For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
"Your ways are perfect. God, I understand what you are doing and I rejoice knowing you know better and have better for me. I completely trust you. I'm okay."
That's what I'd like to say is what I said to God. Truth is, my prayer went more like this;
"Lord, I feel my heart broken over this outcome. I feel hurt, confused, lost and disappointed. I feel like you led me to have hope just to disappoint me. I don't know why this is happening. I don't know what to pray anymore. God, I feel like You broke my heart."
That's what that morning's devotional time with the Lord looked like.
No rituals. No gimmicks. No perfect religious script. No peaceful perfect picture with a coffee with one hand and Bible in the other. Just raw unprocessed emotions that spewed up from a deep internal place. I had obviously been storing up those emotions for a while. I sat there for a minute. Almost shocked and embarrassed about what I had allowed to come out of my mouth.
No strike of lightning.
No angry voice from heaven in divine disapproval for my unfiltered thoughts.
I wept bitterly, bent over in my seat in the middle of my living room pouring out a build up of emotions honestly before the Lord. This is what happened:
As I sat in my seat, bent over crying with worship music playing in the background, I got this mental picture of the Lord. He came right below to my eye level, kneeling over, facing upwards and embracing me.
Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
I had read this hundreds of times before but more than ever, in that moment, I recognized that I had audience with the Lord and the first thing He did was not to correct me and rebuke me. Like how dare I question Him, how dare I not trust Him or how dare I complain. He first met me with embrace. This was His first response. I could go to Him, with raw emotions and naked radical vulnerability.
There will be times we will need to go into the Lord's presence and throw out the religious script we had prepared. There is an invitation to honesty in prayer and while we may think that it may be too much for God, or not appropriate to discuss, in reality, it invites us into a deeper level of intimacy and friendship with God. We're saying, "God, this is how I really feel and I trust you with this."
Friendship involves trust. Growing up, I would hear the old hymn, What a Friend we Have in Jesus and it honestly never resonated. I didn't yet even know him as a Savior. Years down the line, through amazing highs, achievements and accolades and deep lows with delays, denials, disappointment and failure, I learnt the steadfastness of the Lord. He's the friend that beams with joy and celebration in my successes. He is the friend that is moved by compassion in my greatest weaknesses, failure and pain. He's that friend. And what an absolutely amazing friend we have in Him.
He understands humanity, for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are, and conquered sin.So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness. Hebrews 4:15-16 (The Passion Translation)
We come boldly to where love is enthroned. To where comfort is hidden. To where healing is found. Coming boldly before the Lord, as scripture says on several occasions for me had meant being free from the shame, condemnation or anything that hindered me from going before God.
It's amazing to think that what hinders us from boldly approaching the Lord and engaging in free conversations with Him is not always what we think. What hinders us isn't always we have done wrong, the places we know we have fallen short or the beliefs we have about ourselves. Sometimes the things that hinder us are the beliefs we have about Him. The perceptions of who we think God is. He is too holy and perfect and righteous and to us, sometimes, He is the God that can't handle what we really have to say.
So sometimes we come boldly into the throne of grace, with confidence but with a mask or a script. We go in carrying the weight of disappointment, failure, doubts and go right out with them cause we don't think God can handle them.
But God knows our hearts.
The God of the universe knows everything, sees everything, knows every hair on our heads, knew us in our mother's wombs and yet we hide our most honest thoughts from Him. He knows our hearts and thoughts even when we won't verbally and vulnerably share them with Him.
But truth is, if we can't run to God in radical transparency and strip religious expectations. Who can we run to? Who else has the ability to heal, comfort, deliver, save, forgive?
If I can't go to God with everything then who can I go to?
Can He be my absolute everything if He couldn't handle my messy anything?
Truth is, if we can't go to Him first, where have we placed Him in our lives? If we struggle with vulnerability with man AND God then who can we go to in this world when we are disappointed, weak, lost or confused?
Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26
All through scripture, are people whose honesty and vulnerability in their relationship with God brought them into deeper relationship, revelation and understanding. David, Elijah, Job and John the Baptist. Even Jesus, our Savior, fully God and fully man in the garden of Gethsemane gave us such a beautiful relationship with the Father.
Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”
Jesus loved his disciples and even as we live in community with others, we recognize the access we have to the Father and the invitation to go a little beyond when we are deeply grieved. In that place, with God, we wrestle through our most honest and unpolished present emotions. Vulnerable mental and emotional processing with the Lord involves the God of all comfort and compassion meeting you where we are at and brings us back to the Truth that strengthens us.
God, existing outside of time inserted Himself into time to be with man and dwelt among us exemplified the God with emotions and compassion for His children when they needed Him. Can He not still meets us where we are at today?
He meets us where we are at.
He is our ever present help.
He isn't scared of what we have to say.
He isn't intimidated by the weight of our pain, questions and heaviness.
He doesn't get offended.
He doesn't have a superiority complex.
He won't be mad.
He is patient.
He is kind.
He is accessible.
He is available.
He still heals.
He still comforts.
He still forgives.
He still restores.
He still saves.
He still strengthens.
This is our God.
Perhaps this may be the beginning of your honest and bold conversations with the Lord in prayer. Or perhaps this is something you haven't done in a while. Our bold conversations with the Lord lead to the deep healing, the strength, comfort and revelation of His nature and character we need. I pray that your wild vulnerability and radical freeness in your relationship with God will bring you to experience His kindness and desire for deeper friendship with Him. The one who created your heart and every part of you can handle every weighty and messy thing plaguing your heart and mind. He cares so much and is more than ready to listen.
Love you, friend.
Have an amazing week.