I have always been of the mindset that we hold God at arms length. Not unlike how Adam and Eve did after sin broke their relationship with God. He asks us to walk with Him and we, being the unworthy wretches we are, makes excuses and put on a front so we don’t look so obviously wretched. To an all-knowing God. It just doesn’t make sense.
I am so guilty of this very thing.
We are in the middle of trying to sell our home. Stephen and I have put a lot of ourselves into our house, trying to make it a comfortable haven. It needed a lot of TLC when we first moved in. And then more kiddos came, so now we don’t fit in the house really well. So sell we must.
It has been 3 months with 11 showings. That means 11 times where we had to try to make a 3 bedroom house containing 7 people look like the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. 11 feedback reports, none of which say the same thing, but all of which break my heart a little for their inability to understand how great our house really is.
For the past 3 months, my word has been “resting”. I decided to rest in God’s will for us. He will sell it in His time, and it doesn’t pay for me to fret or become impatient because His will is perfect. So, why even bother Him with it daily because He has this. I trust God.
For this last-minute 11th showing, I was frantically trying to get the house together with the help of the kids. Let’s just say, pre-showing cleaning is not my brightest parenting moment. 11 times over. But I was compelled to stop and have a prayer meeting with my kids about this house, specifically asking God to let these people be “the ones”.
We left. They came. Realtor called. “Can they look through again? They really like it.” Yes! God is answering our prayers! Waiting. Feedback. No offer. Back to the drawing board.
And I didn’t think that one little thing could break my heart in two. It is really superficial. I’m supposed to be “resting”. Trusting God to take care of this.There are so many people out in the world going through worse trials than me.
I cried most of the day. My eyes were splotchy and my head hurt for two days after. I wrestled with raw thoughts in those moments. And for once, I let God know exactly what was on my heart with no pretense.
“I’m trying to do the right thing, exercise faith, and it seems like there is no reward or relief, Lord. Why? You know we need this and I don’t ask for frivolous things. I was leaning on you and you let me have a glimmer of hope and then snatched it away.”
That is what I honestly felt. The prodigal son’s brother? I know the struggle.
Did lightning come crashing from the sky? Did I feel the weight of God’s judgment for my lack of understanding and care? For the audacity that I would question what the sovereign Creator had done?
I Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our care on God. Why? Because He cares. And we recite that verse very flippantly to whoever has a burden. We interpret it as, “Give God your needs and He will take care of them.” But the verse says “care.” Do you ever pour out your heart, in its brokenness to God? In it’s wrong thoughts and bitter ache?
Hannah prayed for a child in the “bitterness of soul.” (I Sam. 1:10) She was grieved and heart sick. I don’t think her prayer was full of platitudes. She told God that she was afflicted and felt forgotten. Was she correct? Had God forgotten her? No. And yet, God evidently heard that prayer.
When I revealed my heart to God that day, I felt heard. And I was heard. That is exactly what I needed and God knew it. I let down the wall of false piety in my prayer life and God heard what really was there.
What happened next? He let His Word correct my thinking and mend my heart. It was no coincidence that the evening in question I had to teach a lesson on God’s sovereignty. I didn’t want to, and almost didn’t because I wasn’t feeling it-but I remembered that feelings are not the same as truth. As I taught that lesson to those girls, I knew God was teaching me at the same time. God’s plans are not always easy, but they are always best. He’s not out to give us everything right when we want it like spoiled children, but when we need it.
I walk away from this unfinished trial with this thought: Is our prayer life meant to be superficial? Are we submitting a formal application to God with our confessions and petitions and praise? Or does He want us to cry out in whatever state we are in?
I think He desires a heart cry. The “I have failed again, Lord!” The “You’ve got to do this for me, because I can’t do it anymore.” The bitter weeping over heartache.
When you dwell on the thought, it is almost humorous when we put on heirs for God. He knows our true state. We aren’t fooling Him; we are just trying to make ourselves look good. A totally ungodly posture to have before our Savior. Is He unapproachably holy? Yes. But He has made a way for us to approach Himself through His Son… something Adam and Eve did not have after their sin. And He desires us to draw near to Him without the pretense of fig leaves.