Happy-clappy, smiley, cheesy Christianity has always annoyed me. Those who always try to paint a positive picture, or offer some cheesy Christian line as an answer to any problem. Or the worst line you can hear when you suffer “God uses everything for good” – which might well be true (in fact, I know it is from experience), but in the midst of our dark days it’s not what we want or need to hear
Truth is, God doesn’t always heal people. He doesn’t resolve every problem. And sometimes it feels like He’s not just at all. Try telling the pastor who with his wife prayed and raised someone from the dead and in the next year saw his wife get fatal cancer which killed her within 3 months that God is just.
Yet some Christians want to act like it’s all okay, when we all know it’s not.
This is one of the biggest problems people have with the Christian church. Because everyone knows this world isn’t perfect. It’s not all happy ever after. It’s not all simple, easy and wonderful all the time. Life is unfair, it’s unjust, and we have no idea why. And it just doesn’t equate to a God who we are told is full of unconditional love, and is perfectly just.
I believe God exists. I know He does. I’ve heard from Him, I’ve had intimacy with Him, He’s blessed me in lots of ways, and when I’ve experienced true grace – the grace that exposes the truth of who you are and tells you you’re loved unconditionally anyway – then I’ve been humbled, overwhelmed and known true joy. Only yesterday I commented on Facebook on how much I feel God has given me, how amazing His grace is. And I know this.
But then you have bad days.
In these moments everything seems to overwhelm you. One thing happens, then another, then another, and it makes no sense. You don’t understand why one moment God is being amazing, and then another just everything and anything which can go wrong, does. And all your insecurities, fears and ultimately the truth of what you really feel is exposed. And it’s not nice to hear.
We want to run away and hide from these feelings, these thoughts, because they aren’t palatable to us and maybe because we know in our mind they aren’t actually the truth, or grounded in truth. But it doesn’t change the fact they exist. You can know God is perfectly loving, just, good and gracious – yet in the next breath feel like God hates your guts, that He is turning all His attack dogs on you, and you even say you hate Him right now.
Yes, hate. I don’t use that word lightly here. I have had moments I truly hated God. Because when you are angry, when hurt and bitterness engulf you, it’s easy to feel a moment of hatred.
But at the same time, in those very moments, I still loved Him. I still love Him now.
I’ve loved Him for who He is, for what He’s done, for what I know is fundamentally true about Him. But I’ve hated Him because I don’t understand what He’s doing in my life and why He’s doing it. Why He allows certain events or circumstances from my past to occur.
In the end, there is one thing I cannot disavow. Jesus is true. He is real. He is exactly who He said He is. Whether I believe it or not, He does love me just like He says He does. And in comparison to a large number of people in the world, I’m very blessed.
That doesn’t lessen any hurt, anger, bitterness, or hatred I feel towards Him, or invalidate it. It doesn’t answer all the questions I have – and maybe I’ll never know all the answers. None of us will.
I’ve been through my fair share of suffering, and it left deep scars, which I know haven’t fully healed. So I just have to keep being honest with God, and with myself. Not hide from my darkness, from the words I don’t want to speak but which I do feel, but acknowledge them. Because it’s only through honest interaction with God that I’ll be able to sift the truth from the lies, and that those scars can eventually, over time, be healed.
So be honest with yourself about how you feel. Don’t hide or run away. And be honest with God too.
Because despite appearances, He is who He says He is. And after all, it’s not like He doesn’t know already.
Have you ever questioned God?
Do you sometimes hate God even though you love Him?
Let me know in the comments below!
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(Picture: Denis Skley via Creative Commons)