Several years ago I was struggling, and I just wanted it to go away. I was mad that this was happening to me and mad at my role in it.
I remember going for a walk/jog early one morning while John and the boys were still asleep. I talked to God during my walks, a.k.a. prayed, and at the point in my walk where I was furthest from my house I broke down crying. I’d been praying “God, please help me X” and “God, will you just X” and I just became exhausted wanting God to fix this. Certainly some of you out there have been there.
In my frustration and exhaustion and exasperation I broke down in tears and I cried out in my spirit,” GOD! Make it go away!”
And He said, “No.”
He wasn’t mean. He was calm and loving, but He said no, and I just cried even more. He said no, that I was stay where I was resist, I was to stand up and stand firm and grow stronger. It’s not going to go away, you’re gonna have to deal with it.
Argh, that’s not what I wanted to hear or not what I wanted to do.
Fast forward three years. I was walking last night, in the cool of the day, and once again expressing frustration to God over situations and wanting to know what to do and wanting to feel better … and I just reached the same point again. “God,” I cried out in my heart, “make it go away!”
I heard crickets chirping, both literally because it was evening but also on the line between me and God. He doesn’t need to say anything else. I am like the child who has been told multiple times to go put their shoes on or to brush their teeth but has yet to do it. If you’re a parent, certainly you’ve said to your kids, “I’m not gonna tell you again, I’ve already told you X-number of times, now just go do what I told you to do.”
A word from my reading this morning in Lord, Heal My Hurts: A Devotional Study on God’s Care and Deliverance:
“Living in unwavering obedience to truth, no matter how you feel, is the key to victory over any problem. Mental assent is not enough, you must do what God says you are to do.”
What is it about obedience that is so hard? I learn a lot about God and my relationship with Him from my parenting relationship with my sons. Finn doesn’t like to brush his teeth, and he starts crying at the mere mention of it. He tries to find shortcuts to not have to brush his teeth, and everything he tries just ends up making it take longer. There’s a spiritual lesson there, to be sure, that disobedience and shortcuts only make it take even longer.
I get frustrated with Finn over this issue and I scream inside, “Why doesn’t he just do it and get it done?”
Do you think God ever thinks that of us? Why doesn’t she just do it already?
Finn doesn’t “just do it” with brushing his teeth because he finds it unpleasant. The brushing, the taste of the paste, the water — he doesn’t like any of it.
He also doesn’t want to sacrifice the time away from something else, especially to do something He finds unpleasant. He doesn’t see value in brushing his teeth, even though I tell him about germs and bad breath and cavities, etc. He also probably doesn’t believe me when I say his teeth might develop severe problems or fall out.
Are those not the same reasons we try to use with God when we don’t want to obey? We sometimes find obeying God unpleasant. We don’t to sacrifice our time or our wants, especially if it’s unpleasant. Maybe we don’t see the value in it, but God does. Or maybe we don’t believe God when He says something is for our best, even when we can’t see it.
I woke up the other morning singing the chorus of the hymn Trust and Obey:
Trust and Obey
for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus
than to trust and obey
You’ll be I’ll be miserable without those two things — trust and obedience.