How much of what you say do you really mean? Most days I manage to talk a good talk, but I wonder, how much do I truly mean? Let me give you some personal examples:
I say: “Sure, I’d love to be there, can’t wait!”
I think: “Ugh! How can I get out of this?”
I say: “That sounds awesome, y’all have fun!”
I think: “Why didn’t I get invited? I thought we were friends.”
(Yes, I do realize these two example are in direct juxtaposition to each other, but they have both been realities of my life…many, many times!)
Surely men can relate, right? For example:
You say: “Yes honey, you look amazing!”
You think: “You look okay, now hurry up we need to go!”
Sad to say, but I know I tend to do this with God too!
I say: “I trust you…”
I think: “…but I’ll go ahead and handle it my way.”
I say: “Thy will be done.”
I think: “Except if it’s something bad because I don’t want that!”
I say: “Thank you for the struggles that force me to look to you, and to depend on you.”
I think: “Okay, can you make them stop now??? (Pretty please with a cherry on top!)”
I know this tends to be human nature and we all do this. I think when it’s with people, we are trying to spare hurt feelings. With God we try to hold on to our perceived sense of control. You know what though? God desires such a close relationship with us that He can handle our brutal honesty. He wants it even! It’s a lot like earthly parents and children…as tough as it might be to hear and process, we want our children to be honest with us. After all, how are we to help them learn and grow and keep them safe if they don’t tell us exactly how they are feeling?
When I think about brutal honesty with God, I’m reminded of the psalmist David:
How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions!
Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly. (Psalm 35: 17-18a)
Does it seem to anyone else like David is testing God? It’s like David is saying, “Hey, wake up God and get down here and save me! THEN, I will praise you.” Talk about honesty…it seems David feels that God is distant and not in control of the situation (haha, right!), and that God needs to march Himself down to earth and rescue David, pronto! Then David will praise Him. That’s pretty brazen if you ask me! But guess what, I am so guilty of the exact same thing! For me it usually goes a little like this: “Father, why this? Why me? If you… then I…” Can you relate?
How about Psalm 38 for honesty?! David admits that he has sinned greatly, but also states that God’s “arrows have struck deep, and your blows are crushing me. Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins.” (vs. 2-3) Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like David is blaming God for his own choice to sin, and the subsequent results. In verse 8, David continues his honesty, admitting that “I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart.” (Hey, I think I’ve felt that too!) In verses 21-22 David writes, “Do not abandon me, O Lord. Do not stand at a distance, my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior.” I think I’ve also prayed something along these lines. Through David’s heartfelt honesty, I find comfort. I can relate to his pain, and after all, David was a man after God’s own heart, so maybe I can be a woman after God’s heart! Wow, how amazing is that?!!!
I’ll do one even better. How about when Jesus was hanging on the cross and He said “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) In that moment, Jesus shows us how we can be brutally honest with God. Jesus shows us it is okay to question God’s presence in the midst of our suffering. Boy, have I done this lately! How about you? What is that thing you are struggling with? That thing perhaps you feel you cannot be honest with God about. Is it a hurt? Anger? Worry? Fear? Sickness? Loss of job?
Could I challenge you with this thought?…God already knows. He knows the pain you are in, He knows every tear, every ounce of anger…all of it! Maybe He’s just waiting for you to be truly honest with Him so that He can rescue you.
Father, help us to remember you are the great creator of all. You are the alpha and the omega. There’s not a thing that happens on this earth that you do not already know about. There’s not a feeling or thought we have that you do not already know. Help us remember we can come to you with our brutal honesty in the midst of our storms. May knowing that you are in control of all, bring us great comfort and peace as we rest in your loving care. Amen.