I want to keep this blog brief so let me get to the point. God invites us to wrestle with Him as we seek to understand His character and He never takes offense to us. Abraham wrestled with God and we call him the Father of faith. David wrestled with God and he is called a man after God’s own heart. Jacob wrestled with God and he went on to advance God’s kingdom in unimaginable ways. Job wrestled with God and the latter half of his days were more blessed than the first. I could go on and on.
I’m convinced that God invites us to wrestle with Him and never takes offense. In fact, I’m persuaded to believe that wrestling with God is often what solidifies our faith.
Rather than write more about this topic, I sense the Lord asking me to share a page from my personal journal that reveals what it looks like for me to wrestle with God in this season of my life. In sharing the things I wrote only a few days ago, I risk looking unChristian. Nevertheless, I’m choosing to provide you with a transparent look into my heart and the various tensions I’m presently facing. I believe that to be Christian is not to have it all together, but to rely on the One who does.
Here’s the entry from my journal on May 30th.
“The last few weeks have been spent in anger, irritation, joy, sadness, inner-turmoil and confusion. I’ve wanted to hide from the world. God is invited into my cave with me but I’m indifferent as to whether or not He accepts the invitation. Either way is fine.
His grace for me in this season is COMMUNITY and I’ve fought against Him since returning home from travelling. I haven’t wanted to let people near. I don’t want to bear my heart or listen to the words of others. I want to be left alone. “Stay the hell away from me” has been my attitude. I have the wisdom to see that I’m withdrawing from people in order to protect myself. I’m handling this situation poorly. Instead of letting Jesus access my heart and heal me, I’m choosing to remain guarded, distant and uncaring.
The instant I’m honest with myself and in the presence of God the walls come down and I begin to feel the pain that resides inside my heart… the wounds that have been inflicted from the difficult circumstances that have taken place over the last 4 months. My heart is sore. I’ve been wounded by people’s actions and words. I’ve been silenced, misunderstood, ruthlessly scrutinized, and rejected. I’ve taken a stand for the gospel in all of its glory and I’ve been met with incredible opposition by people that call themselves Christian. The sins of others have left me feeling grieved, wounded, and weary.
In the midst of my unwillingness to receive God’s grace for me in the form of Community, Father faithfully pursues me. He finds His way to the core of my being and speaks tenderly to my heart. He cares deeply. Father calls me to say “yes” to His grace for me in this season—HIS CHURCH. One part of me resists because I’m afraid of getting hurt and another part of me resists because I want to know that God hears the cry of my heart and understands my pain before I yield to His will. Some part of me feels that I can get His attention if I resist Him—I wonder if He laughs at my childish tactic… I wonder if He’s upset with me. I know I don’t stand a chance at winning, I just want to make sure that I get my point across: people treated me unjustly and my heart is wounded. I’m not one for screaming, or kicking, or anything too overt, so I make my point quietly. I resist what I know to be the perfect will of my Father. This, I am convinced, will get Him to turn his gaze in my direction like nothing else will.
I know I’m being ridiculous. I know that Father always has my best in mind. I know that He loves me and is calling me to be in community because it’s His grace for me. Am I willing to stop fighting? Am I willing to say “yes” to my Father’s good, pleasing, and perfect will for me?
The truth is, I don’t actually have the ability within myself to say “yes” to Father. I need the Holy Spirit to do this work in me. And He has. The Spirit of God has given me the strength to say “yes”. Father, I am willing. I am willing to obey… to walk in community, to let my heart be exposed, to risk the possibility of further hurt, to discern with Your body and to walk in Your way. Father, I receive your grace for me.”
Rachael Harder is the pastor of young adults at River of Life Church in Lethbridge, Alberta. She is also a contributing writer and researcher for the groundbreaking study, Hemorrhaging Faith by the EFC.