This is Part 1 of the Confessions of a Pastor series.
God is often depicted in scripture as having human attributes. This literary language allows us to understand our infinite God in finite terms. Of course the crowning conclusion to this human connection was when God clothed Himself in flesh and blood.
I have a prayer language that is generally conversational in tone. I do have moments of intense utterance through which God is using me to intercede on the behalf of His interests. But if you catch me in any given prayer session, you would probably think I was holding a conversation with a good friend.
Recently, I realized that for some time I was holding back in my relationship with God. There was hesitancy in my honesty. I wasn’t interested in intimacy. Robotic rhetoric was all I could manage. I prayed general prayers, systematically sorting thru my list of family, friends, and urgent needs; but our fellowship was full of my facades and masks. Underneath the utterance was a deep dark issue. When I dug deep and discovered the problem, I was visibly shaken.
I needed to forgive God. I know that sounds ludicrous – but just listen.
There are seasons we celebrate and some we just endure. God allows us to triumph and to be tested. In my case, I had been taking a test in which I couldn’t seem to figure out any of the right answers.
This was a season in which my life was made bare and my failures were focused upon. My faults and shortcomings traveled with me every step of the way. We’ve all had these encounters. The wolf pack is circling, the hounds of hell howling, and I can’t see the forest for the trees. Why did it get this far? How come such and such was allowed to happen? Where is my helper? Why do the heathen rage? Pick your Psalm and proclaim the utter agony of it out loud.
You healed her but didn’t heal my friend. I prayed for this miracle and somebody else received it. Why do these churches grow and ours shrinks? How come lies are louder than truth? You said you would be my defense; but the hedges are down and the hecklers are winning.
Ever felt like that?
John the Baptist did. When he’s locked up and lonely, Jesus, who knows about it, doesn’t even stop by to visit. Meanwhile, the seemingly unworthy are being inundated with divine impartation. Biblical prophecy is coming to pass right in front of everybody’s eyes. That is, everybody but John.
John sends a word via his disciples to Jesus. John is hoping his helper will get him out of the hold he is locked in. John is wondering if Jesus is really the Messiah, or should he keep waiting. When we don’t understand God’s ways we often question His work. Because if Jesus is the deliverer: where is my deliverance? John believes for a miracle that is never birthed. John dies a prisoner.
Matthew 11:6 – And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
This word was the final nail in the coffin for John’s dreams and hopes. John is left with one final opportunity to receive blessing. No, this blessing won’t be deliverance, but it will be the fruit of one final decision. John needs to forgive God. This is the overlooked BE-ATTITUDE.
The sovereignty of God is easier lauded than lived. His way, His work, and His will for my life are beyond logic, reason, or earthly explanation. He views my life through the broad lens of His eternal purpose and plan.
God doesn’t owe me anything. God never claimed he agreed with our dictionary definition of fairness. He doesn’t have to touch me like He touches my neighbor. Blessings aren’t given in proportion to human equality: they are loosed in relation to His purpose.
Back to me: the dam that developed through my dissidence finally burst. Through hot tears and animalistic emotions, I began to forgive God. Sitting on my own ash heap of burned dreams and hopes, I exalted my voice and began to praise God for His ways. Joy and happiness began to flood my parched soul. The gap between us was bridged with the boards of blessed brokenness.
This awkward anomaly of a human forgiving the Divine must be addressed. Many people stumble through their spiritual life without evident emergence because they have aught against God. He didn’t come through for you when, and how, you thought He should have. Your child died in the car wreck, while their child lived. Literally, I could fill this list with thousands of complaints.
Somewhere in the deafening silence of your soul, let the words of scripture begin to echo in the darkness. His thoughts are greater than my thoughts. His ways are not my ways. He knows the way that I take. God – I don’t know why, but I do know Who. The Lord giveth and taketh away – but blessed be the name of the Lord. That conjunction will connect you back into a correct view of God.
Do you need to forgive God?