It was a long time ago, and it feels almost like I was a different person, but I remember clearly standing alone, in the rain, at night, in the middle of a dark car park, shouting at God at the top of my voice.
My family, after years of conflict, was coming apart at the seams. Mum and Dad were at each other’s throats, and the rest of us were just trying to look after ourselves as best we could – but none of us were succeeding very well.
The church, which had been my home and shelter for years, didn’t feel so safe lately, and my friends were all going through some crisis or another, and none of us were looking out for each other.
I’d been following Jesus for a good few years at this stage, but just at the moment, He didn’t seem to be delivering.
So I let Him know it.
With a God who is everywhere, you can shout at Him whenever, and wherever, you like. So I could have gone somewhere warm and dry, but the dark, rainy car-park probably suited my mood.
Why am I telling you this? Well, it was one of the most honest, truthful prayers of my life, and it helped. It really did.
Oh, God answered the prayer. He gently reminded me that He was with me, but that’s not what I mean when I say it helped. I’m saying that the prayer itself helped – because I was involving God in what was the most important set of feelings and issues in my life right then.
Yes, I was blaming him, but he’s a big God. He can shoulder a bit of undeserved blame. In fact, if you think about it, he already has. Another little bit isn’t going to ruin things.
The Bible puts a lot of stock in ‘truth’: Jesus called himself ‘the truth’ and said: ‘true worshipers will worship in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.’ Later in John, He says: ‘you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’
So what is true?
- It is true that God is awesome and holy and sovereign and loving and good. That is always true whether we feel it or not, and it is important to believe these things and to trust God.
- It is also true that sometimes we feel sad or unhappy or frustrated or scared and angry.
Sometimes we need to acknowledge these darker, personal, truths:
- that I am angry with God (even though I know he’s not to blame)
- that today I don’t trust God (even though I know I should)
- that I don’t feel close to him (even though I know he’s supposed to be right here)
because they are honest, and God wants to hear from the real you, not the good, Urban Junction going you that looks good on a Sunday morning.
If you are still afraid that God can’t handle it if you lose the rag with Him, read 1 Kings 19 and consider how God dealt with Elijah after he had run away and was now telling God ‘Leave me alone and let me die.’
He’s had thousands of years of dealing with temper tantrums, yours aren’t going to break Him!