How honest can God tolerate me being with him? Could he tolerate me being honest enough to complain, honest enough to differ, honest enough to even accuse or blame?
How honest can I be with God? I think was a question Job pondered with his miserable counsellors. At times Job seems to be painfully honest as he speaks about being shot through with the poison arrows of God, or having his feet placed in stocks and his soul in torment. The well quoted text, “though he slay me yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15), was spoken more in the context of Job’s bold assumptions as opposed to his physical sufferings.
Part of the difficulty Job’s councillors had with him was the way he would presume to speak about God in ways they considered inappropriate.
Have you ever at times felt so angry with God you had to forcibly mute yourself because you deemed an outburst would be inappropriate?
Have you ever felt so disappointed, so betrayed, so let down that you wished that just for a brief minute, you could vent all that frustration and disappointment in whatever language you chose, and not feel in that same moment you’d be struck down or erased from the planet?
The book of Psalms if nothing else is a book of honest rantings, where David and others vent their frustrations, voice their worries, plead their angst’s and assume a boldness that at times is staggering, as they blame and accuse or try and work through chaotic thoughts inevitably involved in following a mysterious and unfathomable God.
Here’s the thing…God is cool with my anger. He’s okay with my complaining and my frustration. What God develops in those that follow him is an honest rappour, a genuine heart expressed in to and fro.
What comes out of the real me in my real life circumstances and situations, is the reality that God calls for, the reality he desires. For if I cannot be emotionally honest in life’s dark tunnels, then what we have together is a facade, an arrangement, a contract, not a relationship.
Part of the deal of good healthy relationship is the space and opportunity it provides for either party to say what they feel and feel what they say.
If our language is to be curtailed and our emotions contained, then what we have may work at some levels but it is never authentic relationship.
The deal is be honest with God for he will always be honest with you. But if we are bold enough to speak our mind and voice our angst’s, then we must also be brave enough to receive God’s honesty, His, at times, piercing and painful assessment of just who we are and where we are.
Perhaps one of the boldest prayers David ever prayed was for God to search him and try his heart, and know his ways. Asking God to flick his penetrating spotlight onto our souls is a bold if not suicidal request.
But I think David, classified as he was as a man after God’s own heart, had enough honesty and authenticity passing between him and his creator, that praying such prayers seemed a natural and normal thing to do.
So the next time you find yourself on your knees battling with less than agreeable emotions and thoughts, don’t hold back! Be as open and honest with God as you would expect him to be with you. Be presumptuous enough to voice your soul but remain brave enough to receive his answer, even an answer you may not want to hear.