Trusting God is dangerous business! I say I do, but do I really? This section of the workbook explores this concept. I must warn you though, its long. It will take more than a week to work through it all. I will probably not post about each heading in this section and instead, focus on the main points and those that impact me the most.
Dr Crabb asks the question., "How do you handle the pain after the bottom falls out, when the second shoe drops moments after the first, when nothing goes your way and you have no idea why?'
This question is easy to answer. I block it. I compartmentalize it. When crack appears in my soul, I spread some spiritual bondo and slap some feel good paint on it until I stop thinking about it. Ignore it long enough and it will pass. Stay strong, move on. Man up......maybe if we are super spiritual, we go on a retreat, get some counseling, read a book. But nothing relieves the pain.
I think this is typical of most men. We internalize. It consumes us over the years. We refuse to let it out for fear we will be seen as weak by our wives and friends. Is this healthy? If I live differently, will my life be any easier?
Dr. Crabb asks, "In our struggle to handle the pain of shattered dreams, however one question is rarely talked about with honesty.....The question is this: What do we do with how we are feeling toward God? What we want is good; its not selfish. Why won't God let us have it?......Why is God so inconsistent, so maddeninly unpredictable? Why? Suffering seems so random; one dream realized, another shattered"
As I reflect on those words, I realize over the years I have wondered these very same things about God. Why some are healed and others die. Why some prosper and others struggle. War, starvation, persecution. Why God?
The psalmist David wondered aloud many of these same thoughts and feelings. Don't believe me, read Psalms 10:1. He says, "Lord, why do you stand so far away from me. Why do you hide when I need you most?" For further reading, look at Psalms 13:1-2, 22:1, 43:2, 69:2-3, 88:14. All say the same. And yet David was a man after God's own heart. I have often wondered why David could be so vocal about his doubt and be counted as being after God's own heart. After all, God hates doubt.
I think its because he embraced passion. When he was hurting, he expressed with passion. He held nothing back from God. When things were going his way, he gave thanks with passion. He gave God the glory. He kept none for himself. David did not internalize his feelings, he wore them on his sleeve. Not so people could see how happy or sad he was, but that his God would know he was being genuine. David's agenda was to know God. Knowing God means God knowing you. The good, the bad and the ugly. David lived with passion for all to see.
Our pain is ugly. Papa wants to bear it. Our suffering is hard. He wants to carry us during the suffering. But there is a problem, I don't/won't give it to Him. He is standing ready to hold me, to heal me, to carry me through life's storms and shattered dreams and I insist on holding it in. Of carrying my own burdens. I am man enough to handle this. I am sufficient in myself. God is my blessing vending machine and when the machine won't dispense the way I need or want it to, then I have to handle things on my own despite the crushing debt of stress, worry and doubt I must shoulder to do so.
As I write these words, the absurdity of them strikes me at the core of who I am....or who I think I am. In reality, without Him I can do nothing.
Papa, today I realize I am nothing without you. You complete me. I ask you to fill me. To overflowing with your love, your power, your grace and your joy. Help me each day to remember to invite you to every thing. To breakfast, lunch and dinner. To each task, to each conversation. Let your Spirit seep into every pore and fiber of my being.
A little blast from the past for your listening pleasure.