being real

Category : God, different, faith

   

One of the things that tells me the Bible is true is that people in these stories are so honest with their feelings.  No one attempts to cover up their mistakes, sins, or weaknesses.  We get to read all of their mistakes.  In a way it’s very humbling.  How would you like to know that people will be reading about your fears and doubts 2000 years from now?

I find that honesty encouraging.  If people as amazing as Peter, or David, or Moses made mistakes and had doubts, then God is probably okay with my problems.  God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. 

As I look back on my journey with God it’s very obvious that I’ve had lots of ups and downs.  And some of those downs are on the same day I had the ups.

One passage in the Bible I find interesting was written by a guy named Jeremiah.  Now Jeremiah had an average, run of the mill, job.  Y’know, the kind where you tell everyone around you that they are going to be destroyed by God because they had been so awful for so long.  (And you thought giving a presentation at work was rough!)  Naturally this job caused a lot of emotional and physical pain for Jeremiah.  Israel didn’t really like being told about their sins.  And they certainly didn’t want to hear they were going to be destroyed by an invading army. 

So instead of telling God they were sorry, and changing their behavior (which would have saved them) they insulted and punished Jeremiah.  I picture them collectively sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling, “we’re not listening…we’re not listening…”

After one particularly rough period in Jeremiah’s life he calls God out, saying “you deceived me.”  Think about that for a moment, someone who God hand picked for the job is yelling “God!  What are you doing to me?! This job description you gave me is crap!” 

It’s clear that Jeremiah is angry.  From his perspective he’s only been doing what God asked.  He’s being honest toward Israel, and doing the “right” thing.  And instead of being rewarded he’s put in jail.  Seems to me he has a case for being angry.

His anger fades, however, and a few sentences later he says, “Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.”  Now Jeremiah seems pretty happy, and grateful for God.

But one sentence later Jeremiah says this, “cursed be the day I was born!”

The man is all over the place.

Just like we are.

A few days ago I wrote that maintaining a relationship is a hard task.  Considering it’s such hard work, how do you manage that if you can’t be honest with God?  How can you expect a real relationship of trust and faith and love to develop if you can’t tell God what you really feel?

The answer is obviously that you can’t.  Fortunately God wants us to be honest and real.  He didn’t ask Jeremiah to pretend he was okay, and to “man up.”  Instead he lets Jeremiah vent, and express his feelings.  In fact just about everyone in the Bible has a moment where they are angry at God.  And not a single person is struck down by a Divine Lightning Bolt of Justice ™.

So the next time you’re upset, don’t hide it from God.  Tell him what you really feel.  If you have questions about him that you don’t understand: ask.  If you have fears: tell him.  If you’re lonely: share that with him.  God didn’t ask Jeremiah (or David, or Paul, or Jesus) to hide their feelings.  And he’s not asking that of you.    

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