I can’t quite express how paralyzing it is to think you are the only one who has a hard time hearing God, or a hard time believing in Him in the middle of hurt, or a hard time trusting His promises, or a hard time turning to Him over tv / distraction / etc. I will spend hours, days, weeks, months, heck… I have spent most of this year wondering why I don’t measure up to the testimony and sermons I hear over and over again. “I must not be a real christian, I must have made this all up”…these are my worst fears and the devil has them playing on loop in my mind as I watch people raise their hands at church like they haven’t a care in the world. I do have cares in this world. I do have heaviness. I do have pain. And I do have a really really hard time relating to the Lord in this season. And just because emotional healing is a real thing, doesn’t mean that I am not a “good” believer or “truly saved” if I am hurting. Jesus weeps with me, even if the Church won’t. Why is the Church so afraid to acknowledge and sit with us in our pain?
Because I’ve found sometimes my hope looks less like shouting a worship anthem with my hands up, and more like a flickering flame that refuses to go out. It’s barely there, but it is there. Hope persists. Hope endures. By its very nature, hope is gritty and stubborn. Why even bother to pretend otherwise? I need to have a place where we can talk honestly about these things. Don’t you?
Do I believe it should be easier to hear God, and that if I pursued Him more it probably would be? Sure, I guess. But that’s not helpful to hear when I’m aching for Him. Don’t tell me how I can work harder or perform better to find Him. Please don’t give me a quick-fix how-to guide to getting myself back on track. And please don’t throw accusations of sin or idolatry in my face, making it “my mess” to clean up. Those messages can be so damaging to hurting brothers and sisters. Tell me that He loves me. Tell me that He’s near, right now. Tell me that I can rest at last. Let me rest with you, as an extension and vessel of His love and mercy. Tell me that even if I am shocked by how far I’ve run or how hard my heart has gotten, He is not shocked. He is never surprised. He is not disappointed. He is not rethinking His grace towards me. Tell me that He loves me. Tell me how He loves me. Show me that He loves me. Tell me that I’m not the only one who wanders or runs or becomes hardhearted in the blink of an eye despite every intention not to. And please, someone, tell me what we’re in this together.
Christianity is the most impactful when it is honest. There’s no place for the gospel and no place for God’s unfailing love in the middle of a perfect world. My heart longs for us, the Church, to deeply, reverently acknowledge the pain and heartache that exists among us, and push forward, together, by the strength of God.