Do you have events or areas in your life that you secretly, or not-so-secretly, have just never really been able to understand, and more importantly, let go: Because you cannot understand WHY they happened? Because you are so angry or hurt by them? Because you feel justice was never done, or received? Because you didn't deserve what happened, and others who seem to care so little and act so mean, get along wonderfully? Because it doesn't fit what God seems to be doing in your life? (sickness, accidents, abuse, loneliness, insecurities, broken marriages, deaths…) Does it affect: Your relationship w/ God? Your heartfelt worship, deep inside? Your joy, deep inside? Your relationship with others because of depression, unforgiveness or disinterest? Does it put a haze, a different shade on all of life? You find yourself questioning God, and getting angry and dissatisfied with God; only to feel guilty for your questions and anger—so you either try to pull yourself back up and go on with God, but your heart remains hollow, unfulfilled, and numb; or, you drift a little further away each time the pain and doubt grabs you again, deeper into pain and isolation. How do you stop the cycle? How do you get out of the water that's drowning you? How do you make sense of God in the middle of it all & get your joy, faith, relationship, and life back again? You're not alone, and you don't have to be ashamed or scared feeling this way.
Is it wrong to question God at all? Is it wrong to show my irritation and anger with God? There are many places in Scripture where God is called into question by His own people, often in anger. (ex: Habakkuk 1:2-3; Exodus 5:22-23, Psalm 10:1, Psalm 44:23) Based upon the actions of the prophets themselves, there are times that questions to God in confusion, anguish, and despair are not sinful; they are sometimes an intimate expression of how you actually feel deep inside, and there is no use hiding those feelings, God knows already. To share these feelings with God is a deeply personal bond between you; but, the first thing to realize in questioning God: each of these people questioned God; speaking to God, and only God. They spoke directly to God about their troubles, pains, and anger; they did not disrespect God and His character, or put Him on trial to the world because they felt they were done unjustly. Numbers 14:2-4: Notice the complaint was not a heartfelt expression of pain, but a doubting and insulting of God, from a heart that had turned from Him because they did not get their way. You must ask yourself about the way that you question God, or complain to God, or even fuss and argue with God that determines whether you fall deeper into a hole, or find healing and strength; that determines whether you are sinning or bonding with Him! When you are having those moments with God, ask yourself, "What is my motive behind questioning and venting?" Is it to lash out at God and put Him on trial, as we have just said? To close-mindedly, without interest in the real reason, just to show how right you are; how unjustly you were done, and demand an answer? To question whether God has made a mistake in His actions? Or is it with a broken heart, in need of comfort? A heart in real need of direction? A heart truly wondering where to go from here? Job was a man that suffered many unexplained sorrows in his life; and I have to personally defend Job here, and say that he was true to God without complaint, under more pain than most of us would have been. He held his tongue until a small group of, "friends" came to help him. These friends, in their accusations of Job, caused him to finally reveal his heart as he began to, "defend" himself from their attacks! Job poured out his heart to God; showed his anger; but he did so in a very self-focused and proud way. Job 10:1-3. Job assumes God has unfairly condemned and oppressed Him; not knowing it is Satan accusing him. Job attacks God's very character and justice. Job 9:32-35. Job 31:35-37. in a big step over the line, Job challenges God to write out His accusations against him and he would be so sure of his proven innocence against the accusations. He would parade them around, and approach His Accuser as a prince. Job was saying, in his assumed innocent distress, that God was a false accuser, and he would prove Him wrong. Does it not make you cringe when you think about Job having that kind of audacity? Many of us have done the same thing; maybe not openly, or even consciously; but when we, instead of searching for an answer, or pouring out our heart before God in our distress, simply attack God for our undeserved treatment; whether in our minds, in our prayers, or verbally in front of others. We have a completely inwardly focused view; we completely miss who Christ is, and how He relates to us; we completely miss anything that was supposed to come out of our trials for good. We become even more miserable and confused than ever; sometimes living in this cycle for weeks, months, or years. When Job, in his moment of self-righteousness, began to accuse God of injustice, and demanded an audience with the Almighty—He got it; but, the meeting did not go as planned; it went with God asking all the questions, not Job. Job 38:1-3, Job 40:1-8. Do you find yourself accusing God to justify your innocence? God answers by making the case that Job's thoughts are so far from His, that Job has not the slightest clue as to what He is accomplishing in his life; that it is not injustice, but lack of knowledge, that causes Job to accuse. Job 40:9-14, Job 38: 4, 12, 16, 17, Job 40:3-5, Job 42:3, 6.
The realistic question is how? How do you not feel this way sometimes? Answer: It is not that you don't feel this way sometimes; it is how you handle the feelings; it is the perspective through which you view them. We are going to have times of complete, overwhelming grief, pain, or anger that we cannot ignore in our human frailty. The totally amazing thing is that our God understands that better than anyone could; He is never hurt or angry about it. He gave Himself that Human Frailty, and then allowed Himself to be pushed beyond the limits of that Frailty to experience our defeat within Himself: hanging on that cross, all He could scream out in the last moments was, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani” , or "God, wht did you leave Me?" If you can't get strength and comfort from Jesus, when you know He felt that kind of real pain, where else could you turn? Just as courage is not being fearless, but acting through the fear anyway; so, faith is not that you are aren't angry or confused, but that you trust Him through it anyway.Some of your most intimate times with Christ will be when you openly share that pain and confusion with Him. The Psalms show repeatedly that He not only approves, but relishes those moments with you. Use these times of complaint and anguish with God, to draw strength and increase your faith. How? Through the Biblical pattern given to us. Give Him everything in your heart, honestly, and completely; then admit to Him that you are frail, limited in knowledge, and hurt by your lack of understanding; not God's injustice; and literally ask for His help in dealing. Don't ask Him to help you trust, forgive, love, or stand; ask Him to do it through you, with you. He is your strength; He lives in you, with you always; you are not alone. Then, remember just what God reminded Job of, that He does have wisdom in everything that happens. Ask God some questions that show you are trusting He does have a reason, and that you are wanting to serve Him in His cause: Do I have anything I am holding back in my life? (Sin, greater love, etc. Am I really trusting You right now? (Do I believe you are smarter, loving?) What are you accomplishing in my life right now? What do You want me to do with this? By finding a new direction I never considered? By waking up to something? How can I honor you through this? By forgiving? By healing others? By showing faith? Then listen as never before; expectantly; God is working. There will still be times that you are, "seemingly" not going to get a solid answer for, "why?" In case you hadn't noticed, when Job did get exactly what he asked for from God and God showed up to stand trial; Job still never got an answer as to why. But, the answer is so very apparent to use now; you are hearing it: God used his suffering to reach and teach millions throughout the ages; bringing God glory and praise.
Whatever reason, whatever plan and design, God has woven into the tapestry of your life with every event you don't understand; there is one reason that is always primary... always: "Real fruit vs. fake fruit". 1) Sometimes the only way to know if fruit is real or not is too squeeze it. The proof is in the squeeze; if it had no juice, if it was fake all along, it could look good until squeezed, then the truth was out (or not out). “Sweet vs. rotten juice” 2) But if you are real fruit, your greatest calling in any event that god places you into, is to glorify and love him. We are His harvest; full of the Fruits of His Spirit! What comes out of you, when you are squeezed; during times of trials, in those moments we question Him, is what we fill His cup with. He drinks of that cup. But in His love, His plan is to also share what is in that cup for the healing of others. Is what you fill your cup with, nourishing to others or deadly? These moments show us whether we are real or not, and gives real sustenance to those around us; like no other opportunity in our lives. we were made to be squeezed, so we might glorify him… so the world might know we are real, so we might be the example! Do you ruin those moments with sour juice? Until we are placed in difficult positions; until we are not given the one thing we want most; until we are taken beyond justice; until we are taken beyond our ability to cope—we can’t truly show trust and faith. There is an ancient Chinese proverb that states, "Pure gold does not fear the furnace!" It kind of reminds me of some greater words of wisdom: 1 Peter 1:6-7.
Psalm 13:1-2: When bad news comes; when it is just too much; when you have been done terribly wrong; when it does not make sense as to why—pour your heart out in anxiety, fear, anger, depression… then, tell Him you know that it is your self-focus, frailty, and lack of knowledge that makes you feel this way; then, tell Him He is still your God and your hope and trust is in Him alone. Psalm 13:3: Then ask Him to help you see any wisdom you should gain, any new direction you should take, or sin you should leave; then glorify Him, and tell Him of your confidence in Him to sustain you; in the midst of the troubles. Psalm 13:5-6: And let the Fruits of the Spirit that are in you. Be pressed into His cup through trials! Let God, be God; He's pretty good at it. He knows what He’s doing. By the way, Job was not only restored for passing the test (even with help), he was given twice as many blessings for his faithfulness. Maybe God is waiting for you to pass. Nevertheless, though He slay me, will I trust Him. Bless us, we honor Him. Crush us, our juice will honor Him more. Our Battle Cry should be: "May my trials fill Your Cup, O King!"