Wednesday, January 25, 2012

For When You Feel Discouraged…Or Have Answers for Those Who Are

Please, click on over from the link under the video. The video itself is inspiring, but coupled with Kat's words... Well, she made me cry, and I'm not a cry-er.
I do have some questions though. After I cried, and thought about how I'd either never read those verses with that understanding, or else I'd forgotten that Truth, then I remembered...
I've watched someone cry out to God for YEARS.

They haven't resisted the chastening of the Lord.
They've submitted to every conviction that has come.
They've denied their flesh for the sake of seeking holiness.
They've given sacrificially over and over again to those in need.
Now, I AM NOT saying that God somehow "owes" this person anything, or that they have somehow "earned" any rights or privileges. I know better than that, and I know that the very best among us is still deserving of the wages of death.
But WHAT then do I do with verses like these?
What do I tell this person when they read these verses and wonder and question and begin to doubt and finally walk away from it all?
Honestly, I'm questioning and doubting and packing my bags for a walk too.
And the worst has been to ask "believers", and to hear "you've just gotta have faith!" and "you've got to believe!" and "you just need to pray more!"
So, yes, I'm asking you for your input, for your opinion.
*IF* your answer tends toward those lines, DON'T post it. I've heard enough of it.
I apologize if that seems abrasive, harsh, or bitter. I believe I'm actually through the "bitter phase" and out the other side, and the "enough of it" statement is just simply a statement of fact.


  1. PS, I've also heard from "believers" that this person must be very strong and that the Lord can trust them as He trusted Job, etc. etc. I'm sorry, but that just doesn't help, nor do I believe it. And it still doesn't tell what to do with verses like these.

  2. I too have a very strong distaste for "pat answers" and "prepackaged consolation via scriptures you've memorized". Probably a result of a lot of hypocrisy I've seen through the years. Let's get one thing straight before I comment...I would never want anyone to think of me as religious or spiritual, etc. and I'm not well "read" in the Bible. I don't think I have the answers, only my experiences and opinions to share. I will consider myself very fortunate if I "make the cut" come judgement day. I'm reminded daily how miserably I fail at trying to follow him. But, I do Love him, and have NO doubt of who or what he is.

    Perhaps it's not as showy, but I believe God has indeed displayed the same ferocious Love for this person as in the scripture. How many times have they been spared? How many times blessed? Do you presume to be able to see all in the spiritual realm? Perspective... it changes everything. Perhaps you should both try looking at it from someone else's perspective - like the millions hoping for rice today, those paralyzed from the neck down, those with children who've died, etc.

    It comes across that perhaps you think God has failed this person. To accuse God of failing is to say that you know his perfect will, the beginning, the end, the middle....exactly what he should have done and he neglected to do so. My question? is it God's will you want, or yours?

    For undisclosed reasons, I pursued custody of my son when he was 2.5 years old. By all rights, we should have gotten it. Through numerous blunders by our attorney (who is now disbarred), we lost. We no longer had the funds, etc. to continue the pursuit. Custody was the one thing I wanted the most - but couldn't have. Through all that I learned to lean on God, seek his will, not mine - it's been a long hard lesson. When things don't go according to plan, I give it to God because I absolutely am convinced he "has my back" and I want his will for us, not mine. My default assumption is that if that door closed, he wanted it closed, I'm not going in search of a lock pick or sledge hammer. Did I walk away from my son? No, I still did all I could for us to be a positive influence on him and try to guide him toward the cross. Did I fail often... oh yeah - but I kept trying.

    I took a step to do/learn something several years ago that I thought God wanted me to do. A year or so back I was put in a position to share it with someone it could help... they accepted it, then rejected it. Recently, that need worsened...I fertilized that seed in hopes that the viewpoint had changed - turns out perfect timing (his). God nurtured that seed and that person has seen miraculous things happen as a result. That's not about me. It's about obeying what you feel he is leading you to do... not knowing the outcome. Sometimes you'll see a harvest, other times you won't.

    Don't be the child playing the game that gets up and says "I'm not playing anymore" because it's not going the way YOU think it should. Look around you. You are one of the MOST blessed people I know. God heard and answered every single prayer that person prayed. Some aren't the answers that were desired, others, you'll never know.

    Don't let Satan fill your head with lies and use your reaction to undermine all you have taught your children.

    Pluto...from the bottom of my heart.

    1. awww... Pluto too!
      Thank you for coming here, and commenting. Good questions and thoughts.
      Especially about the blessings. Sadly, I do lose sight of that when I watch someone hurting, and when I enter into it with them and am shown what it looks like through their eyes.
      And the "whose will do I want: His or mine"... good check. I had to really chew on that a while, and honestly?
      I typed a lot here and then realized I want to make a whole post out of it, because this post and comments have surprised me at the intensity of feeling I have going on beneath the surface. When I first posted this I wasn't planning anything beyond saying that Kat made me cry. The rest surprised me.
      So... to be continued.
      Pluto again :0)

  3. This post makes me think back to a point in my life that was full of angry questions. God had ostensibly messed up everything. Even ignorant me could have done a better job, so I thought. I was 18 years old.

    I did not doubt that God existed. Rather I didn't like what he was doing. Following him seemed ridiculously hard... impossibly hard. I was sitting at my desk in my freshman year dorm room when I started seriously contemplating taking that walk. Except I was picturing it as a jump. It was like I was standing at the edge of a precipice, looking into an abyss. That darkness was life without God. It was horrifyingly ugly. I looked the other way, where I had been going, and all I saw were obstacles and pain. I almost took the plunge. But then I didn't.

    There's a part of Hind's Feet on High Places where Much-Afraid comes to a moral crossroads. Nothing seems to be going as planned. She seems farther away from her destination than ever. Turning back seems so reasonable. The Shepherd asks her, what if it's true what your family is telling you? What if you're not on your way to the high places? What if I've deceived you all along?

    What Much-Afraid decided at that moment was something very similar to what I decided that day when I was 18 years old. Even if it's all for nothing; even if the road remains hard; even if there's no reward at the end; a life with the Shepherd in it is far better than a life without him. That's all I had.

    I also struggle with what to do with the promises (like Psalm 18). I think that it's our limited understanding that makes us not see God's fulfillment except in hindsight. Have you read Ben Hur? One of the things that struck me most about the book was the way Jesus' followers completely failed to understand how God was fulfilling his promises through Jesus. They THOUGHT they knew what they needed - freedom from Rome. One of the wise men was watching the excitement over Jesus, and said to Ben Hur - Governments come and go. One inevitably replaces another over the passage of time. If Jesus came only to give the Jews freedom from Rome, I would be terribly disappointed. I think he came to do something far greater.

    I guess what I'm saying is that my experience with doubting God's promises has often been a misunderstanding of what He was trying to do. All I can ever see is the pains of today, but His sights are infinitely greater. What He's doing is far greater than making today easy for me. Sometimes days are hard. Sometimes every day is hard. But when I think that I can't stand the Romans any more and don't understand why God doesn't just get rid of them already (some hail and bolts of lightning would be really nice right now!)... I still have the conviction that having God as a companion through life is worth it in and of itself.

    1. Anna, I just love you! I'm so glad to have you as my friend.
      What you said here about Ben-Hur (yes we like that book! Time for another read-aloud!) is something that resonates deeply with me:
      "the way Jesus' followers completely failed to understand how God was fulfilling his promises through Jesus. They THOUGHT they knew what they needed - freedom from Rome. One of the wise men was watching the excitement over Jesus, and said to Ben Hur - Governments come and go. One inevitably replaces another over the passage of time. If Jesus came only to give the Jews freedom from Rome, I would be terribly disappointed. I think he came to do something far greater."
      I see myself AND others in the position of Jesus' followers described here, and I'm frustrated with ALL of it. I'm frustrated with the "pattern" held out my most of the church society/culture, it seems to me to be so far away from even resembling anything besides what provoked Jesus' ire, and I'm frustrated with my own position of (apparently) feeling that I know better, which is just ugly.
      I definitely have a LOT of questions right now. I'm pretty OK with that, because I do want Truth, and I believe that if I seek I will find.
      I am definitely taking the walk away from the "package" I bought years ago, but not from God. The way I phrase it is that "I've left Christianity to seek Jesus."
      annnd... I wrote more here than I intended to, as I'm planning another post. So, you'll probably see a lot of this on the next post too :0)