I just read a friend's post about God's severe mercy. I think we can all identify with 'severe mercy'. Why doesn't God ever work in a way that we expect, in a way that we understand? It all sounded too familiar and what I've been learning started to come together in an almost cohesive form. I'll start with a few excerpts from my journal.
September 21st, 2008
. . . I feel like life is to much to handle. I heard someone teaching that the idea that You never give us more than we can handle is a lie. I'm inclined to believe him. You're goal isn't for me to handle it, but to surrender, give it up, quit. Ah! How I hate to be a quitter! It isn't being a quitter to leave off a bad habit. I guess handling life is a bad habit.
I don't feel as though I've been trying to handle it. Have I? Have I been trying to deny the pain again? I suppose so. It is so 'normal' to be in pain. I can't be crying every day. . .
September 29th, 2008
. . . My heart is so dull. I try to think of something that would ease the pain but there isn't anything. Mom just suggested that I ask for a word from You, but I know better. You give words when You want to and just because I'm in pain doesn't mean that You will. So, I don't ask, because a denial would be worse than not asking. I can't take any more hope deferred.
That sounds so wrong. Am I bitter at You? I know that You are my comforter. Why am I not comforted? Or, do I take Your comfort for granted because it never goes away? What am I to do with my pain? I wish I could take it off like a heavy coat in fine weather.
Now I must qualify these excerpts. They are small blurbs that I chose to make my point. I don't live in the depths of despair, though I do usually journal somewhere near there. The pain that I mention in these is not physical. If you are living right now, I think you'll be able to identify in some measure. Life hurts.
In the excerpt where I wrote about being comforted and a word from God I felt as though even God couldn't say anything that I didn't already know. I didn't believe that He would or could give me comfort in that moment.
After these depressing outpourings I went and read some Psalms. (When I was little, I couldn't stand the Psalms. David is always in the depths of despair or in the heights of joy, often both in the same Psalm. I just wrote them off as dramatic and sappy. Be careful what you judge.) I was comforted. I can't tell you how. I can't say that I got a word from God. No particular verse seemed to apply, nothing even noteworthy.
When the day first got quiet enough for the pain to come to the foreground I had many options. I could have watched a movie, read a book, got on a computer, talked to a someone. These are all things that I have done in the past. The former few make me forget the pain for a little longer; God has used people to comfort me in the past. This time though, He called me to Himself.
First I was honest; I used to call it whining but God told me it was honesty. As I did, He started to speak to me. The phrase, "quitting a bad habit isn't being a quitter" the place where I say, "That sounds wrong" those weren't my ideas. Then, I didn't have anything else to say and He didn't seem to be saying anything either, so I went to the Bible.
As I read He kept using little phrases or words to make me think of things, that reminded me of things, that reminded me of Him. He redirected my focus when I couldn't see anything but pain.
Because of this, I go to God quicker and my expectations are healed. I no longer fear more crushed hope from the only one who can revive my hope. My heart now believes, as my head has for a long time, that when I come to God my needs will be filled. So what if I can't explain how? I no longer fear that He might not speak to me. I'm okay if He doesn't. He is satisfying. I will have to return again, but who ever complained that an enjoyable experience had to be repeated?
I hope this gives you as much hope as it does me.