Often I fear that I am failing. That failing, it seems to pervade every corner of my life sometimes, but especially my faith. I feel like I am not a very good Christian, that I am failing to properly love God, to let Him use my circumstances (read: Eve's death) for my good and His glory, that I am wasting her loss.
It is overwhelming.
And then I wonder -- maybe that's not up to me. Not all of it anyway.
Maybe I'm going about it all the wrong way -- going to God for what I can get from Him, to see what He will give me in exchange for my daughter's life. As if faith and living and dying were a barter system.
I felt particularly convicted of this while reading Nancy Guthrie's latest book (I recommend all of her writing on grief and loss), Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow. Nancy writes:
"I found myself dry and disillusioned, so busy for Him but often so far away from Him. There were times I didn't know how to get the conversation going again, and I wasn't sure if He'd be willing to listen to me or if I even knew how to recognize His voice.
That's when, with a sense of desperation, I made a commitment to listening to Him by reading and studying His Word day by day. Jesus, the Word of life, broke through my religious activity and accumulated Bible knowledge and began to convict and change me. I fell in love with hearing His voice through His Word and developed an insatiable appetite for it."Dry? Yes. Unsure of of God is there to listen? Oh, yes. I identify so much with the faith desert that Nancy describes . . . and her words made me wonder if, with an altering of my motivations, I, too, could fall in love with hearing God's voice.
Usually when I wake up in the morning, full of intentions to set God first and spend time in prayer and in His Word, I feel . . . bored? anxious? afraid? I'm not even sure what the right word it for is. I have expectations of what that time with God should be like, and there is also an underlying belief that God will let me down. That I will come away from that time worse off than I was going in.
But what are these expectations? What am I hoping to get from thirty minutes of prayer and Bible reading?
I often expect, I think, something huge. God responding to me loud and clear, on a grandiose level. But maybe that's the wrong way to go into it?
"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper."
Maybe I am looking for a magnificent storm instead of listening for a gentle whisper?
"Some say the healing miracles of Jesus are evidence that we can call upon and count on the almighty and all-loving Jesus to touch our bodies and heal our diseases here and now -- that God always wants to heal our bodies. And I think Jesus might say, 'You've missed the point! You're so concerned about getting what you want from Me, you've missed Me.'"~ Nancy Guthrie, The One Year Book of Hope
Am I missing the point -- and, in doing so, missing out on Jesus?
I think the answer is maybe. Probably. Yes.
So, like Nancy Guthrie, I want to make a commitment. A commitment to show up to God everyday for thirty days, first thing in the morning, for prayer and Bible-reading.
Of course, that doesn't sound any different from what I'm already doing -- except that this time, I want to focus on God leading. I want to show up and see what He has for me, not present Him with my agenda of what He needs to do for me. To try to get to know God on His terms. To show up for the relationship with my Savior more than anything else.
Basically, I want to hang out with Jesus.
Is this possible? I don't know. I really hope so, though. Because I need a change. Something in my approach to Life is lifeless, stale.
I'm excited -- and nervous -- to see what happens. I think this will be an interesting experiment.
Do you ever feel like something in your walk with God is just not working? What do you do about it, if anything?