No yets or buts!

I was reading a blog post the other day and it was a letter to God. This man’s friend has a child who is very ill and the writer was so frustrated that none of his prayers were being answered. He said he has been defending God to the parents of the sick child but he confessed that inwardly he isn’t as sure of God’s love and power as he was proclaiming.

It reminded me of some of David’s psalms – where he pours out his heart to God.
Why do you let the people perish?
Why do you let evil prosper?
Where are you when it hurts?
Can you hear me?
Are you even there?

But one thing you often find in these psalms is… a ‘but’ or ‘yet’. I’m paraphrasing again but you often read…

Things are crap, but I will praise you.
My world is falling apart, yet I will trust you.

This is missing from the blog post. It ended with no answers, just more questions.

I can safely say that I’ve spent the bulk of my Christian life totally confused about what God is up to. I don’t have a crisis of faith, in the sense that I have no doubt that He is there – and I believe the Bible and the glowing character reference it gives God. But like me, the writer of that blog post feels as if, verses that say things like, ‘your ways are not our ways and your thoughts are not our thoughts’ are just not enough.

I was going to challenge the guy though and suggest that he should do a bit more trusting and a bit less complaining. But I didn’t and I’m glad I didn’t. At that moment I remembered an email I’d send to a Christian a while ago, I mentioned I was struggling with some stuff and asked for prayer. The reply came that I should stop complaining and rejoice in the victory that God has given me.
I will probably never ask that person for prayer again and or share a struggle with them. Even if they are right and I’m wrong – the response did nothing to warm my cold heart that day.

It’s very easy to thump someone on the shoulder and tell them to rejoice in their sufferings. Sometimes too easy. A valley usually only looks pretty when you’re viewing it from the top.  When you’re down deep in it, the view is never as good.

These verses in Habakkuk 3 always come to mind when I’m pondering stuff like this.  And I’m sure I’ve shared them before…

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Even though it looks like I have nothing to thank you for, I’m going to thank you anyway. I actually do believe that because of who He is, God is worthy of our praise regardless of my state of mind or heart.
But my state of mind and heart sometimes makes it harder to praise him.

I suppose I was affected by the blog post cos of the empty questioning that sounded like it would never be answered. I was hoping for the ‘but’ and ‘yet’ at the end of the post and it never came.
That doesn’t meant that I can’t add it tho… 

I really do thank God for His unconditional love!
If I was in charge I’d have given up on me a long time ago! 🙂

Janey! What will God say? – for H

I wrote the following for radio. The situation has passed and it seems that everything is going to be ok. But now a friend finds herself in a similar position. So rather than say it all again I thought I’d share the piece I wrote and recorded.  Janey isn’t her real name btw…

Janey! What will God say?
As I sit here I’m praying for a little girl. Janey and her mammy, daddy, granny and everyone else connected to her. She’s not well and no one is 100% sure what the problem is. It has the potential to be life threatening or it may be a condition that needs a lot of treatment…. and once that’s administered she’ll be right as rain.

But at the moment we don’t know.

Now I could wait… and write this when it’s all over. When we know what the diagnosis and prognosis is. I could wait until we’re either broken hearted by the worst news and terrified for her future, or relieved beyond belief and determined to be thankful every day for her!
I’m one of the few ‘committed Christians’ that the family know. And as usual I was one of the first people to be contacted about it and asked to pray. And that’s great. But I must be honest, the whole area of ‘hoping’ and ‘God’ is a difficult one for me at times. I’ve been through that process. I’ve been through the receiving bad news… possibility it’s wrong… then confirmation that it’s right… but possibility it can be fixed… then confirmation that it can’t… then surgery, then childlessness. All through that time half the world was praying. I was confident that God would heal me, and not only that, but my whole family would see His glory and fall to their knees and worship Him for the rest of their days.

But God said no.

Not… ‘keep praying Annmarie’, not ‘maybe’ and I’m still finding it hard to believe he was saying ‘No, but I’ve got something better for you.’ He just said no.  That was 10 years ago. And it took a long time for me to accept it.

My 27 nieces and nephews 🙂 They take the sting out of not being a mammy ❤

That whole process now changes how I respond to Janey’s situation. I pray as passionately as I’ve ever prayed for her test results to be positive only for something easy for her and us to deal with. That is my heart’s desire. But as a Christian I MUST pray that God’s will is done. I MUST pray that no matter what the diagnosis, Janey’s parents  and other family will be strong, will be comforted by God and will work together to help each other.

And if they shake their fists at God, that He will respond like the merciful One that He is – and will show mercy. And that even in the midst of the panic and the pain that one day they will see His glory and fall to their knees and worship Him for the rest of their days. Not because He has given us the answer we wanted, but because he is worthy of all glory, honour and praise…. even when he says NO!