When doubt is bolder than prayer.
Sometimes I wish our relationship with God was more tangible. I wish we had a physical, with-flesh-on Jesus that we could cling to when we hurt, be held when we're feeling broken, laugh with when we're happy, one that we could physically talk to and always get an immediate response, audibly. Sometimes I wish that faith was easier, that hearing from Him was effortless, and that carving out that sacred time to nestle into the Bible was more simple than breathing. Yet here we are, living in a broken world, sometimes screaming at the top of our lungs "WHERE ARE YOU, JESUS?" I know that we can talk to Him whenever we choose to, and we technically can be held and comforted and restored. But these things require faith, and sometimes when I'm hurting the most, my faith is greatly lacking.
I wrestle with big doubt and big questions, and I skim over small answers and small solutions. I want to have everything sorted out, and yet I shove everything haphazardly into a hodge podge of boxes because the sorting hurts sometimes. I question whether I'm even allowed to say the things I feel because it can seem uncomfortable to people, though I know I'm not the only one who feels the way I do.
If I'm being completely honest, I struggle with my prayer life. I pray about my day, my husband, family and friends, co-workers, our business, church and politics and the world. I pray for strangers and natural disasters. I pray for silly things like parking spots and big things like hungry children. The second I think about praying for the strongest desire of my heart, my throat dries up like the desert I feel I'm walking in and there are no words left to be spoken. I have laid this desire at the cross and I don't want to pick it back up again, and somehow praying about it makes me feel like I'm asking for control again. I know that isn't how it works, but without flesh-on Jesus sitting on my sofa with a cup of coffee telling me how it is, it's easy to insert my own ideas on the matter.
I have friends reaching out to me who have heard from God, lifting me up and encouraging me. Friends who are consistently devoted to praying for the desire I can't bring myself to drag back to Jesus. Side note: get you these kinds of friends - the precious spiritual fighters - I love you dearly. Last week, one of these warrior women spoke all kinds of life into my soul, and encouraged me - reminding me that prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue, and she knew God has something sweet for my heart.
Friends, I got down on my knees that day and planted my face to the floor - something I've only done once before and felt foolish thinking about. I entered the posture of complete surrender and sacrifice in the presence of God, and I wept my prayer. That's the beautiful thing about our sweet God, He can hear every word we cannot articulate. Hebrews 4 again kept being stirred up in my heart, and I told God "You already asked me to write about these verses, what on Earth am I missing? What are you saying to me?" And then I heard with an appropriate amount of sass "but did ya get to the end?". No. No I hadn't, because I found what I thought I was looking for and got excited. When you feel Jesus speaking to you, it's easy to stop Him before He's finished. It's not something that's meant to be done out of disrespect, but rather excitement. How I wish I would have been still a moment longer to hear His completion.
I immediately grab my Bible, sure that I had probably read to the end and was going to re-read a chapter He had brought to me a few weeks ago. I was discouraged, wanting something flashy and new and that big light bulb ah-ha moment, sure I wasn't going to make sense of anything He was showing me. I don't know why I doubt God the way I do, but it's too easy for me to channel my inner teenager and want to roll my eyes and sigh (loudly). I had just laid my heart out about something I am sore from breathing out, and I felt God had something old and heartbreaking in mind. I raise my eyebrows at my own self now and think how silly it is, but I'm just being super open here. I have an attitude, Jesus is working on it with me.
Hebrews 4:16, the very last verse of the chapter says this: "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most".
|Mackenzie Lyn Photography|
God gave me this beautiful reminder that I am permitted to come boldly before the throne with my desires, my dreams, my plans, my expectations, my identity crisis, my brokenness, my hurts, my frustrations, my love, my joy, my effort, my striving, my heartache, my tears, my laughter. He loves us so much more than we will ever understand. How precious is our Father. A huge part of me feels relieved that He took the time to invite me to sit down with Him when I've tried to keep a tidy distance with my desires. But God wants all of us - every broken bit, every scrambled and messy prayer, every tear and heartache and desire that hurts to touch. God wants our trust, knowing that He can handle every detail, every doubt, every attempt at distance. He just wants us to know we can come to Him, and when we do? What sweet whispers He gives us! Sermons, songs, friends, prayers from others, Scripture - He speaks to us in so many ways. I may still really wish I had flesh-on Jesus to sit on my porch and chat with, but God is more creative than we know, and He has different ways to speak right to our souls. Keep following, friends, even in your doubt and struggle. There's nothing God doesn't know, so lay it at His feet. He'll tell you what you can pick back up again - the beauty is that He shoulders the burden and you end up thinking you're doing the heavy lifting. He's gracious like that.