This is a post in which I am going to make myself vulnerable. I have never shied from the truth of grief, healing, and faith, and I am not going to start shying away from it now.
I have a friend who is going through a pretty difficult time. I am going to leave the specifics out because the issue I'm talking about is not an issue with her. It's an issue of my heart.
As I've grown in my love for God over the past few years, God has revealed parts of my life that need refining. The situation with my friend is showing me where I need some refining. It's showing me how ugly my heart really is.
My friend is in a situation that in a small way, is something I have also faced. It is something that I, of all people, should feel compassion for. It is something I should rejoice with the triumphs, and cry out to God in the valleys.
But I can't.
The last update I received about my friend's situation said something along the lines of, "God heard my prayers and he answered them. It's because I spoke Jesus's name over the situation that we received healing."
Where was my healing? Where was Joshua's healing? Why weren't my prayers answered?
Before I get into it, I know that my friend is wrong. I know that God answered the prayers with a "yes" because it was within His will to do so. I know he heard my prayers just as much as he heard my friend's prayers. I know His will was a "no" and "not yet" for me. I know his sovereignty is always right, and I ultimately trust it.
But my heart screams out in bitterness. And I don't want to let it go.
I am so bitter that my friend's situation seems to be resolving and has been moving towards healing. I am so bitter that God has allowed her to live in the bliss of believing that her prayers were answered by God in the way that she wanted them to go because he listened to her and accepted her request. I am bitter that she is allowed to continue believing that God can be manipulated by our prayers like so many Christians believe. I guess maybe I'm just bitter that I was taken to the pit of despair while some are left to live in ignorance. Isn't ignorance supposed to be bliss?
So where does that leave me? It leaves me looking at my heart. It's an ugly heart with ugly things hidden in the crevices and dark corners. It's an ugly heart that shows its true nature of who I am, and my desperate need for a savior. It's an ugly heart that is undeserving of the friends that I have when I feel the way I do. Who wants a friend that can't rejoice and weep with them?!
So why can't I let it go? Why can't I just bask in God's goodness and grace? Why do I allow my bitterness to fester and point it toward others who "got their way?" I don't really want my friends to suffer like I did, do I? (of course not!!!!)
It's a heart issue, with the roots seeded in my continued anger towards God for not allowing me to have my way.
They are roots that are deeply seeded and give me a sense of control in my life. They are roots from the evil one telling me that I know better than God. Lies!!!! All of those things are LIES!!!!
God's answer of "no" in my life has brought me to a deeper understanding of who he is and how desperately I need a savior. If he answered my prayers the way I wanted him to 4 years ago, I would never be able to understand and love him in the ways that I do now. I wouldn't be able to dig deeper into his word- I wouldn't have seen the need. I would have never been able to know God's love for me in the way that I do.
So why can't I fill the crevices of my heart with compassion, love, joy, and faith? Why does my heart continue to cry out in anguish over what I lost? Why do the seeds of bitterness continue to take root and spread like poison?
I have been praying the past few days about how to handle the situation. I need to just let it go and allow God to do what He needs to do without trying to get in the way. I need to trust in His sovereignty over my life and the lives of the people I love. I need to start praying that God will continue to reveal his grace to me and allow it to over take and kill the ugliness in my heart.
I know He's not finished with me. I know he will continue to refine me- I just need to stop fighting it. God, help the ugliness hidden in my heart.