It’s so easy to say: “Worship in any circumstance. God is good all the time, even when things don’t go your way.”
Show me the person that’s done this. I’ll talk to them only.
I see in scripture that we are allowed to wrestle and argue with God.
- Jacob wrestles God in Gen 33. “And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.”
- Asaph in Psalm 77 “You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled I cannot speak. I consider the days of old, the years long ago. I said, “Let me remember my song in the night…” Then my spirit made a diligent search: “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? … Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”
- David in Psalm 42 “I say to God, my rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of my enemy?’ As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say continually, ‘Where is your God?”
- Job makes a claim before God that if he had done wrong, he should be punished, but he hasn’t done wrong. Job 31 “Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? Does He not see my ways and number all my steps. If I have walked with falsehood, if my foot hastened to deceit… if my heart has gone after my eyes, then let me sow and another eat and let what grows for me be rooted out. If my heart has been enticed toward another woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door, then let my wife grind for another and let others bow down on her… if I raised my hand against the fatherless, let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder and my arm be broken from it’s socket.”
My dialogue with God.
H: “Why did this happen? I had followed you! I had given up dreams of money in college so that I could teach and help steer kids towards the path of wisdom and love. I laid down my nets and went to Uganda where I taught your word and let go of all my pride and served a nation that needs help. I thought my next call was to serve my country, and the way was paved before me. I failed at nothing during Air Force selection. You granted me grace and strength at every step to not be afraid and to know that I had what it took. I passed swims, pushups, 10 mile hikes, drowning, 6 mile runs, and torture after torture. I never gave up, I never gave in to the voice that told me this wasn’t for me. Everything about being there was confirmed in my heart. Every day I bowed down on my knees in the shower to ask for your continued strength. I preached to my brothers. I started bible studies. I led youth group service and habitat for humanity trips. I was training at the highest levels and loving every minute of the man I was becoming. And then… it was all taken away. You had given me a joy I had never known, and a confidence that was above this planet. I was rising on the heights of the earth ready to serve and protect. And you took it all away. I still have believing brothers in the pipeline, whom you are allowing the work of their dreams. But not me. Why? Are you even there at all, isn’t this just a rat race of the strong survive… and I am the one with weak genetics. And what will I do now that I have wasted three years of my life.”
God: Job 38 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, who determined its measurements – surely you know. Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place. Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness… You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!… Shall a faultfinder contend with the almighty? Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? He who argues with God, let him answer it!”
Job says: “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer.”
Harrison says: … do I believe this much? Why can’t I get an answer.
When words come out because you know in your head what God wants you to say and do, but the heart does not follow. When sadness is your clothing every day. When you can’t get out of bed because the joy of living is not there. Surely it’s easy to say I had an idol. I was putting my hope more in my job than in what God could provide? That’s not entirely true, part of me believes there could and will be something better. Part of me prayed against idolatry like this while I was in. God has given so many good gifts in the past. He has allowed me to have joy unspeakable and to feel the edges of the universe. He has allowed me to overcome depression and addictions. He has enlightened my mind to test and understand the depths of academics and reason. He has increased my ability to love. He has given me courage I never thought I had to run though injured after heart surgery, to swim though afraid for my life, to laugh in the face of danger. Through God’s grace, I am way more than my natural self would have ever been, and my weakness has turned to strength. I rise, and will rise again until this lamb becomes a lion.
But I still don’t understand. And that explains my bitterness, the disconnect in my heart from the joy of life.