Confessions of a Christian-The case of the Spirit proof earmuffs
A chilling confession...
That's it, creep closer and I'll give you my confessions... I am a Christian who likes to wear earmuffs...It's true. It's also a terribley embarrassing secret for a Christian to admit...
So this is the scene: It's 2009 and I have been crippled spiritually, mentally and emotionally by the same problem for almost a year. I have prayed about it many times. I feel I have had no real response from God. I feel He doesn't take my distress seriously. I feel He doesn't care. I would never say that to other Christians of course. They wouldn't understand. They would be aghast at my faithlessness. They would be discouraged by this person who wasn't so fine and dandy. I will just go on doing the chirpy thing and smiling like I have a frisbee stuck in my mouth and all the while wonder if anyone else feels this way. Do other people secretly believe that God only cares about His own agenda whether or not His children are spiritually well?
I walk through Church. I keep smiling. I have a reputation for being a smiley, chirpy person you see, and I wouldn't want to draw curiosity to my changed behavior. Surely then it would only be a matter of time before my suspicion of God being indifferent to me and my sufferings would come out. No No, can't allow that. Keep on smiling, laugh often, make some jokes. Good, nobody knows anythings wrong. That my hope is dying. I am submitted to suffering. I suddenly can't bare to be in Church keeping up this facade anymore. I have done my faithful chirpy Christian duty, now time to go home and once more fall on my knees before God to beg Him to remove this suffering from me. The sermon was encouraging. I believe if I go home now and earnestly pray then God will provide me with some relief. I just want to hear Him speak...It's been so long...
I am home, and once more I am falling before God in desperate prayer to save me from the despair that has clouded over everything in my life. I ask to see clearly and have hope renewed. This is when He does it. You see He always does this, He always gives me the same answer that He knows I am not capable of acting on. I plead in my weakness hoping that He will come to realise I can't do it that way. I can't deal with the root of this problem in the way He tells me to. So I go back again and again with the same desperate prayer for relief, with the same grief. Over time the answer becomes quieter and quieter. It's not the answer I want. It's not the action I'm capable off. God is going to let this pain diminish over time. Maybe it will...
Many things go through my head over the months: Maybe God wants to teach me to pray more diligently, maybe He wants me to become stronger by making Him my strength, maybe this is all about learning I do not belong to this world and while in it I must carry my cross...I'm really learning hot carry my cross for sure. It's heavy. I feel so weak sometimes, so hopeless.
Over the months I have prayed intermittently. I have went through phases of believing if I pray faithfully to the Father then He will reward my faithfulness with relief from this stumbling block. My burden may be lifted day by day. Funny thing I notice though; when I consult God's word and pray while at my lowest I feel convicted that God wants me to do what I felt He kept telling me in the first place. I can't believe this- God knows I'm too weak for this. It would break me. I think I'm already broken and just holding together most of the time anyway...
Time continues and it drags. I feel each moment some days. I now understand the thorn in the side phrase. I'm sure I am bleeding out and it's something that will never go away. I pray about it still sometimes. I feel God is staying silent because I ask for His deliverance but won't do it His way. I feel that is selfish. I feel it is cruel. God has the power to reach out and heal but He doesn't. He hardly ever talks to me nowadays anyway. Sometimes when I do put in the effort to build up my hope and pray I don't even feel that He is there....but God's always there so I know that can't be true. But I don't get any response at all. Not even the feeling I'm being listened to.
Of course I know that It's not that He's not there and it's not that He doesn't answer- well at least I don't think It's that. I've been getting the feeling lately that God is sick of my refusing to hear Him. Is He waiting for me to put my faith in Him. I think He has a plan. I have a feeling it is going to be hard for me to follow through with but I'm going to do it. I know I don't have the strength, but I've told Him that and when I petition Him He insists I should do It His way. I have a growing belief, a little flicker of hope that God will give me the strength to do this. I start praying to do God's will and for God to change me into the kind of person who CAN do it.
One day I wake up and I just know it's time to do it, and I do! I feel relief at having taken the action God had told me to take. I am almost too scared to talk to God about it, to ask for His blessing of that action, to ask for His comfort as I await the result and deal with it whatever it is...It's not good- AT FIRST! But it becomes wonderful! I look back now and think those tiny bumps in the road when I did surrender to God's will and put my confidence in Him are nothing compared to the peace I know now- and even the peace I knew right away the day I was finally ready and commissioned to act on His will. See God was always there. He knew just what He was doing- even in my darkest and most hopeless moments. Through my anger and distrust God was working on me..
And then it dawned on me. God had been talking all the time- well everytime I was prepared to listen. I just hadn't been willing to listen often. I had chosen to shut out God because I didn't like His answer. I had been wearing earmuffs in the presence of God! "Lord God, tell me your well I beg of you! Relieve my distress and explain what I am going through!...Wait a minute Lord, I will just get my earmuffs on..."
"what is that God, no I'm sorry I can't hear you. You will have to speak up!"
....Why don't you talk to me God??? Why do you ignore me?? Don't you care?!!
Wait a minute...would I talk to someone who obviously didn't want to hear what I had to say? What would I do If I tried earnestly to reach out to someone I wanted to and was able to help- and they stuck earmuffs on, all the while building a case of how I wasn't willing to help them?? I realised something valuable then. We all in this world point the finger at God for allowing terrible things- believers or not, and all the while we petition Him for change without being willing to listen! Such a fickle creature am I, I will accept God's guidance and turn my ear to him when It suites me- but if it doesn't - EARMUFF TIME!!!
- Then this occurred to me too!!! When I prayed to God and asked Him to make me into the person who could do His will in that particular instance He had started doing that before I even prayed for that. All the distrust replaced with trust, the hopelessness replaced with hopefulness, the the suspicion of God's intentions and agenda replaced with immovable conviction. My prayers too had become more earnest. I had too became more compassionate and patient towards others in sufferings. Without these thing I could not have done God's will in this situation. I only realise that now! I knew God had changed me to be the person I needed to serve Him as He willed in this situation- but I didn't stop to think how God had began answering my prayer long before I even asked Him it!!!
So here it is folks. For a long time I suffered, and for a long time I begged, even cried for deliverance. I resented God's inaction. I heard His advice and I dd not like it. I couldn't do it. God would know that already and before long He would offer me an alternative I could manage. All those days and nights I felt He wasn't listening, all those desperate times I knew He could hear me but didn't answer- He was answering through me life! I was changing!
See that's the thing. God's not interested in what we can manage. He wants to ask Him, take our earmuffs of and listen!!He wills to see us manage through Him- to do it in His strength. He wants to see His children run to Him and grip His hand for dear life itself as He walks us Home- whichever root He takes- and it's never what we expect. Well I know Lord, I threw some tantrums and kicked and screamed along the way! I'm sure I even let you know once or twice that you would regret it if you made me do it your way and Lord rest assured I could show you what a sulk looks like! Grrr! Well it's a good thing God not unaccustomed to His kids throwing a tantrum.... ;)
Will I wear earmuffs again- probably! Will you??
Now here's the deal folks- you may think earmuffs make you look cute and absolve you of blame when you don't hear daddy talk, but rest assured, ABBA will wait patiently and let you dig yourself a hole until you take those earmuffs off and given Him ear!
:) MORE TESTIMONIES OF GOD' WORK IN MY LIFE AND CONFESSIONS :)
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