Hard answers

     When Habakkuk poured out his heart to God I wonder what his expectations might have been.  Did he hope for a specific answer from God or simply any answer at all?  The answer he received was a doozy.  It was a hard to swallow answer.  God told him he was going to allow Judah to be turned over to the Babylonians.   History, as well as the bible, tells us how cruel and violent the Babylonians were.  I don’t think this was the answer Habakkuk was hoping for.  I feel his pain.

     I have had many answers to prayer that I haven’t liked because they were hard anwers.  The answers have elicited such responses as: “Really God?”, “Are you kidding me?”, and my personal favorite, “Why do I have to do all the changing?” While I haven’t been handed over to any Babylonians, my answers have been a battle. Why? Because when I get an answer I don’t like, it usually means I have to change or give up something.   This essentially was the reason God was allowing the Babylonians to have their way with Judah.  Judah needed to changed their ways and turn their heart back to God.  Habakkuk might not have liked the answer, nor have I, but the answer was necessary.

           I have found a great amount of suffering usually accompanies the hard answers, and as a result we grow into the person God is making us to be.  I know had God not given me some hard answers I would still be stuck in some very painful places.   I thought the pain of the answer might be worse than any current pain I was feeling, and for a while it was.  Once the suffering ended, however, I found I had peace and a healed place.   I have come to understand that is why the hard answers and suffering are necessary.  That can sometimes be the only way we can grow and heal, and ultimately find peace.

             I don’t want to miss a key point in the hard answers and suffering- God’s mercy.  Habakkuk died before he saw an end to the suffering of Judah God was allowing.  That begs the question how did he not give up and curse God?  I think it is because in the midst of the suffering he saw God’s mercy.   The bible doesn’t tell us whether he did or not, but his contemporary Jeremiah wrote this in Lamentations 3:22-23 “The unfailing love of the Lord never ends.  By his mercies we are kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies are new every morning.”     I believe those words with all my heart.  I have seen God’s mercy in the midst of my suffering many, many times.   And that is why I have never given up in the midst of my own hard answers. 

        God might be giving you some hard answers right now.   It is uncomfortable, scary, and hard.  Keep going on your journey, remembering God has a new mercy for you every day, and that the peace and freedom you will find at the end of this road is well worth it

Advertisements

February 9, 2014. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

You say it’s your birthday?

   Today is my birthday.  I am 38 years old.  Here is the truth:  I have had a love/ hate relationship with my birthday for many years now. I have loved it, placed a mountain of lofty expectations on it and ended up heart broken and miserable, expectations unmet. On the flip side, I have hated it. I have wanted nothing to do with it, wising I could skip the whole day.  The day would come and I was heartbroken and miserable.  What I have sought and had trouble finding was balance and truth.  The happy place of no expectation and contentment with what is or whatever will be.

  The truth is I have in the past questioned why I was alive to see another birthday. I have begged God so many times to let me die it is ridiculous.  I have contemplated ways to end my own life, and yet never found the nerve to follow through.  This of course added to my frustration with my birthday.  I would face another feeling unloved, unimportant, with no real purpose.  I would feel like no one, with the exception of parents and grandparents, cared that it was my birthday and that I was still here to celebrate it.  That is where expectation came in to play in the game. I wanted to feel loved. I wanted to feel like I was important. I wanted to feel like someone cared I was here.  And when they didn’t? The hatred and disdain for another birthday.  More honestly, hatred and disdain for myself. 

Today I am 38.  I started telling myself the truth about yet another birthday a week ago.   The truth of I am loved, and I am accepted.  The truth is there are people (who aren’t my grandparents or parents) who care that I am alive to see another birthday.   The truth is God still has a purpose for me and that is why I am still here.  The truth is I will no longer put any expectation on my birthday, nor will I hate it.  I can simply enjoy it for what it is.  A day to celebrate my life and all the blessings it holds.

               My love/hate relationship with my birthday ends today.  I am going to enjoy each moment for what it is, and be grateful for it.  Life is too short for anything less or more than that.

                           “You say it’s your birthday….it’s my birthday too.” –Sixteen Candles

February 3, 2014. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Habakkuk and Anger

                     Habakkuk paced the floor of his watch tower.  Arms crossed, brow furrowed, one finger tapping his lip.  Destruction, violence, fighting, corruption in the government, and perversion was running rampant.    The law God had previously laid down was useless and paralyzed.   God seemed oblivious, absent.    Why wasn’t God intervening?  Surely God, being all seeing and all knowing, was aware of it all.  Habakkuk could stand it no longer.   The anger and questions in his heart began to spew forth in verbal prayer to his God.  “Don’t you see God!? How long must I cry for help? But you do not listen?  The wicked outnumber the righteous!”   Sound familiar?

                      The things going on in our world today seem very similar to what Habakkuk described in his day.  Violence is abundant – murder, child abuse, children being killed in schools, corruption in the government, and the law seems useless sometimes.   God seems absent.   Do we have right to be angry and question God? Absolutely.    What do we do with our questions and our anger?   Like Habakkuk did, we take it to God.

                       I will never forget the session in which my therapist told me to take my anger and my questions to God.  I believe I looked at him and said “What?”  It was my belief that I could pray to God, but showing him my anger and questions was not allowed.  My therapist told me “God can handle it Mindy. In fact, God is the only one who can truly handle it. He’s a big man; he can take whatever you want to give him. You have to take it to him.”   So I did, I took all my anger and all my questions to God.  I told him all about what I thought was unfair in my situation, what I hated, I asked why, I screamed, I cried,  I told him I hated what he was making me suffer. I let it all out, not all at once, but every time the emotions and anger would begin to overwhelm me I let it all out to God.

                     God created us in his image, which means he created us to have a myriad of emotions including anger, and he created us to have questions.   He wants us to bring it all to him.  His word tells us to bring it to him in Lamentations 3:18-19:  “Cry aloud before the Lord, O walls of Jerusalem! Let your tears flow like a river. Give yourselves no rest from weeping day or night.  Rise during the night and cry out.  Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord.”   If you pour water out of a pitcher you pour till it is empty.  God wants the same thing from us. To pour out our hearts till they are empty of all our tears, anger, questions, and all that is in there.

                      A relationship with God means being real, and in order to be real we have to give him our anger and questions too.   Habakkuk got real with God, I got real with God.   Will you get real with God?  Take your heart with all your questions and anger, whether they are about the state of our world today or a situation in your own life, and pour it out to God.   He can take it.

                       

 

          

January 16, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.