Lets Be Honest {Advent: December 4}

Really honest. You ask God for clear direction. You want signs, you want clarity, and you want to know that God speaking to you. But what do you do when you actually realize that He is talking to you? Do you listen or do you pretend not to hear him? Do you actually follow His leading or do you tell God, “No”? You see, we ask God to lead us, but then when we think that we hear him, we just ignore it because, “Surely God wouldn’t ask me to do that,” so we think. We want to be absolutely certain, and in our quest for certainty, fear starts to grow within us as we consider what it takes to respond to what God might possibly be instructing us to do.

Earlier this fall when I returned home to Alabama, I visited the church where I grew up. I still know several of the people on staff, and they know my family well. They also know that my family and I have been walking through a really difficult season: five members of my family diagnosed with cancer within the past four years and just witchin the past year, my grandmother’s health rapidly decreasing. Moving home has made me even more aware of the pain that surrounds my family, and my heart has become somewhat calloused. At the end of the worship time during the service, our pastor asked people to come down to the altar and have staff members pray over them. There was no doubt about it. This was one of those times when you just know that God is nudging you to move. At first, even though I knew that’s what I needed to do, I said in my mind that I would just sit through it and enjoy the comfy chair. Nope. God wasn’t going to let that happen. I got the message and asked my mother to walk down there with me. We caught up with a close friend who prayed for my mother, family, and me. It was a sweet time and was exactly what I needed. God knew it. I knew it. I almost ignored it, but God melted my stubborness.

What is God asking you to do? Go do it.

Broken {Advent: December 1}


Then Job answered the Lord and said, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You; therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6

What’s broken in your life? Take an inventory of your life at this moment. Make a list of everything that needs healing and leave space between each item. For each item on your list, write down questions you’d like to ask God or things you’d like to voice to God about the healing process for that item. When you write these, be honest about how you feel. Don’t try to sweep negative feelings under the rug for the sake of wanting to be holy. God already sees you as holy because of Christ’s sacrifice for you, so you can’t do anything to add to it. You certainly don’t get any holier by lying to God about how you feel.

During one of my classes in seminary, our professor talked about the suffering that he and his family experienced while serving on the mission field. He asked God why he had to experience such suffering, and he explained to us that he had negative emotions and doubts. As soon as he finished expressing such vulnerability, a student boldly raised his hand and asked, “Well, you’re a seminary professor. Shouldn’t you have known better?” Oh help me. There are some things you don’t want to cross, and a mad Southern woman is one of them. Our professor kinda nodded like the guy had a point, but I couldn’t helped myself. Before I knew it, my hand darted up in the air and words started coming out of my mouth. “Are you serious? Are you seriously saying that right now? Do you honestly think that God appreciates your surface-level “reverence” when such reverence is really just a lie to coverup how you really feel towards God? You can’t hide anything from God, so you might as well be honest about how you feel.” Okay, I didn’t say it that harsh, but that is the essence of what I communicated.

The truth is that God cares about how we feel. While our emotions do not dictate his responses, our honest expression of every emotion reveals a genuine relationship with him. The oldest book of the Bible shows this type of relationship with the Father. If God is big enough to create the universe, is he not big enough to handle your darkest emotions? The answer is that he is big enough to handle your darkest emotions, and you’re relationship with God will only grow stronger as you trust him to handle such darkness. God’s response to your cries might be similar to his response to Job, but at least you won’t be feigning holiness by hiding what’s already in your heart.

So, again I ask you. What is broken in your life?