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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Learning to Be Honest with God

In review of Lamentations 3:4-6, 8 it says, “He has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones. He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress. He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead .… And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers.”

Bottom Line:
It seems God has allowed problems; he seems to have surrounded me with hardships and trouble, leaving me alone in the dark. Even though I cry and pray for help, he seems to have shut off my requests.

What this means to me:
At times it can seem things are all going against me. Troubles and problems come, my goals seem to get blocked and delayed. It even seems my attempts to pray have not provide me with any immediate relief or signs of changing.

I think we all go through a time when life seems to be falling apart. Health can take a turn for the worse, money and jobs can be easily lost, relationships go wrong, and it seems we may never reach our dreams or goals.

When this happens, it tempting to think that God has abandoned me. But he hasn't.

The prophet Jeremiah was in the same boat when he wrote the book of Lamentations. His country, Judah, endured an economic tailspin and was terrorized by a foreign enemy. He witnessed incredible inhumanities committed against his people. People were out of work and starving to death.

So Jeremiah started by telling God how he felt. In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah says: “He [God] has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones. He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress. He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead .… And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers” (NLT).

This verse is somewhat surprising. Jeremiah had felt that God had forgotten him. But Jeremiah didn't ignore what he was feeling. He didn't sugarcoat the situation. He told God what was on his heart. In fact, Jeremiah spent five chapters telling God what he thought about the situation. In essence he told God, “This stinks!”

I think this passage of complaining and hopelessness is here to let me know that it is ok to let God know about my anger, gripes, and grief. Jeremiah spends this entire book, blowing off steam. What this teaches me is that If God was big enough to handle Jeremiah’s pain, he’s big enough to handle mine as well.

So, If I swallow my emotions, and I’ll just end up hurting myself.  Instead, I need to learn to unload them on God.

God doesn't love me any less when I throw a temper tantrum. However, He is never afraid of what I have to say. So I shouldn't be afraid to tell him. Telling him how I feel can actually be the beginning of the healing process.

One thing I can do is write out a letter to God about what I’m struggling with. Writing it out can help to sort out and clarify my thoughts. Just listing it out often helps me with my perspective. I just need to be completely honest with God on how I’m feeling. Then as I look to His Word, I can see the promises he provides and even how he has come through for me in the past. I can gain new perspective on my situation and what he might be doing in and through the situation.

Lamentations chapter 3 seems to center on learning how to put my hope in God’s Faithfulness, even when things don’t seem to be going my way. In reality however, it is my own rebellion that  often leads me down the wrong path resulting in actions and outcomes I don’t like. Also, just because I have accepted Christ as my leader doesn't mean that I will never face difficulties or experience undeserved oppression. It is important for me to focus and put my hope in God. God is faithful and will never turn his back on me. What I need to learn and appreciate is that he does things in his timing, not mine. His timing will always be for my best interests. So it is best for me to wait in patience knowing his faithfulness and love will provide what I need.

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