God is the answer

"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away."
C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces.

How often we think of questions we want to ask God when we get to heaven. I wonder if we think enough about whether our questions will still be relevant after the transition. Or if the questions don't die away when we see him, their emotional tone would be completely different. Instead of "Why did you allow X?" in a tone of "You'd better have a good explanation;" we might ask "Why did you allow X?" in a tone of "What gave you the idea that X could be made to work out as well as you worked it out?"

God with me

When life is hard, I have a choice. I can believe God has forgotten me, otherwise this hard thing would never have happened. Or I can believe in this hard time that God is with me even when I don't feel His presence.

There is a related choice. When life is hard, and I've prayed to God for help and it hasn't gotten easier: I can believe God doesn't care about this difficulty and wants me to cope on my own, otherwise he would have fixed it. Or I can believe that something precious and new can happen in my heart when I express to him the difficulties I am feeling.

When Psalm 23 says that God prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies, I think it means that we can be blessed even in the presence of difficulty. The blessing is the peace God gives in the midst of the difficulty.

Emotional honesty in prayer

The point of my posts about prayer as a Panther's fan (part 1 and part 2) was to say I should be honest with God about my emotions.

Here are some other encouragements I've found to be emotionally honest in prayer.

1) Psalm 22. We usually read it as a prophecy of Jesus' agony on the cross. It is that, and more, I think. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me?" When it really really hurts, saying so to God is not a lack of faith, but is the response of faith. The Psalmist tells God "I feel really, really alone" then reminds himself who God is and that this feeling of abandonment won't last forever.

2) The song "Never Alone" by Barlow Girl. (listen here). "I waited for you today, but you didn't show", followed by "I'll hold fast to what I know, you're here and I'm never alone." The same cycle of expressing the feeling of abandonment then reminding yourself God is with you that David shows in Psalm 22.

3) A quote from Augustine's Confessions in the 4th century.
It is then our affections which we lay open unto Thee, confessing our own miseries, and Thy mercies upon us, that Thou mayest free us wholly, since Thou hast begun, that we may cease to be wretched in ourselves, and be blessed in Thee;

I'd paraphrase those words like this: "We lay our emotions open to you, confessing our weaknesses and difficulties, that you might free us wholly; trusting not our own ability to manage our feelings, but your ability to manage our feelings."

4. From the Westminster Catechism:

Q. 98. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.

5. Speaker Sy Rogers describes a dialog with God about his evil thoughts: "Why don't you do with your filthy nasty thoughts what you have never dared do. Why don't you just admit them and submit them to me." (The part I'm quoting starts just after 3:00 in the video.)