Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Slammed Right Up to God

"For at least when we express our anger to God, our wrestling keeps our skin pressing into His. God is still present. When we honestly expose our inflammation, express our soreness, we are still staking our commitment to our relationship with Him."
Ann Voscamp from her blog post,
Even if He doesn't: Learn to Lament

This posting is a day late for the simple reason that I have been in awe over the words of Ann Voscamp since Loni posted them on Friday.

After I read them, I went to Ann's blog to read the entire context. I was unprepared for the full impact of her testimony. God has stretched me as I have tried to get my mind around the simple truth that as His child I can go right up to Him and be completely open with my pain and anger.

The first thing I realized is that I don't spend much time confronting God with my anger. Mostly I gripe, then whine...never really delving deeply enough into the source of my pain or anger to seriously deal with it.

So...instead of letting God peel away the unhealthy layers and deal with the raw, open wounds, I begin to develop a callous around my heart. As subsequent circumstances occur, related or not to the present anger, I whine a while and try to dismiss the anger and put on my "church face."

When my children were young, I got very good at tuning out whiny, cranky voices that indicated tired or unsatisfied little kids. I could carry on normal activities while ignoring their shrill, repeated complaints.

At about age 4, my son, from within his painful public shyness, figured out how to get my full attention back.

He would slam himself against me, grab my legs, and hold on with all his might. If it seemed I was still going to force him into a situation he didn't want to face, he would let go with one tiny hand just long enough to signal his increasing distress with a sharp punch at me.

I would immediately refocus on him instead of continuing to push him into his classroom and smiling apologetically at his Sunday school teacher. At that point I new his fears and stress had progressed passed the whiny stage into real distress. My response was always to kneel down and take him in my arms, softly telling him that hitting mommy was not ok, and assuring him that I was going to stay with him until he was comfortable enough for me to leave.

It took a long time for me to get to go to my own Sunday school class. But by the time I did, my son was confident that I was always going to be available to him and I would always be back to get him.

Ann's words reminded me of my freedom to approach my heavenly Father, even in anger.

While I was preparing for our Wednesday night Bible study, I read some words that brought it all together for me:

"But though Job's faith wore out, God's faithfulness did not. He stayed with Job until he had learned the lesson of God's sovereignty, and then He gave Job twice as much as he had before... 'Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love.' (Lamentations 3:32)." ~From The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges.

I believe God wants us to engage Him fully, no matter the situation. If it's worth bringing to Him, instead of throwing up half-thought prayers that trail off in whining and complaining, we should boldly grab hold of Him and truly pour out our hearts.

Think about this: If it's only important enough to whine about, perhaps it's not worth the whining.

Ann reminded us that David went to God with words of deep lament. She could only give us this encouragement because it's obvious that she knows and searches the Scriptures. This is the "how" part of applying her valuable words.

[From The Practice of Godliness on the fruit of Joy~~
Jeremiah 29:11 ~ "'I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

These are the words the Holy Spirit will use to promote joy in our hearts. In order for Him to use the Scriptures, however, they must be in our hearts through regular exposure to and meditation upon them. This is our responsibility and is one of the practical means we must pursue to exhibit the fruit of joy.]

Loni is hosting In Other Words at her site Writing Canvas. If you want to participate, write a blog about the quote in the box above on your site then click on the link to Loni's blog and leave your URL in the Mr. Linky box. You will also find links for the other participants' blogs.


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

This is my first time, and I'm really emjoying your posts. I like the idea about if your issue is only worth whining over perhaps it's not all that significant.

Denise said...

This was very awesome sweetie.