*sigh.

6 08 2012

I so badly just want to scream.

Do you ever have those moments? Out of just…
pure anguish.
Frustration.

I do not understand what God is doing. I do not understand why there is not clarity.
I know reasons that people will give me,
but I don’t think I agree with them.

I’m always told if I’m not pursuing Christ and doing my daily devotions and reading scripture
and donning all these things, then there is a reason why
things seem so unclear.

God spoke to Jonah while he was chillin’ in the belly of a whale.
Jonah was relentlessly seeking God that whole time.
running like hell away from Him!

But the Lord still pursued Him….

If anything,
I hope my heart will find that little hope and
cling to it in a real way…

and not out of fear.

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5 responses

6 08 2012
Kate S

Dear Dre,
I don’t know all that you’re going through, all that you’re struggling with, but I can relate to your search for answers. When I was younger I thought that I had all the answers…. I would read the Word and think “it says God is good, sovereign, all-powerful and holy… check, got it, no problem. Why do people struggle with this?” But then some hard things happened…. excruciating events that I would not wish on anyone. Yes, I have felt like screaming from frustration, grief and anguish. I would read the Word and think, “it says all these things, but I don’t know if I believe all of it.”

Thankfully I had some really wise counselors (Darcie and others) who pointed me to the truth, who searched the scriptures with me, and prayed for me. Eventually I came to the point where I could truly say: God, You are sovereign, You are all-powerful, You are good, and You are holy. I don’t write this so that you’ll think I’m “all that and bag of chips” but so that you’ll know that I’m just a fellow traveler in the way and I’ve also had to wrestle with my own doubts and issues.

I definitely don’t have all the answers… but I know where they are hidden. The Christian life is hard work, we can’t just drift along. We have to study the word and pray even (or especially) when things are hard or we don’t feel like it. Twice Paul writes “don’t lose heart in doing good” (Gal 6:9 & 2 Thes 3:13) there’s a reason… because it’s easy to lose heart in this fight we’re in. Many times in the New Testament the Christian life is referred to using battle imagery or sports analogies (Eph 6:10-17; I Cor. 9:24-27; I Tim 6:12; II Tim 2:3-5; 4:7; Heb 12:1-2) …. because it’s not going to be easy to follow Jesus. The world, our flesh, and even our own hearts (Jer 17:9) try to deceive us. We need to be in the word so that we can recognize and counteract that deceit.

Some thoughts on Jonah…. it’s pretty clear he was disobedient to God. He went in the exact opposite direction that God wanted him to go. And yes, the Lord grabbed hold of him, but (from my cursory reading anyway, maybe a bible scholar would disagree with me) it looks like God did not talk to Jonah while he was in the belly of the whale. In Jonah 1:17 we read that God sent a fish to swallow Jonah (yuck!) and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish 3 days and nights. Then starting in 2:1 Jonah prayed to God and repented, and the Lord told the fish to vomit Jonah on dry land (double yuck!). To me, it looks like God didn’t speak to Jonah until after he had repented, was out of the fish, and ready to obey God…. He may have spoken to Jonah in the belly of the whale, but the bible doesn’t tell us that He did.

Also, I would like to say that while we don’t know what the end of Jonah’s life was like, the book of Jonah doesn’t have a happy ending. God is rebuking Jonah for his lack of love for the people of Nineveh. We aren’t told if Jonah repented of his lack of love or if he continued in his sin.

Ok, this is long… I did not mean for my comment to be this long, but if I could say one last thing….. Psalm 119 was written by someone who had an amazingly close relationship with the Lord. Over and over again he talks about how much he loves the word (verses 10,11, 18, 35, 47, 72, 97, 129, 159, 165 and many more) even in hard times, he talks about how much joy the word of the Lord brings to him (see verses 14, 25, 20, 40, 42, 50, 67, 92, 93, 143 for just a few examples). Read Psalm 119 and my prayer is that you will be encouraged and find the answers that you seek.
Love,
Kate

7 08 2012
drebee

Thanks Kate for your input, but I think the act of Jonah being swallowed by a whale was God speaking to him.

8 08 2012
Kate S

Dear Dre,
Reading through your last couple of blog posts, I think I see that your hearts’ desire is close communion with God. Which is a great, wonderful, and amazing desire. I think it’s something that all Christians want, I know that it’s one of my hearts greatest desires. I look at people in the Bible like Abraham (God made amazing promises to him), Moses (He saw God’s glory!!), the disciples who ministered with Jesus, Paul (he saw Jesus), and so many others. Their communion with God was sweet and brought comfort to their souls. That’s why I’m puzzled as to why you chose Jonah as your example. Jonah was disobedient to God and God dealt harshly with him…. None of the interactions between God and Jonah in the book are sweet or comforting.

Let’s take a step back. Imagine the end of your life has come and you are now standing in the presence of God. Angels are singing “holy, holy, holy” and we have fallen on our face because we are in the presence of the Almighty God. What would be the best thing we could hear from God? To me it would be “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt 25:21). Really there can be nothing sweeter or more comforting than that. That is our highest goal. To serve God in this life and to be found faithful by Him.

I think that if we are striving towards this goal… God speaks to us clearly through His word, we have communion with Him, and we feel His peace and joy.

Another thing I know from my own personal experience is we can feel the love of God when we are around our fellow believers. There was a time, when I felt completely alone and I cried out to God “where are You?! I don’t feel Your love at all. I need to feel something from You.” The very next day (like not even 24 hours later) as I was seeking counsel from an older couple about a situation I was in, their love for me, because of our relationship in Christ was so evident…. It was as if I could reach out and touch the love of Christ. I really cannot do it justice with words, except to say that it was amazing and an answer to prayer.

My prayer is that your experience with God would be like David’s (who was a man after God’s own heart) and not like Jonah’s.
Love,
Kate

16 08 2012
Scott J

Hi Dre – I love your honesty and transparency. My best and clearest answers come when I am brutally honest with God. I too have felt what you are feeling – and so did David -Psalm 13

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?”…and he goes on…
“How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”

…but in the end he proclaims…

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”

I love that David lays it out – and then, I believe, reminds himself what he knows. Not what he feels, or where he is at the time – but what he thinks.

The older I get – my belief is changing to – it is all about God’s grace, and my faith in that, my trust/faith in that is more important than anything. Even my behavior.

Blessings on you Dre. Thank you for baring your soul. Oh…by the way…I may have chosen Jonah also – because even though I want to be an Abraham and a David – I act more like a Jonah.

16 08 2012
drebee

haha, :) Thank you Scott. I do love that in most of David’s darkest moments and raw honesty, He always turns his hope back to the Lord. Sometimes that seems impossible, but it’s all a part of the journey I suppose… I call it ‘growing pains’. :) Learning to do just those things, trust when I feel like I have nothing left in me, and learning to still allow praises to flow from my lips when I want to do everything else that’s opposite.

hope you and and your family are doing well!

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