He woke me up at six-thirty this morning. Not so unusual, really. Also not unusual that I wake up because I usually have to go to the bathroom. (Incidentally, I’m wondering if this bathroom thing is normal, or if it’s a turning fifty thing. Hmm.) So, I wake up early this morning and instantly know that God wants to spend some time with me. I’ve neglected Him. A lot. And I’ve suffered because of it. It’s my own doing, I know. I have no excuse.
But getting up early to talk to the Lord this morning, I quickly realized how lax I’d been. As I sat there beginning my time with God this morning, I started my prayer time like I always do, saying the words I always say, and I realized that my words we like a ritual. They had become a routine. My own kids don’t talk to me about the same things every time they talk to me. Why would I say the same things to God? My words had no meaning, no feeling, no emotion. I had become stagnant… and that upset me more than anything. My heart broke.
I realized that I had not been honest with God. I was saying the same things because truthfully I just didn’t want to be honest. I was afraid that my honesty with my Heavenly Daddy would cause Him to think less of me. I was afraid that if I were honest with Him about how I felt, honest with Him about the things that were causing me fear and concern, that somehow He would think I didn’t have enough belief in Him or His healing. The problem was not with God. The problem was with me.
“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” *
When we aren’t being honest with ourselves, we are also not being honest with God. It was just after a very tearful and humbling conversation with the Lord that I picked up my devotional and opened it. I recently received Sheila Walsh’s new devotional, “5 Minutes with Jesus.” I had brought it with me on my recent trip to my daughter’s and had yet to spend those five minutes with Him at all, much less open the devotional. This morning was as good a time as any.
If you know me at all, you know that I’m a bit OCD when it comes to books, devotionals, or anything that you have to read or participate in in a sequence. It bugs me if I get out of order. But this morning I opened the devotional and it wasn’t on the first page. I had opened the book to the second devotion. But I couldn’t go back because my heart told me to read the one I opened to. The title was, “Being Honest With God.” How fitting.
In the devotion Sheila tells a story of a woman who came up to her as she was signing books and yelled, “I’m angry!” The point was not that the woman was angry as much as she was hurting. As Sheila talked to the woman, she asked her if she had let God see her rage. The woman was horrified and declared that she couldn’t talk to God like that. But it was Sheila’s next statement that hit home with even me. She asked the woman whether she thought God already knows. Because He does know. She wanted this woman to know that He loved her and He wanted her to trust Him enough to tell Him the whole truth about what she was feeling.
God knows our whole story and He loves us. Anyway. Despite ourselves. Despite our mistakes. He loves us right where we are, in the pit of despair, in the rage we feel at the circumstances of our lives, or losses, our sickness, our pitiful excuses for being a human, God loves us. Not only that, He also wants us to be truthful with Him and tell Him everything that we are feeling.
Here’s the deal, reading this devotion this morning I learned within myself that I don’t have to hide anything from God because frankly, He already knows everything about me. He even knows those things I’m hiding even from myself because I don’t want to deal with them. I can’t put anything over on God. And that in itself for me is overwhelming. Who am I that He would love me anyway? Who am I that He would send His Son, Jesus to die for me? Yet He did, and He does. Might as well fess up.
No one is exempt from God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness, unless of course you just outright reject it. So whatever your story is today, you can go to Him, tell Him, talk to Him, and trust Him with it.
Though I started my time with Him in hesitance and resistance, I finally got frustrated and just spilled everything. The gut-wrenching sobs that emitted immediately upon the release of the truth were not in vain, nor were they because of shame. Though it hurt for an instant, it didn’t cause God to push me away in disgust. No. What happened instead was an immediate and peaceful gathering of child to loving Father. He had missed me. He misses you, too.
God is such a merciful, loving, forgiving Father. He’s our Daddy. He made us, so why wouldn’t He know all about us and care about us. Like we love our own children and never condemn them, God loves us and never condemns us. We can always go to Him, tell Him the deepest, darkest secrets of our lives, things we wouldn’t even tell our best friend. He already knows. And He loves us anyway.
So, are you being honest with God today? Why not take a few minutes today and trust Him. You may be pleasantly and peacefully surprised.
* Mark 9:24, NKJV