Him.
Sometimes all I know is that the Bible says to worship God, so I do. I feel like the father in Mark 9 who asks Jesus to heal his demon possessed son and Jesus turns and asks if he believes. He says, I believe! Help my unbelief. I am lifting my hands in worship and my heart is crying out, I believe but help my unbelief. It’s all I have.
Then there are those certain songs - songs that will just break me down to a primal place where I am as raw and real as I can possibly be…
Well I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think your like
but I’ve heard a tender whisper of love in the dead of night
and you tell me that your pleased and that I’m never alone
You’re a good, good father - it’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
and I’m loved by you - it’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
You are perfect in all of your ways, you are perfect in all of your ways to us
…and it’s like I take a nose-drive into the vastness of grace that is still keeping me breathing…
It’s love so explainable I can hardly speak
and peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
as you call me deeper still as you call me deeper still into love - love - love
I sing this song often from the platform with a sincere smile on my face, but I sing it even more in the quite places of my heart with tears streaming down my cheeks. Sometimes all we need is to hear His tender whisper - to know that He is pleased, He is near, that He is good. Something happens when you declare to God that He is perfect in His ways - you surrender to His peace. You say, even when you feel otherwise, you trust Him and His plan. Despite your doubts, you choose Him.
I don’t have a pretty bow to wrap up this post. Terrible things happen…unjust and unfair things. They shake every fiber of the stuff we are made of. But one thing I do know - God understands. He didn’t exempt Himself from those very things. He allowed Himself to feel the brutal pain of unjust and unfair things to a greater extent than we will probably ever have to feel ourselves. Just lift up your hands and worship Him. He is worthy.
Good Good Father by Housefires