Gratitude Day 578
Job 40:9 – Do you have a powerful arm and a thundering voice that compare with mine?
It is heartbreaking to watch someone go through a terribly sad time in their life.
The lost of a loved one.
A fire that takes every earthly possession.
A divorce that fractures a family.
An addiction that wreaks havoc.
A health situation that permanently changes life.
A tornado or flood or cold weather that disrupts an entire community.
Children or grandchildren that struggle to find their way.
An unfaithful partner that chooses someone else.
A couple who desperately want to have a family but have not been able.
Getting let go from a job.
Some form of abuse, whether physical, emotional or mental.
And the list could go on and on.
I’m confident that we’ve all experienced disappointment multiple times in our lives. Each person’s disappointment is unique and their own. It’s impossible for me to honestly say, “I know what you are going through” because I don’t. Even if I have experienced a somewhat similar disappointment and hurt, my situation is not your situation and vice versa. Only you know how this hurt has touched your heart and soul.
One of the great joys of serving as a clergy is getting to be with families and individuals during the most special times of their lives: weddings, baptisms, confirmations, and the like. As a clergy, I have also sat with hundreds of individuals and families as they journeyed through the darkest days of their lives. Planning funerals. Trying to make sense of an addiction. Watching a loved one deal with a health issues that has just turned everything upside down. In these moments, I have found myself grossly unprepared with the appropriate words. These are the moments when my only option is to stutter.
In these heartbreaking and difficult situations, eventually, one question always arises: “Why?”
Why did this happen?
And probably the most difficult question of all: Why did God allow this to happen?
I can’t speak for God. I can’t explain why God seemingly intervenes in some situations and then not in another one. It is impossible for me to think that I can ever be the voice of God. No, in these situations, all I can do is hold a person’s hand. Listen. Pray quietly or aloud. Be present.
I do believe that time can help with healing. Time does not ensure all healing. But a little space and perspective often allows for a bit of acceptance. Possibly, we see more of the picture and how one event often has tentacles into other life events. And slowly, we discover that we won’t forget the situation, but we can have the energy and opportunity to begin to move on with life.
While this is the desire and wish, I am also keenly aware that disappointment and hurt remain much of who we are for years and years. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we hold onto the hurt and anger and disappointment deep in our hearts and souls. Sometimes, we can keep it hidden and covered. Other times, it lives just beneath the surface and can come spewing out in a moment’s notice.
This Lent, we’re looking at how we can surrender more of our souls to Jesus. One way we can do this is by releasing some of the anger, hurt and disappointment we have in our lives. We begin to do this by inviting Jesus to heal us. As the master physician, Jesus healed lots and lots of people while he lived here on earth. His healing can and does continue today. It’s powerful to witness when someone allows for healing in their lives. Whether it’s physical, emotional or mental healing or a combination, even a smidge of healing in our lives can give us hope.
Is there a place in your life where you continue to ask God, “Why?” How tightly do you hang onto this? Is there some hurt and anger that you’ve kept buried for a period of time because, well, you just don’t want to deal with it?
It’s terribly difficult to unearth those hurts and begin to let some healing begin. Sometimes, we feel like we lack the emotional bandwidth to do so. So today, think about where you have some disappointment with God. Where do you feel God has let you down? Today may or may not be about healing this disappointment. Maybe it’s only naming it, which is an important first step. Maybe you are well aware of this anger towards God. Possibly your best action today is just to simply acknowledge it once again your life and allow it just to sit with you.
Long-term healing seldom happens overnight. Disappointment doesn’t disappear quickly and easily. No, it’s something that we often drag with us throughout this journey we call life.
So, what can we do today to draw ourselves closer to Jesus? Simply name the disappointment, anger or hurt. Begin there. And then if you feel like you can manage a bit more then allow for thoughts to ponder what healing might look like.
Sit before God. Open your hands. Share with God your desire to begin to heal. And then, uphold your part of the deal and simply ask for healing in your life. Ask God to bring grace into your very being. For God yearns for you to know and feel this grace.
It begins with tiny little baby steps. And if you are willing to take the tinniest step today, maybe you will experience just a tiny seed of healing.
One of the people in the Bible that experienced great hurt and disappointment was a man named Job. If you are following the Wisdom Books of the Bible reading plan for 2021, you will be aware that we’re reading Job right now. A very wealthy man, Job loses everything: all of his cattle (which would have been his bank account), all of his buildings and property, every single one of his children and then, even his health. He sits quietly for seven days, just waiting for God to speak to him. To explain God’s why. And it doesn’t happen. His friends are there with him and try to convince him that he’s done something wrong and this is God’s payback.
Job refuses to do so. He just wants to hear from God. It takes a really long time for this to happen, but when God speaks, Job and his friends listen. God reminds them that their voices are not nearly as loud or powerful or commanding as his voice. Rather than thinking they are as powerful and strong as God; they should simply let God be God and they be themselves.
Every time I read the story of Job, I’m reminded once again that I’m not God. God may or may not want me to know something. My role is simple to keep turning to God with all the disappointment, anger and hurt that I have.
Folks – it’s really OK to be disappointed with God. God can handle it! Much better than we can! Today may not be about resolving a hurt. It may simply be to sit with it and with God.
Your disappointment probably won’t completely disappear today. And this is OK! But maybe, just maybe, you can release a tiny little bit of it to God today.
For God’s amazing amount of grace and forgiveness and ability to heal, I am grateful.
Holy God – Thank you for the incredibly special gifts that you have granted me. Forgive me for the times when I have not celebrated them as I should. Place it upon my heart one thing that I should let go because it’s not in my gifted area. May I experience great job as I serve You in my areas of giftedness. Amen.
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