When I started this blog I promised I would be real. My intent and desire is to share the full reality of the Christian walk; in other words the good and the bad. This desire took root in my life when I began going through some difficult situations and felt very alone. I would hear and see how other Christians would always say how great things are going, that they are living in victory while seldom, if ever hearing – this walk hurts, it’s difficult and confusing or hearing leaders express that they too go through these experiences from the altar. When you do hear it, you only hear from those who have been delivered, rescued or have overcome. (I feel this doesn’t always afford us the opportunity to relate because you can’t see that far ahead when you are feeling consumed by the fiery trials.) I was also told many times that a Christian should not and could not feel like I felt and that I had to continue claiming God’s promises. I was left feeling guilty and ashamed of my Christian walk. I felt like I had failed God. I would hear about how we all will one day experience what is referred to as “the dark night of the soul” but that we had to endure to the end. I don’t know about you, but when you are in the middle of the storm feeling helpless the last thing I want or need to hear is that I have to hold on. After all that’s what I’ve been doing for years and nothing has changed. This, as I have mentioned before, made me feel like I should not and could not speak about what I was truly feeling. I panicked at the thought, that in sharing:
- I would be a stumbling block to others who are struggling
- I would shame God’s name
- I would provide an abundance of supporting evidence to those who already do not believe
I am repeating some of this because I want you to be aware that I am a fellow sojourner, very sinful and fallible who stands by grace alone. It has taken me a very long time to accept that it is by his grace that I can live this life; and I am still not doing it well. I always have a tendency to focus on the greatness of my failures rather than on the greatness of God’s grace. This is one area where I am finally gaining ground! Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean I fail less. Rather that when I fail, I finally grasp that he doesn’t love me any less, he is not shocked and disappointed by what happened and that I can go to him in the same manner I would’ve had I obeyed and followed through perfectly. There will be days where I will ride the wave and there will be times when the wave will take me down – but his grace abounds even more. If he chooses to use my ramblings in spite of who I am that is his concern not mine. He has always known what I am capable and not capable of, what my failures would be and the things I would struggle with my entire human life. That is why you must always test everything you read against God’s written word. My perceptions, conclusions, thoughts and actions may be wrong. His word is the only absolute!
I share this because I am struggling right now. I have been taken down by a wave and the waves keep coming. Even after all the Aha Moments, Rhema Words, Words of Knowledge and comfort spoken to me…I am struggling. I need Jesus, my lifeguard, to rescue me, because I will drown. I am having a very difficult time reconciling how a just God would allow something very painful in my life to continue in my life. What I mean by that is, that if the circumstances do not change and will not change, I would expect for me to change and to feel his presence and love comforting me. His word says that:
- That he is close to the brokenhearted
- That if I wait on him he will renew my strength
- He is my shield, my stronghold, my protector and my refuge in times of trouble
- His mercy and goodness follow me all the days of my life
- That he is with me and that he will never leave me or forsake me
- That I can do all things through him
- To ask and that I would receive
- That I would not be disappointed if I trust him
- That he can do all things and that nothing is impossible for him
Yet, I do not feel him close, I do not feel strengthened. I do not feel shielded, protected and I can not see his goodness and mercy follow me through my constant tears. I do not feel he is with me, I actually feel forsaken. I have no more strength to do all things. I have asked and have yet to receive (I am talking years). I am very disappointed because I have not seen him do the impossible I have so many times imagined.
Do not misunderstand, my feeling this way does not cause me to not believe in him or trust him. I do not doubt He is God and sovereign. My eggs are all in one basket and he’s got it! If he doesn’t come through I’m doomed; I do not have a plan B. I very much relate to Job. One moment he, with great humility accepts that God gives and takes away and with his next breath battles with why God is allowing this in his life. I think my issue is I have been waiting for my happy ending. I’ve imagined God intervene in ways that would give Hollywood a money making blockbuster.
But it seems we don’t all get the happy ending. Joseph, Job, Ruth, Rahab, David got their happy endings. But let’s be real. God doesn’t deliver and rescue everyone and not everyone overcomes in the natural. Moses never entered the Promised Land, Samson’s second chance led to his death, John the Baptist was beheaded, Mary the mother of Jesus suffered heartache much of her life, Stephen was stoned to death, Paul remained in jail till the end and was martyred, and John the Beloved remained in exile on the island of Patmos. I don’t think that’s what they had imagined their lives would be like. I’m sure they expected seasons of trial and suffering. But I wonder if they ever thought the majority of their walk would entail so much suffering. For me the dilemma is not so much the “unhappy ending” (though I was truly hoping for one) but the absence of God’s joy, peace and comfort and – what does it mean for me to obey in my circumstances? This is still unclear to me. Based on what I have read from scripture – those who did not get the happy ending indeed experienced God’s joy, peace and comfort. Truly God’s joy was their strength. Yet for me, the fact that he remains hidden from me is what aches the most. I don’t know how to live in his joy without him being tangible in my life. After experiencing what I did, I can’t imagine living like this the rest of my life. Having lived heaven on earth for so many years makes living without his presence unbearable. Why would he let me experience him in such a way and then take it away? How can I be content with less of him after having so much of him? I know that I should be thankful for the experience and live with great hope and anticipation as to what eternity will be like. But how that is possible, I do not know. This reality aches and tears away at me everyday. I feel empty, alone and abandoned. To compound matters, some of the most painful circumstances in my life have not changed. Life was bearable before. Yes things hurt, but God’s love was so overwhelming and fulfilling I could make it through. Was the experience I had supposed to encourage me to face anything, knowing the other side was more than worth it? I hope not, I can’t imagine living another year let alone decades without experiencing him with my five senses. Instead, this experience has led me to battle anger, bitterness, disappointment and resentment with God.
I’ve given up on my circumstances changing. In doing so, I feel something in me has died. Maybe that’s what supposed to happen maybe not. I don’t know, but the cloud over me is at times overwhelming. I know that God doesn’t want us to give up hope. I haven’t given up hope in who he is and what he can do. I am however struggling with how his promises apply to me. I’m tired and weary of hoping things would change because nothing is impossible for him and being disappointed. Obviously, my hope is on the outcome and not him. I know God does not want me to live like this. I know that he came to give me life – abundant life. To me the abundant life means to be full of him – his love, joy and peace. It means to be content in him, regardless of your circumstances. The thing is I don’t know how to be content if I can’t feel his love. I affirm my trust in him and I’ve asked God to show me what does not allow me to feel his love for me, where I am allowing sin in my life, to open my eyes to the pain of others so that I do not remain consumed in my pain only, to show me how to live with the immense loss of his manifest presence and that his purpose would be fulfilled in me through this. I ask him to fill me with his peace. My only hope, my greatest desire is to come to a place where I can once again feel his love in tangible way. His love is the only thing that can overcome all the pain and disappointments.
Though I do not feel it (I struggle to believe it), though doing so cuts me like a knife and floods my eyes with tears – I am proclaiming his promises! YHWH, I AM, Beginning and End my hope is in you. Only you can be my Ezer (my help, succor, Savior, Protector and Deliverer). For your Name’s sake, because of JESUS – come and save me! I cry out to you like David:
O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me;
rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful God…
I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress.
Tears blur my eyes.
My body and soul are withering away.
I am dying from grief;
my years are shortened by sadness.
Sin has drained my strength;
I am wasting away from within.
I am scorned by all my enemies
and despised by my neighbors—
even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street,
they run the other way.
I am ignored as if I were dead,
as if I were a broken pot.
I have heard the many rumors about me,
and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me,
plotting to take my life.
But I am trusting you, O Lord,
saying, “You are my God!”
My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
Let your favor shine on your servant.
In your unfailing love, rescue me.
Don’t let me be disgraced, O Lord,
for I call out to you for help.
Let the wicked be disgraced;
let them lie silent in the grave…
How great is the goodness
you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection,
blessing them before the watching world.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence,
safe from those who conspire against them.
You shelter them in your presence,
far from accusing tongues.
Praise the Lord,
for he has shown me the wonders of his unfailing love.
He kept me safe when my city was under attack.
In panic I cried out,
“I am cut off from the Lord!”
But you heard my cry for mercy
and answered my call for help.
Love the Lord, all you godly ones!
For the Lord protects those who are loyal to him,
but he harshly punishes the arrogant.
So be strong and courageous,
all you who put your hope in the Lord! Psalm 31 NLT
When will you Come Copyright 2013 Fogel