By Rick Warren
“He has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones. He has besieged and surrounded me?with anguish and distress. He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead .… And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers.” (Lamentations 3:4-6, 8 NLT)
We all go through a time when our lives seem to be falling apart. We lose our job. A relationship falls apart. Someone dies. Our health takes a turn for the worse.
In those times, we’re tempted to think God has abandoned us.
But he hasn’t.
The ancient prophet Jeremiah was in the same boat when he wrote the book of Lamentations. His country, Judah, endured an economic tailspin and was terrorized by a foreign enemy. He witnessed incredible inhumanities committed against his people. People were out of work and starving to death.
Where did Jeremiah start? He told God how he felt. In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah says: “He [God] has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones. He has besieged and surrounded me?with anguish and distress. He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead .… And though I cry and shout, he has shut out my prayers” (NLT).
Does it surprise you that these words are in the Bible? Jeremiah, too, felt God had forgotten him. But Jeremiah didn’t ignore what he was feeling. He didn’t sugarcoat the situation. He told God what was on his heart. In fact, Jeremiah spent five chapters telling God what he thought about the situation. He told God, “This stinks!”
Why would God put that kind of passage in the Bible? He wants you to know that he can handle your anger, your gripes, and your grief. Jeremiah spends an entire book of the Bible blowing off steam. If God was big enough to handle Jeremiah’s pain, he’s big enough to handle yours, too.
Swallow your emotions, and you just hurt yourself. Your stomach will keep score!
Instead, unload them on God.
When my kids were little, they’d throw temper tantrums. Their temper tantrums didn’t make me love them any less. They didn’t make me doubt my decisions. They didn’t make me feel like less of a father.
They reminded me that my kids were immature. They didn’t know what I knew.
God doesn’t love you any less when you throw a temper tantrum. He doesn’t owe you an explanation, but he is never afraid of what you have to say.
So tell him. It’ll be the beginning of healing.
Talk It Over
– What is going on in your life that you’ve been afraid to talk to God about?
– Why is it difficult to be honest with God about our struggles?
– Try writing a letter to God about your struggles. How does it help to put these words on paper? What can you more easily say to God by writing rather than speaking?
Rick Warren has helped people live with hope and on purpose for more than 40 years. He’s the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California and author of several books, including “The Purpose Driven Church” and “The Purpose Driven Life,” read by more than 100 million people in 137 languages. He created the PEACE Plan (plant churches of reconciliation, equip servant leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, educate the next generation), which is used by churches in 196 countries. His radio teaching and daily devotional, Daily Hope, is offered across America.
This devotional © 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.