Confession time. I didn’t go to church this past Sunday. I told my husband I wasn’t feeling good, and while that wasn’t a lie, the reason I wasn’t feeling good was because I was mad at God.
While being transparent about personal struggles of faith and obedience has never been difficult. Today I’d like to simply say that I have been going through a challenge with one of my children, which was causing me to feel angry that I had to go through this personal pain. I felt like God had either not heard my prayers or that He was testing me. Not feeling up to the test, and certainly not feeling that what was being handed to me was “fair”, I also grew resentful of others in my circle of friends who didn’t have the challenges with their kids like I had.
Truly, I was just an ugly mess of anger, depression and self pity. I went back to bed and pulled the covers over my head and wept. It was in that moment I truly felt like a child who was in need of a parent’s wisdom, love and compassion. But at the same time, not having anyone else to project my anger towards, I became angry at God, my Heavenly Father.
My internal voice probably sounds familiar to most of you, “I’m not strong enough to deal with this!”
Yes, I was angry and hurt and I sincerely doubted God’s plan in all of this pain. I didn’t feel like I could handle anymore. I didn’t feel strong enough…or wise enough. It wasn’t fair!
I laid in bed for awhile. Not really praying, but eyes closed and just being still. In the minutes that followed I felt a sense of peace come over me. I had gotten out the pain that I had been holding deeply in my heart, and finally it was out there for me and God to deal with. Maybe that’s one reason that prayer is so necessary to our relationship with God. He obviously knows what’s in the very depths of our hearts, but when we struggle to bring those things out, they become areas where healing can then take place.
There was a healing that took place that morning. It wasn’t obvious to anyone else but me. I had what amounted to an adult tantrum in front of God’s holy throne. And instead of Him striking me down with lightning, which I know He could have easily done, both physically and metaphorically, I felt embraced. All of a sudden I felt as though my thoughts became clearer and there was empathy, compassion and love. A renewed strength came over me, and I was reminded that God has faith in me– way more faith than I have in myself.
Wait. God has faith in ME?
One of my favorite Bible stories is that of Gideon. It’s a perfect example of how the Lord used a regular guy to do amazing things! When Gideon doubted God, God didn’t give up on him. He stood beside him and He stood firm in His plan to deliver Israel. But Gideon had to wrestle with that supernatural idea that out of everyone else available to help deliver Israel, God chose him!
(Judges 6:11-16) Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
When we see our own kids struggling with personal issues which they perceive to be too big to handle, or if they ever feel their prayers are not being heard, and these things are causing them doubt and anger towards God, it’s a good time to share with them that we all struggle with the same types of doubt, fear and anger. Mostly because we don’t have faith that God will give us what it takes to get through a particular situation. Remind them that while we are to have faith in God, God also has faith in us, and like Gideon who doubted God’s plan because he knew his own limitations, God has no limitations. He will provide what we need to get through whatever it is we face.
Have you ever felt abandoned by God? How did you get back from those moments of doubt and frustration?
Lisa Strnad is a weekly contributing writer/blogger to What’s in the Bible? and Jelly Telly. She has been a homeschooling mom of two, who works independently in Christian media in the areas of writing, promotions and marketing. She lives with her husband and children in Nashville,TN. Follow her personal blog posts on Talking Like A Girl.