“God can handle you.” This is one of free lance writer Melissa Hawks’ favorite sayings. It expresses what I’ve known for a long time to be true. And it’s one of the reasons I treasure my relationship with the Lord so much.
Life can be disappointing. Our well laid plans take unexpected turns. Our dreams morph into something we do not recognize. During those times, it’s okay to say we don’t like the situation we’re in. We don’t have to pretend that we’re happy with an outcome when we’re not. It gives me great comfort to know that we can be real and honest with Jesus.
“God can handle you.” He already knows what you are thinking and feeling. Nothing you say is going to surprise or shock Him. Sometimes a little rant is good for you.
Right now I am in the middle of a life transition that has been difficult and confusing. This summer my husband and I resigned our pastorate at a church we have invested ourselves for 16 years. The Lord unmistakably led us here and we’ve done our best to be faithful, even though it has meant my husband has been bi-vocational most of our tenure. When things would get tough, we would pray and discuss with each other if it were time to leave. The answer had always been “no.” We were still called to serve there. However, during these conversations I would say something like, “When it’s time to go, I want to move away. It will be too hard to say goodbye to our church and then stay in the same town.” I had seen other close friends walk that road, and I didn’t want the pain. In my mind, resigning and relocating had to go together. Nothing else made sense.
Well, we resigned and guess where we live? In the same town, three blocks from the church! There are currently no other church ministry opportunities elsewhere, (Not that we are looking. We are in a season of rest.) and we continue working at our other jobs. Staying here is logical.
But it’s not what I wanted, and I was angry.
Thankfully I knew that I could rant to the Lord.
It’s not fair. It doesn’t make sense. It hurts too much. Why are You doing this to me?
Scripture, especially in the Psalms, sets a good precedence for ranting.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)
You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy? (Psalm 43:2)
Once the rant is over, emotions calm and we can once again remind ourselves that God really does know best. We can reconnect with His faithful love toward us.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me (Psalm 13:5-6).
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 43:5).
After months of off-and-on wrestling with God, I am beginning to see the goodness of God in keeping us here in the same town.
- He is providing for us financially through our good jobs. I have to commute, but it’s a lovely drive.
- He protected us from the upheaval of changing everything at once. It takes a long time to adjust to starting over in a new location.
- He has allowed us to continue to enjoy the friendships we developed with our former congregation, even though we no longer pastor their church.
Are you in the middle of a tough situation? You don’t have to pretend. Let Jesus know how you feel. He already knows anyway. A little rant will do you good.
Heavenly Father, help me to be honest as I express my feelings to You. Thank You for walking with me through every difficult situation, and that You are never offended by what I share with You. Help me to trust You with every area of my life, including those that cause me anger and other intense emotions. In Jesus’ name. Amen.