(A Simple Thought for Today)
The other night I was talking to youth in the youth group where I am a leader. It was after a time of worship and I felt God say to me, “Tell them it’s ok to be in the wrestle with Me.” It’s always a bit of a tension that I have to walk through when sharing something that says, “It’s ok to put questions towards God, to be in a wrestle…” When you grow up in a Christian home/world you feel as though you have to keep your happy face on and never be disappointed with life, which can lead to questions with God. If you did show your questions, it could lead people to think you didn’t have faith in God or weren’t a “proper” Christian.
Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant
coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.
I stood in front of these youth, sensing that some of them felt conflicted to even praise God when in their hearts they are in a wrestle with Him, they have these questions, doubts and they hold confusion in their hearts regarding their life and circumstances. When God shares something with you, “Tell them it’s ok be in the wrestle with Me”, your eyes all of a sudden open to the atmosphere that is around you. The atmosphere I could see had young people not knowing how to do life and some of the struggles it holds, but also the praising of God because He is good and He is faithful. Working with youth you need to be real and you need to be vulnerable. They can see right through you if you aren’t, but if you are real you hold their attention. You become relatable. Being fake and “everything is AMAZING in life” attitude won’t always pass with them! (I appreciate their encouragement in the direction of being real!)
I took the mic and said to them, “God says it’s ok to be in the wrestle with Him. The last few weeks have been a difficult time for me. I have these situations that are happening in my life and they are heavy to carry. I have so many questions, I feel let down, and disappointed. I am wrestling with God right now regarding them. (I could feel their attention turn to what I was saying). Sometimes we feel guilty for even questioning God. We feel that we are told to be happy and have faith, but we can also feel confused about life and what is happening. I am wrestling with God. The one thing I am learning about wrestling is, you find out your opponents strength and you find out your own strength. God’s strength vs my strength.” I continued to speak with them about what I write below. I have no idea if it impacted their hearts, or if it drastically changed the course of action in their lives. They could have been rolling their eyes for all I know. I do hope that it made them pause and think of their situation and their relationship with God.
When I wrestle with God over something in my life I soon learn the power of my own will, the strength I hold. When I don’t understand something and I am frustrated, I tend to have quite the willpower to hold on to the disappointment and even the questioning period (as though I have God on trial). It’s easier to identify with disappointment then to hold onto the unknown that faith and trust requires of you. My wrestle with God usually includes me throwing (temper tantrum style!) out questions towards Him, and He in His kindness asks me questions, reminds me of His faithfulness. I pretend not to hear Him, and throw more questions and statements His way, and then He, again, let’s me know His thoughts and that He has it all worked out. The wrestle always leads me to surrender. It can be a quick process or it can be lengthy at times. Most times at the end of the wrestling I don’t have the answers I want. However, I do have a new understanding of who He is, a reminder of what He says and I do feel a lot closer to Him. To be quite honest, at the end of the wrestling match I am quite tired, emotional and still a bit frustrated because I don’t always have the clarity I desire. But I wonder if the battle was to never bring clarity to my questions but more clarity to who He is. In the natural, when you physically fight with someone (hopefully it’s a professional wrestling match and not a street fight!) or you have a disagreement with someone you tend to get in their space, you know them in a closer way, physically and emotionally (depending on the course of action). You know them. So in my wrestling, in my struggle it will always lead me to know God. We should never be afraid to ask questions, for how else do we learn. You do have to be ok with not receiving the answers right away, but through time it will all make sense. God isn’t intimidated by our questions, by our struggle, our wrestling with Him. Jacob did it, he walked away with a limp. For me personally, I gather that Jacob should have surrendered a bit sooner! David always questioned God, but He also reminded himself of God’s faithfulness, He always left the situation praising God for who He is.
Looking at the youth I didn’t want to validate them in their struggle and them not praising God because of it, I wanted to encourage them to have their struggle, have their wrestle but still praise God in the midst of it. Sacrifice of praise is where we praise God through our pain and our questions. That worship to God is valued in His heart because He knows that it can be hard to turn our affection towards Him when our attention is being pulled to the hurt and pain that is going on inside us.
I ended my talk with the students with this verse, “Every morning I will move my soul towards Him.” (Psalm 55:17 The Passion Translation). “No matter the struggle, move your soul towards Him. It’s ok to wrestle as long as your heart is moving towards Him. You aren’t being fake, you are being real because you know who He is, but you also know the state of your heart. Growing pains are painful, but what are the pains telling you? They are telling you that you are growing!”
I would be scared if I never had questions or never found it painful to do my faith. I would wonder if I was really being down right real with God. I never doubt my wrestling with Him, I always know I will surrender because eventually my spirit kicks in and reminds me of His faithfulness, that He hasn’t ever let me down, that He is good, that I’m apart of Him. Then the surrender slowly happens. I stop the fighting. I stop the holding on to what I feel is disappointment and “what He should have done”. I sit there, surrendered, emotionally exhausted, spiritually strong and the wrestle becomes the embrace of a good God. He has never let me down.
I might not have the answers but I have the greater heart connection. At the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about? The closeness of you and God?
Never be afraid to wrestle out your emotions, your hurts, questions and struggles with God. It does not make your faith less, it draws you in closer to a dialogue with God which then brings greater revelation of who He is and His heart towards you. His love for you is so great! His plan for your life is more beautiful than you could ever imagine. The wrestling should always lead you to that revelation.
Always move your soul towards Him; that’s the key.