Today, JR reminds us that faith is a process, and that it's ok to struggle.
While I had the same guttural response that left me shaken, I could not say it was because I had never learned who God was or how to pray. I knew God. I had prayed. I had prayed often. But the difference was that I had reached a point where I couldn’t pray… I simply didn’t know how to pray in any way that would make God hear me. I had wandered too far from the path where God walked. So far, that I could no longer hear Him calling me to come back. And so far, that calling out to Him seemed pointless. He would never hear me anyway.
I didn’t have time to learn how to pray before things continued to spiral downward. Family members were falling apart, relationships were being strained under the weight of grief. I was too busy playing the role of peacemaker and trying to hold everyone together to learn how to pray. Death has wreaked havoc in our family and caused more hurt as each reacts to it without understanding the consequences of those actions. Without knowing how to pray, I no longer knew how to help anyone. I couldn’t give them to God because God wasn’t hearing my prayers. But everyone continued to come to me just as they always had. As more and more issues were brought to me, I stood in the midst of it all saying “I don’t know how” to pray and letting myself go numb because that was easier than feeling the pain. I continued to listen but the weight of trying to carry those burdens by myself was overwhelming.
And so here I am… being an Oliver. I’ve put on an armor that few can see through in order to get close to me. I keep my environment controlled and everything follows a certain order. I’m practical. And I do the right thing for everyone around me. I’m a peacemaker, because peace is essential. Like Oliver, I know who God is. I know what His Word says and have even quoted it. I go to church regularly and even sang in the choir at one point. And yet, I doubt His love for me and my love for Him because He has broken my heart, repeatedly. How can I let Him in and trust that my heart will not be broken again? I stand here wanting so desperately to be loved by Him… and terrified of letting Him, much the same way that Oliver stands before Shane and his Dad… and maybe even God.
I know that His love is essential through this healing process. And so how do you move forward through all of the pain and hurting? You find yourself a Norman and a Rita… or perhaps 12 of them… and you let them speak truth into your heart… because none of them ever tell you you’re wrong to feel the way you do… they just walk along side of you and support you along the way, reminding you that God will meet you right where you are.
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