What if we are scared to know God? I believe this is a legitimate question. I am writing this post on the heels of a difficult time in my own life. I would say most of my life has been pretty smooth sailing. I know people that have been through really traumatic experiences. For me, however, life has presented its own challenges, but nothing I would characterize as traumatic. I would say being diagnosed with a malignant skin cancer three years ago is the most trying time in my life (at the time, however, I was too naive to know how dangerous the situation actually was). But what if my relatively smooth sailing journey prevents me from obtaining a deeper understanding of the nature of God and therefore robbing me of greater joy and peace?
I occasionally hear people say we should pray for difficult seasons in life. I always think these guys are a little “off of their rocker.” Why would anybody pray for a difficult season? Life is going just fine God. Thanks though. You can reserve your difficult times for somebody else. Seasons of grief and doubt rob us of happiness and make us appear weak. Seasons of grief and doubt leave us with more questions than answers. Seasons of grief and doubt reveal to us we do not have it all together. But what if that’s a good thing?
We build such a high wall around our lives through our finances and job security and gated neighborhoods that I am scared many people believe in God only as long as He operates under the parameters of our “neighborhood covenant.” In other words, we are god and God is our genie. “God, make sure my family grows up healthy. Make sure I climb the ladder in my job so I can move to a nice two story house and live in a neighborhood where someone has to punch in a code to get inside (because that’s awesome…and it’s even more awesome when you know the code and you do not live in the neighborhood…makes you feel like you have access to secret info). Make sure I never struggle with my finances or have to ask anyone for help. As long as you can keep your end of the deal, I will pay my dues and show up for meetings. If you agree, sign here…”
What if the best thing that could ever happen to us is for God to break down our high walls? What if the most rewarding prayer we could ever pray is for God to send difficult times in our lives because it might help us attain a level of joy and peace we never thought possible? What if we were scared to know God on a deeper level because we were scared to appear broken to others? Seems like a ridiculous notion. Option 1: Know the infinitely powerful and gracious God of the universe that holds and sustains everything, including you…or, Option 2: build up a high wall and appear to others like you have it all under control when you actually don’t.
Here is a challenge for you…peruse through the Bible and find me a man or woman who is close to God and does not endure a very difficult season. Even our Lord and Savior’s life journey culminates with him hanging on a cross and nails piercing his body, saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 26:46). And literally what Jesus is asking God is why God takes him deep into the wilderness and leaves him there by himself. Wow! We like the following Jesus part until it gets to the cross. We tend to leave that stuff behind. But the reality is there is no Jesus without the cross, and Jesus understands there is no life without suffering. Jesus never avoids the difficult moments…he embraces them. And his difficult moments, and ultimately his death, give us hope. Maybe God designs seasons of grief and doubt so we can have life.
I think God knew he had to break me down because I was beginning to build my walls up too high. Thank you God. This season reminds me that uncovering something about the nature of God and his grace, mercy, and love is infinitely greater than living a storm-free life…even if it hurts. Are you scared to know God?