When these words first sunk in, they were liberating for me.
I was taught that we should always be reverent toward God because, well…He’s GOD.
We make requests – respectfully.
And we thank Him.
No yelling or complaining or whining or blaming – that would be DISrespectful.
But I’ve realized my holding back in prayer was the equivalent of holding my hands over my face like a little kid playing hide and seek who thinks nobody can see him because his face is covered up.
There’s no authentic relationship when there’s holding back.
Telling God everything – expressing bitterness, revealing and exploring doubt and even angrily listing for Him all the reasons something isn’t fair – was strange at first.
I tell God everything I’m thinking and feeling. He can take it. Because He’s GOD. Besides, He already knows what I’m really thinking anyway. Sometimes even when I don’t. Sometimes I discover what I’m really thinking and feeling when I’m right in the middle of telling Him.
“The heart of man plans his way,
but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)
I can pray and ask God for what I want and/or think I need to achieve my goals, but in the end, He is all-knowing and all-powerful. I either trust His sovereignty in EVERY situation or I don’t.
No middle ground.
He knows what is best and He has the power to make ANYthing happen.
When I live grounded in that awareness, disappointment doesn’t form a pit in my stomach like it does when my mind is relentlessly plagued with multiple scenarios of “what ifs.” I know my current situation is a result of God’s providence.
Sometimes, my disappointments are actually His protection, preparation or redirection.
When I COMMIT my will to Him and GENUINELY trust Him to lead me in His way,
“One bold message in the Book of Job is that you can say anything to God.
Throw at him your grief, your anger, your doubt, your bitterness, your betrayal, your disappointment— he can absorb them all.
As often as not, spiritual giants of the Bible are shown contending with God.
They prefer to go away limping, like Jacob, rather than to shut God out.
In this respect, the Bible prefigures a tenet of modern psychology: you can’t really deny your feelings or make them disappear, so you might as well express them. God can deal with every human response save one. He cannot abide the response I fall back on instinctively: an attempt to ignore him or treat him as though he does not exist.