I stood there in the cold. Dreary winter had defeated me. After a string of events leaving me frustrated, there we stood. I’d been trying for days to get this firewood cut so it could be split and carried inside. Almost out of propane and just a few pieces of split wood left, the chainsaw refused to cooperate. As my husband fought with his tractor, trying to get it to run to facilitate the moving of the firewood that he did manage to get cut, I tried to remind myself. I tried to find joy. I am an amazingly blessed woman. Truly married to the man of my dreams, seven healthy children, wonderful friends who love me despite my… self.
I tried. I did. But in that moment, as we hovered around the woodstove, trying to battle a fire in a cold stove and the sinking feeling in our guts as again everything was failing to cooperate and we stared in the eyes of abundant blessings being poured out on others, I uttered those words. Words I would venture to guess most people would be surprised to hear me utter.
“Why does God hate us?”
And my weary, downtrodden husband, exhausted and distraught, could only utter, “I don’t know.”
The next morning I begrudgingly dragged my body to church, not sure if my spirit would follow. But the doing is important. When your heart is weak, the physical act of the doing takes over. And though the physical act will never substitute for the spiritual act of submitting, sometimes it is all you have, and sometimes it is all God needs.
Friends, we serve an amazing God. And that Sunday, my pastor gave a horrible, wonderful, vile and awesome message of Hope. And as he stood there, telling me that the circumstances of life will always fall, but God will never fail. Telling us that God wants us to choose to walk out the circumstances following the heart and character of Christ. As he stood there telling me “God doesn’t hate you,” I wept.
I’ve found myself crying more and more at church.
Friends, do you know the magnitude of amazingness of the God we serve? I venture to guess you do not. I’m certain that I don’t. I know, in that moment, I didn’t even want to fight one more day. I didn’t want to stand and walk. I wanted to lay in the arms of my heavenly father and cry and wail and tell him how unfairly I was being treated. I was throwing an epic toddler temper tantrum and I did not want to be consoled out of it.
But those simple words, spoken by my pastor, who seems to feel compelled to preach the Word of God and the words of God, “God doesn’t hate you.” Those words seared through my heart.
I’d like to say I felt instantly better and I knew it was all ok. The truth is, I already knew it was ok. When I uttered that question, “Why does God hate us?” I knew. I knew it was all ok. Not that it was going to be ok. It already was. Even in my despair I knew God was still in control and He had us in His hands. It wasn’t about what I know. But the feelings in my heart.
Like I said, I’d love to tell you that I instantly felt better, but I didn’t. I continued to sulk and argue with God. But I knew I would feel ok. I knew then, as I listened to this message of hope that I didn’t want to hear, this message of how to battle the crappy circumstances of this world and arm myself with the love of my savior, I knew I would feel better.
I had never lost faith in our amazing God. But I had lost hope in my circumstances. I knew God loved me. I just had reasoned that His plan for me was not one of hope and goodness but of struggle and want. I had not stopped counting my blessings, but I had spent too much time counting the blessings of others and coming up woefully short.
The truth is, God is God. He is good. And He knows His plan for me. And His plan is so much better. He has proven time and time again that His plan is better. But still I doubt. And I sulk. And I pout.
Oh, but God.
God can take our pouting. He can handle our sulking. He’s not afraid to shake you a bit by speaking to your pastor if you aren’t willing to stop pouting on your own, but He can handle our pain, our fear, our hurt and yes, our anger.
Oh, what a glorious God.
After the better part of a week spent arguing and bickering with God, I think I’ve moved to a new place in my journey. One in which I realize the journey is what is important. I’m always too eager to get to the destination. I want to be the deep, spiritually connected woman of God I see at church.
I just despise the journey. “Are we there yet?” I keep asking God. But I think the answer shall forever be “Not yet, sweetie, look out the window and enjoy the ride.”