Today was my last day of school for the semester, officially! I got to school early this morning to finish cleaning out my dorm, then I took my last final before coming home. Nothing about today was anything that I would consider bad. It’s my mom’s birthday. I hung out with my roommate before we took our final — we got food from Taco Mama (10/10, by the way.. it’s our fav). It was what would normally be a pretty good day! I say all of this to point out that negative emotions from a painful situation can hit out of nowhere, without warning, and that happened today.
I prayed out loud on my drive home from school. This isn’t anything new for me, because I haven’t been listening to music while I drive these days. I’ve found that I feel the most calm when I drive in silence or pray instead of listening to music — at least during this season. I was praying pretty much the same kind of prayer that I’ve been praying for the past few months. I asked for God’s peace, for his healing, for clarity, for wisdom… all that good stuff. I don’t remember the exact words I was praying, but somewhere in there I started to feel overwhelmingly sad. I think sometimes certain things I say when I pray or certain thoughts that come into my head can just make the reality of my situation hit me harder than usual.
I immediately started crying. Not just a couple discreet tears, but real, completely-ruin-your-makeup crying. The kind of crying that turned what was supposed to be just another conversation with God into a complete bout of rage towards him.
So many thoughts entered my mind and I voiced them as soon as they came.
I have been persistent for months, and nothing is any different. Why?
Why are you allowing me to continuously experience pain like this when I am doing everything you told me to do? I am doing everything I possibly can to heal in the healthiest way. Why are you allowing this to be so prolonged?
If I was wrong about what I thought your plan was for me, why did you let me believe that I knew?
Why can’t you just take this pain away from me if my situation is never going to change?
I threw all of these questions/accusations at God, and the crying didn’t stop. I even went so far as to ask God when I got home why he couldn’t “at least make my bunny like me!” when I tried to hold him (Cooper does not appreciate being handled, let me tell you). Basically, I was a complete mess and I was irrationally mad at God (I mean, I blamed him for my bunny being skittish, for crying out loud).
I talk a lot about trusting God in hard times — about how it’s important to remember that he has a plan for everything we go through and that he is working on bringing good things out of the trials we experience, even when we can’t see what he is doing. I truly believe this. I remind myself of it all the time, and it helps me to keep pushing on when I feel like what I’m doing is not making any difference. Today was a different story. Today, I looked at my situation and I looked at all the prayers I’ve been praying for who even knows how long now, and I got angry. Because from where I stand right now, I don’t see God doing anything.
I know my situation will work out in one of two ways — restoration of what I originally wanted in a way that was better than it was, or complete healing for my heart and something else that will exceed my expectations. I thought about this earlier, and I realized that I don’t feel the Lord moving in one way or another. I don’t feel him moving at all. It is the most frustrating/draining/discouraging feeling in the world to see no progress in something you have continuously prayed for. Normally, I push past the thoughts that begin to question if my prayers are being heard, because I know they always are, but today I just couldn’t do it. I broke down and I got angry with the Lord for seeming so silent in the middle of my hurt.
Sometimes, there comes a point when you take a step back from all the things you’re doing to see the Lord’s plan come to fruition and think, “what’s the point? Nothing I’m doing is making any difference,” and that’s what I was feeling this afternoon. It almost felt like some sort of game to me. Like God was trying to see how far he could push me — how long he could make me wait before I finally broke.
First of all, I know that’s not really how it is. God doesn’t play games with us, and he never does things to try and make us squirm. I’ve been listening to a lot of Bethel’s music lately, and the song Pieces seems very relevant to what I’m talking about right now. The song is all about how intensely the Lord loves us, and one lyric in particular that comes to mind is “you don’t hide yourself to tease us.” He doesn’t have any kind of agenda. He doesn’t have any ill will towards us. He wants only the best for us, and I know sometimes it may not appear that way because we can only view our circumstances through human eyes, but we have to trust that God knows what he’s doing and the wait is not for no reason.
Secondly, I realize that my breaking point seems a little pathetic when compared to others in the Bible who had to wait extended periods of time to see the Lord’s will carried out. I mean, Abraham and Sarah had to wait literal decades before the Lord fulfilled his promise of giving them a son. In the New Testament, Jesus didn’t come to heal Lazarus until after he was already dead — I don’t blame Mary and Martha for giving up hope at that point! There are so many different stories in the Bible of people who had to wait a long time in circumstances that seemed hopeless to see God’s glory revealed — and here I am having a meltdown over a situation that is hardly 6 months in the making.
I don’t say this to invalidate myself or anyone else who is having a hard time waiting on the Lord, because I obviously know that waiting is one of the absolute most painful things. I say it to show that God is active even when it seems like he’s idle. I honestly can only imagine what Abraham and Sarah must have been thinking while waiting for a son.
God, where are you?
Did we hear you wrong?
Are you even listening to us?
Mary and Martha felt the same kind of frustration and confusion.
God, why didn’t you come sooner?
All of these things sound pretty familiar, right? Our anger and frustration over periods of waiting is nothing new to God. The type of anger I expressed to the Lord today is the same anger he has received from countless biblical figures throughout history. And the good thing is, he is not upset with us when we are upset with him. He is not disappointed in us when our faith is shaky at times. He understands that we can’t understand what he is doing and that we don’t have the viewpoint he does. But, looking back at all the stories in the Bible that show the Lord’s provision through times of waiting gives me hope that I will see an end to this season — and that’s true for anyone who is in a season of waiting on the Lord. Sometimes it feels like the waiting will last forever because I’m right in the middle it, and I’m sure everyone in the Bible who had to practice patience felt the same way. But, it won’t. The Lord is carrying me through, just like he did Abraham and Sarah. Just like he did Mary and Martha. Just like he did everyone else in the Bible who had to wait on his timing. And the great thing is, every single one of these people who had to wait for the Lord saw his promises fulfilled.
I know I will see his promises fulfilled in my life, too. It can be so tempting to just give up when it seems like God isn’t working, but it is so important to be persistent in prayer and in faith. Giving up can’t be an option just because it seems too hard to keep going — I’m a firm believer of that, in every circumstance. I know the Lord is moving even when it seems like he is completely still. I also know I will likely have more days where I break down and get angry with God over what I’m walking through right now. But, I know he is able to handle my frustration, and praise God that my anger towards him has no effect on his love for me.
It’s important to remember that a bad day is just a bad day. Tomorrow can be better. Things are going to get better, regardless of how it feels right now. The Lord has a plan, regardless of what it looks like at the moment. The Lord has the power to restore or completely heal, regardless of what we are able to comprehend. I know the Lord is going to make me happy again, and that’s something I want to remember even on the days I get frustrated because I can’t see past the pain of right now. God has something good in store for me at the end of this difficult season, and that’s a hope that everyone who is waiting on the Lord can cling to.