Hello, everyone. This blog has moved to JOHNVOELZ.COM!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Prayer Posts and Prayer Dares #6

This post flows better out of the previous post . . . so you know . . .

Right after Jeremiah pours out his heart—and his angst——he gets back to work. I picture him letting out a huge sigh as if to say, “there God, I said what I had to say.” And God replies, “Yeah, I hear you. I know how it is to be laughed at. I know how it is to feel betrayed. I know you can’t take too much before you melt down. It’s okay. I made you. I know.

The last thing I learned about God and honesty and prayer in this passage is:

  • You won’t always get the “answers” but you may get a whole new perspective

Jeremiah goes back to work. He realizes that God never ever said his job would be painless. I think the pain he expressed to God gave him a much greater perspective than if he had said a few “hail Marys.” I think He learned something about God’s faithfulness in the way God handled his honesty. I think the pain gave him a greater awareness of what it must be like to experience pain without God holding your hand. I think the honesty helped him move on.

I once talked to a friend a few weeks before she went to be with God. She had cancer. Two little girls. Beautiful. Every time I ran into her though, she had a smile.

One day, I cornered her at church. I asked her if she ever said, “this sucks!” to God. “Do you ever shut your door and scream? Have you ever given God the finger? Or, is this otherworldly glow you have something you experience all the time?”

She broke down a bit and shared with me that she felt a freedom to address God with all her anger based on how He handled honest prayers in the Bible. We talked about the King David (you should read his rants!) and his honesty. We talked about Jeremiah. And, we saw a pattern with these guys. We saw anger and disappointment, then a prayer of absolute pain and an honest cry, and then we saw a pause—a reflection, and finally, new perspective.

Mary told me the Psalms encouraged her to be honest and they gave her perspective when fighting her cancer. But, the difference between Mary and I at that moment was that she had a real clear perspective that only came through pain.

I want the perspective, but not the pain.

I’ve learned a lot about God by watching my kids. I remember when I taught my son to pray. He was about 3 or 4 years old and I used to kneel by his bed every night and pray with him. One night, I asked him if he wanted to pray alone. He said he didn’t know how but, knowing that prayer was something like “just talking with God” he said he would try.

I walked out of the room and stood around the corner waiting—the proud father. A minute went by and then I heard him say “Hi, God.” That was it. Simple. I went into the other room and cried like a baby. My son taught me something about connecting with God that I was missing. Honesty. Simplicity. That was the end of my sanitized prayers. I had been ripping—off God and myself with my dishonesty.

I do believe in hope. In peace. In joy. I believe one can have all those in the midst of madness. And, I have experienced it. Real joy. Not a fake Jesus smile--a supernatural perspective in the midst of things I can't understand.

My hope and prayer is for me and you, that we will be honest with God when the pain comes. We will tell him everything—unsanitized and messy as it is. Then, we will pray, “what can I learn? What new perspective can you give me? How can I use my pain to help others on this long, strange trip.

Dare : : : Take out a piece of paper and write "God can handle it" at the top. Make a list of the things that seem unbearable and/or "unspeakable" to you. Hide the list somewhere. Take it out and look at it this time next year.

blog comments powered by Disqus