In Monday’s post, “Holy Tantrum,” I gave a specific example of some gut-level, ugly-honest communication between God and me. That was pretty straightforward and I have nothing to add to the tale of my tantrum or the incredible fruit that resulted. But I would like to share a small but significant exchange I had with the Lord about the ugly-honest tantrum itself.
It hasn’t been easy for me to be mean and nasty and ugly with God. In fact, it gets harder all the time. Just as it has never been easy to blow up all over the people I love – usually family and very close friends. Sometimes they’re collateral damage in an unrelated purge of frustration or rage, and sometimes I didn’t address problems when I should have, letting them compound until the last straw breaks my back and I go berserk. It hurts me to hurt the people I love. And I feel the same about God.
I felt just awful after this latest go-round, and I finally asked God how He could bear it when I did this over and over. I mean, if I said to another human being the things that I said to Him, they’d be just GONE from my life. It would break them! And if someone that I loved said these sorts of things to me even once, let alone somewhat regularly, it would devastate me. It was starting to break my heart to have these conversations with Him, so how could He bear it? Why hadn’t He washed His hands of me?
His response was unexpected. Yes, we’re in a relationship. Yes, I respond to you, heart-to-heart. But this isn’t an equal relationship, because we’re not equals. I’m GOD.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103:14 NKJV
It’s a bit of a paradox, really. God is GOD and He’s more than capable of bearing the truth of my heart, the darkness that must be brought into the Light. BUT, He does respond to me, and He’s not displeased that it hurts me to hate any part of Him. He’s not a frail human whose heart can be broken with a few words, but He’s not untouchable or unreachable either.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
James 4:8a NASB
So He settled my heart a bit, and gave me a much-needed reminder about the “messiness” of sanctification: There’s no clean way to be made holy. Not for anyone. “He remembers that we are dust” and is unphased that His creation is operating in the exact way that He knew it would. You don’t write a child off as defective just because it takes them more than a day to potty-train. And I should think that God, being Perfect Love, is even less inclined to panic or be discouraged by what it takes to “present [us] faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24 NKJV).