I thought God would give me what I wanted because I had tried all my life to be a “good” Christian and to follow Him.
All I wanted was to be a wife, a mother, and to live near my family. Surely, that wasn’t too much to ask, because so many people I knew were living that dream. It wasn’t like I was asking to be wealthy or something. They were good goals, right?
In 2014, we welcomed Tage Thomas into the world. He was the fulfillment of my greatest dream. I relished in my days at home with him, knowing this is what I was meant to do. When he was four months old, I sensed that something was off. He wasn’t developing the way other babies were. When he was six months old, he was diagnosed with a genetic disease. It was terminal. He wouldn’t make it to his first birthday.
The room literally spun. “No, God. Don’t take him, too,” I begged from the hospital shower, hands pressed against the cold tile as tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t catch my breath for the weight of grief that pressed on my chest.
For the next two wonderful and excruciating months, I got to take care of Tage until he passed away in my arms one snowy, November day.
During this time, I read of Job and David, both who had suffered much loss, but were able to keep trusting God. Their prayers were different. They weren’t trying to “always be joyful” in the midst of their loss. After all, wasn’t that what Christians were “supposed” to do?
David brought his true feelings before the Lord, saying things like,
…for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. ... Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress. My sight is blurred because of my tears. My body and soul are withering away. I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Misery has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within ( from Psalm 31).
Do you hear the desperation in his voice? Do you sense that he wishes he could just throw in the towel? Can you picture the never ending tears that constantly blur his sight, or what’s
more: can you relate to tears that blur your vision or been so sad that you couldn’t eat and were physically weak from exhaustion?
I am so thankful that I can be this raw with the Lord like David was! He was not afraid that he might offend God. He was honest with Him, as with a close friend or a child!
But then in the verses after that, his complaining turns to lament as he allows God to remind him of who God is. And so the second part of lament, after we have poured out our honest feelings, fears, anxieties, is to remember who He is. A few verses later, David starts saying:
BUT I am trusting You, O Lord, saying ‘You are my God!’ My future is in Your hands.…Your goodness is so great! You have stored up great blessings for those who honor you. You
have done so much for those who come to you for protections, blessing them before a watching world. (Psalm 31)
Over and over again in the Psalms we see grief, fear, sadness, anxiety, and then David turns his perspective with the word “But…..” He is a great model for lament. Or complaining but with hope!
I always thought I was being disrespectful to God to ask Him these things or to cry about how hard life felt that day, as if I didn’t trust Him enough. But I found, sitting in my house with tears streaming down my face, that I could picture Jesus sitting across from me, listening like a good friend and a loving father who cares about me, with a gentle look of sadness and love in His eyes. He wanted to hear how I was REALLY doing. He wanted a relationship with me – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I learned in that season that He wants so much more for us than simply following rules. He wants an honest, personal relationship.
And now I can say like Job, “I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes” (Job 42:5).
Do you want to know Him more in the midst of your pain? Tell Him how you really feel. And let Him remind you who He really is.
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