Welcome to Yes to God Tuesdays as I temporarily host for sweet Lelia the online study of Lysa Terkeurst's wonderful book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl.
Chapter 12: When God Hurts My Feelings
Hmmm...was my first thought upon reading this chapter's title. Because one of my flaws is being super sensitive...a curse and a blessing. Lysa says it best. "I don't know another way to say this, so I'll just shoot straight. Sometimes God hurts my feelings. Now, hear me out. I don't mean this in an irreverent way. I very much know my place, and I very much have a holy reverence for God. But tiptoeing around my gut reactions and pretending to be just fine-fine-fine with everything that comes my way doesn't pave an authentic connection between my heart and God's." God already knows our thoughts so He already know our feelings are hurt...hurt by Him. Admitting it begins healing and freedom.
I'm very bold in nature. Again, a blessing and a hurdle. Sometimes I am too bold and it takes discernment when to hold back and just zip it. Zip it shut and nip it. Nip it in the bud. "It's just that the bolder I am with pouring out my heart to Him, the bolder He is with His responses to me." So, I don't have to hold back my boldness with God. Like Lysa, I want God to be bold to help me discern between His voice speaking to me and my own. Much of my turmoil is not knowing when He is speaking and when it's simply me, especially in those desires that can be godly. God's boldness can enable us to look at things from His point of view.
When the painful situation of rejection and disappointment from losing a project turned into full-blown bitterness, Lysa went to God with her anger in boldness and she received the same in return. Not anger, but boldness.
Misperceptions. Sin-clouded views. Stubborn refusal.
"He addressed my misperceptions about the situation by helping me to see it from another perspective." It is so easy to do and we must remember God makes good out of bad. We never know when He is doing a work in the other person and not just us. He can make up for any loss.
"He helped me to see how sin clouded my view and that I was refusing to acknowledge my part." Sin...anger, bitterness, self-absorption. Often our view is clouded by what we think we deserve and what we think is "ours" whether it be opportunities or rights. The "mine" mentality.
"He showed me my stubbornness and my refusal to extend grace in my effort to prove I was right." Ouch. We want to be right. We want to see justice and fairness. Our flesh has this nasty temptation to want those who've hurt us to feel the same hurt. Maybe it's really a cry for our hurt to be acknowledged and understood by the "offender" inflicting the pain. But it's not our place to judge and withhold forgiveness or grace. What if God withheld forgiveness? Oh wait, He does if we withhold forgiveness. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:25 [my emphasis]
Hurting people hurt people.
Every hurt is an opportunity to grow. A lesson to be learned. A step to be strengthened. Our character to be shaped in Christ's likeness. Sometimes "the hurt comes in the form of a loss that cuts into your heart so viciously it forever redefines who you are and how you think." Lysa calls it deep grief "that strains against everything you've believed. So much so you wonder how the promises that seemed so real on those thin Bible pages yesterday could ever possibly stand up under the weight of your enormous sadness today." I couldn't have said it better. The weight does seem so enormous, too enormous even for our Mighty God to lift. Lysa later says "It's understandable, really. We are told from an early age that God can do anything, and we've read the stories about Jesus helping people. But how do we process such beliefs in the face of loss?...the loss of any kind hurts."
Processing this really is supernatural and takes the power of the Holy Spirit within us. There's no other way to wrap our minds around a God who can do anything but not save our loss. As Lysa says, it really is a matter of not focusing on the why. It is a natural reaction of our heart and mind to ask why. The danger is letting those questions manifest anger in us and push us away from God. "Trying to come to grips with the fact that God could have prevented this grief but didn't is a bit like trying to catch the wind and turn it into something visible."
I never thought about it but listen to what Lysa says here. "If God gave us His reason why, we would judge Him. And His reasons, from our limited perspective, would always fall short. That's because our flat human perceptions simply can't process God's multidimensional, eternal reasons." Isn't that true? He could give us a reason but would that satisfy us or would it just cause us to ask "but why?" Can't You, Lord, fulfill Your plan in another? Yes, His reasons would fall short because we would always find a reason to do it differently or another way He could fulfill it.
I find it no coincidence that after discussing deep grief, inability to understand, and questions of why, that Lysa quotes the verse of my blog. The verse I try to claim, as in try to focus on my life being in His hands and being done in His ways and not mine. I do not have the mind of God nor the understanding of God. But I must trust His ways to truly be so much better than what my small, lateral mind can fathom. Trust me, it's a daily reminder because I can see my plan working well and bringing God glory. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
His scope is wider. His thoughts are more complete. "He is more capable of accurately discerning what is best in every circumstance." I need to tape that to my forehead. It's not at all that I don't believe it but rather I know He doesn't infringe upon our free will. So, is His best occurring in my life if He's not able to have free reign and able to give me His best because He won't infringe upon the free will of others? His character won't invade free will.
Asking why to our deep grief can still make us feel God had made an awful mistake. So Lysa suggests we instead ask what. "Now that this has happened, what am I supposed to do with it?" [my emphasis]
"Good can come from any loss if we make the choice not to resist the birthing process required to bring this good to life." And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Every loss takes time. Time to see the good, even if only morsels at first. "It takes being caught off guard when you catch yourself smiling, only to realize it's okay." It's easy for me to make funnies because it's who I am and I desire to make others laugh (including myself). But when that laugh comes from deep inside and brings a sense of peace and joy, even for that moment, that is what catches me off guard. In addition to time, it takes prayer and "making the decision to stop asking for answers and start asking for perspective." Hmmm.
This chapter has really hit me in some good places...in some places of pondering. It's reinforced and shown me to:
♥ always trust God's plan
♥ be on guard for unforgiveness
♥ be bold in my pain to God
If you have more to share on your blog, please use MckLinky below to hook up. I would greatly welcome any comments even if you are not doing the study. You don't have to be reading this book to share your wisdom and insight to this post.
Seeking the Good, Releasing the Hurt,
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