“If this is Your Will, please break my heart gently but swiftly.” This has been my prayer recently. If God is calling me to do something that requires me to give up my desires, this is what I’m asking. Even if it hurts, when it hurts, and as it hurts, I want what God wants for my life.
To those new to Christianity or a fellow non-Christian, you are my guinea pigs. You see, I am trying to better explain what I believe with less “churchy terms,” as part of being in the world means knowing how to communicate with the world. I think it’s easy to read this prayer and in combination with my last post, God does not seem all that loving. That is a major reason why people choose to not believe in the Christian God; He does not seem all that loving. I think that is completely valid depending on your definition of loving. But before you click off, could you give me a chance to explain why I trust Jesus?
God’s Will is synonymous with God’s Plan for my life. Ultimately, I want it and I long for it. A beautiful mystery that exists within the Christian worldview is the sovereign God. We understand from reading the Bible that God is all-knowing and all-loving. Everything that He has done, does, and will do is true to His Character. We have the Bible to prove that. Because God is who He is, I know that His plan is what I want. He works all things for good.
When I approach this current hardship that I am facing, though I have many doubts, I am also offered certainty which is something you do not get in this world but from Above. I can be certain that Jesus is for me. I am certain that God is who He is. He describes Himself in this way to Moses, “The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, 7 maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:7 He is compassionate. He is forgiving. He is gracious. He remains faithful. He is sovereign. If Jesus is for me, it doesn’t matter what or who could be against me. Jesus wins in the end after all. This is why I long for God’s perfect plan.
Often there is this promoted idea that a strong Christian has no doubt, but I think that leads to an inaccurate portrayal of how a Christian deals with painful scenarios. You can love God yet still experience doubt. You can chase God’s will yet still pray for your desires. I am reminded of Jesus. He knew He had to die and still prayed that God The Father would take the pain away. Luke 22:42 captures Jesus’ prayer, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me—nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Being a strong Christian does not mean you have to suppress the painful and negative emotions. We are instead called to embrace them. Experience them. Feel them.
You can love God yet still experience doubt, but the question becomes what do you do next? Jesus, before being betrayed, arrested, and facing the agony of His death asked God to take away the suffering He would face. Yet He accompanied His feelings with the Truth of the Bible. Even in high stress and anxiety, Jesus reminded Himself who God is and knowing that God is true to His character, asked for God’s plan anyway.
Admittedly, I am scared. I still cry over this stressful situation. I have my doubts, and even as I pray that prayer, I also ask God to consider my desires. I share these things with you so you can see God’s goodness play out. As with the Bible, we can use it to look back and see the goodness of God throughout history, same with my blog. I remind myself in these times of great fear that this is the same Jesus who was with me when I was days away from my first day of college. This is the same Jesus who remained faithful when I thought I was going to fail physics. This is the same Jesus who miraculously got me into the Department of Mechanical Engineering after all. This is the same Jesus who was with me even when I’ve been a horrendous friend to others. This is the same Jesus who loved me even when the only word one could use to describe me was “unlovable.” This is the same Jesus who grows, comforts, loves, challenges, and fulfills me despite what I’ve gone through and what I go through. Through this blog, you can see the goodness of God and the hope I have in Him. Jesus is good even when He does not seem all that good. He loves even when He does not seem all that loving. He offers certainty when nothing else in this world can. My hope is in Jesus even when and as it hurts. It is the same Jesus who was raised from the dead after all.
So this is what following Jesus looks like, there are times where I doubt, I wonder, I argue, and I hurt. In this season, it’s difficult to convince me to go to church. In this season, I admittedly find myself scoffing at points made in sermons as if to say, “You have no idea what I’m going through” yet everyone understands hurt. Everyone understands pain. Everyone understands confusion in some way.
There are times where all I can see is God’s goodness, faithfulness, and lovingkindness. There are times where I remember my hope is in Jesus and I am confident that no matter what comes my way, the God who created me is for me. Yet there are also times within that same day where I am begging God to take away this pain and frustration. This is what it looks like to be a Christian. I feel a variety of emotions and yet, His Word remains the same. Jesus keeps His promises. God is good regardless of how I feel. Scripture is unchanging. This is all why my hope is still in Jesus.
In this time of uncertainty, in this time of pain, and in this time of confusion, the only thing to do is trust that Jesus is the same as yesterday, today, and forevermore as the Bible declares Him to be. In this season, though it may be unclear, God is good regardless. Jesus is my hope. May this be your invitation to watch how Jesus uses this situation for His Kingdom. As we have done so in the past with the blog, we again patiently wait and see how this will all come together for His glory. Let this be more evidence that Jesus truly is Lord as He proclaimed to be.