God....I Don't Trust You
God...I want to trust you....but I don't.
It was the night before Thanksgiving and these were the words I was speaking to God. I was supposed to be giving thanks and being grateful and here I was, well, I guess some would say complaining. But as much as I wanted to be in the holiday spirit and thank God for all my blessings, there was this nagging hole in my soul that always seemed to find me when things got quiet and I was alone with my thoughts.
It was almost midnight. I was standing in the shower as the hot water raced beside my tears. I was angry with God, but mostly....deeply hurt.
I could deal with people hurting me. I could deal with their disappointments. But God? You too? I couldn't deal with that. It was a pain that wrenched my soul. Where do you go when God lets you down? When you feel like you can't even depend on Him?
When people had hurt me or betrayed me I always found comfort in God, knowing that He would always be there, that He would never leave me or forsake me. But this ongoing battle between me and my thoughts had turned into a civil war on this night. It had its knife deep in my heart.
Disappointment kept driving that blade in deeper and deeper. It was bloody. I tried pulling it out, but it had gone all the way through and anchored itself in the closed doors behind me.
Seemed like that's all I could see....closed doors.
I've never doubted God was real and I've never doubted His power, nor His presence in my life. In fact, I've seen His presence in my life multiple times. So, you would think I would trust Him and never doubt Him.
But, the fact that I've heard His voice and experienced His presence so many times, is the very reason on this night I told God that I didn't trust Him. I was tired of stepping out in faith, following His voice, with expectation of Him fulfilling His promises, only to feel like He kept not coming through. If I was being honest, it felt like He never came through.
I had crisscrossed the country chasing after this dream. I'd gone broke for this dream. I had looked like a fool for this dream. I'd had people laugh and mock me for this dream. I'd gone through great betrayals and abandonment because of this dream. And where had it all gotten me?
I couldn't understand why God would give me such a big dream only to allow me to be stuck in what felt like a prison with invisible walls. Every time I tried to move it felt like there was this invisible force stopping me from moving forward. And I couldn't go back. What was there to go back to? I felt trapped. And I was angry that I had followed Him all this way, only to find myself stuck.
All these years. All this labor felt wasted.
You would have been better off not showing me all these visions, Lord, if you were never going to let me have them. Why did you do this to me? Why do you constantly have me get my hopes up only to be disappointed? This is cruel. Just leave me alone. Stop hurting me.
I felt like a little kid who kept packing their bags every weekend, sitting on their front porch waiting for their dad to come pick them up. And God felt like the father who kept telling their kid about all the fun and exciting things they were going to do when he came.
But the dad never showed up.
And every weekend even though the dad never showed up the kid kept believing that next weekend his father would come. The child would brush off the disappointment from the time before and say, "I don't know why, but there's a reason he didn't come through last time, but I know this time he's coming for sure." The kid would brag to everyone about all the things he was going to do with his dad when he finally came.
They were going to go fishing and camping. They were going to have a campfire with hot dogs and s'mores. They were going to tell campfire stories and when he got scared his dad would hug him tight. They were going to lay side by side in their sleeping bags and look up at the sky and count the starts when it got dark. In the morning they were going to cook breakfast over an open fire.
Then they were going to take a hike up this beautiful mountain. It was a long and difficult journey, but once they reached the top it would all be worth it. They would raise their arms triumphantly and let out a victorious roar! Then they would sit on top of the mountain with his dad's arm wrapped around him and enjoy the view, knowing they had finally made it together.
Everyone listened to the kid talk excitedly about his father coming to get him week after week. Only to see that he had yet to show up. But still he sat out there on that porch with his bags packed every Friday night. He would sit there shivering, late into the night, until his mom would finally make him come inside.
He would go straight into his room, turn out the lights and lock the door so no one could see him crying himself to sleep.
He did this every Friday night, until one night he stopped looking for his dad. He pushed the dream deep inside him and tried to forget all about it. But, many nights it would creep up on him, that deep desire for his father to come and get him and he would still secretly cry himself to sleep.
Until one night he stopped crying. He decided he no longer needed his father. Not only did he not need him, but he wanted nothing to do with him, ever. He developed a hatred of him because all his father ever did was make him feel rejected and unwanted. He had broken his heart through broken promises. He would never again allow him to hurt him like that. He closed his heart and shut him out for good.
Then one day when the boy was grown and heading off to college the boy's father showed up on his porch. He had a truck filled with a tent, sleeping bags, fishing poles, campfire food, a ball to play pass and a telescope to see the stars.
The boy looked at him with despise in his eyes. All these years he had waited for his father to show up, and now that he was grown he shows up with all of his dreams in tow.
"Little late don't you think, dad? I don't need this now."
The dagger that was inching its way through my heart was convincing me that God was the father in this story and even if He ever did show up with His promises, it would be so late that I wouldn't even want them anymore.
I turned off the lights and shut the door behind me.
I woke up. It was Thanksgiving morning. I wanted to go back to sleep. The heaviness hadn't left me in my sleep. It followed me.
I don't want to do this anymore.
I laid there trying to feel some type of gratitude, but the weight of disappointment was like weighted chains around my ankles in an ocean. It was dragging me under.
My phone beeped. I looked at the message:
I felt a leap of hope in my heart. I didn't know this person.
I clicked on his profile page to see who this person was and I couldn't believe what I saw! The very first picture posted on his page was a picture with a tattoo across his chest that said:
IN GOD I TRUST
I knew there was no way this was a coincidence. God was clearly talking to me through this person. I messaged him back and asked what made him say that. His response was:
"I want to celebrate with you."
The word celebrate excited me. I could certainly use something to celebrate about. These words greatly encouraged me. I got out of bed with anticipation of what God was going to do. Would today be my miracle? Would I get the call I'd been waiting on, on Thanksgiving day? How fitting that would be.
But the day came and went, like so many others with no miracle, no call. Nothing had changed. I'd had a great day with family and friends, but once the lights went out I couldn't help but feel that hollowed nagging on my soul.
When God? When?
The next morning came and went, and the next, and the next, and the next....and ended like so many others.
Is this some kind of sick joke? Are you messing with me God?
The voice was back. I wasn't sure if it was a friend or foe. Was it trying to help me? Protect me from more pain? Or was it the enemy trying to stop my destiny?
See, I told you this would be no different than all the other times. It is God speaking to you, but so what. Where has He ever come through for you? How many times have you crisscrossed around the country chasing this dream, following God's voice, only to come back empty handed?
He makes empty promises that He doesn't keep - just like the men in your life. Always telling you what He's going to do....someday....but someday never comes. All words, but no action.
I told myself it was the enemy talking and I wouldn't let him abort my destiny, but no sooner than I presented that argument disappointment rose up and demanded to be heard.
Julie, you can't do this to yourself anymore. Look at all the time, energy and sacrifice you've put into this. So many wasted years. Forget about this dream. Move on. Even if God does ever come through it will be so far away that you'll be too old to even enjoy it. How many years have you been hearing, "Breakthrough is here...."? You've been hearing that for years. Has it come yet? No....
Stop looking for it. Stop doing this to yourself. Causing all this unnecessary disappointment. If you stop expecting God to do something He can't hurt you anymore. Just put Him out of your mind.
I decided this was a friend. It was trying to keep me from being hurt. I would push this dream and everything to do with God out of my mind.
I finished working out at the gym and stopped by Starbucks to finish up some work. I got my coffee and sat down at the table. I looked at my feet and saw this laying on the ground.
I couldn't believe it. No matter where I tried to go, no matter how many times I'd tried to run from God, He was always there. I picked up my phone to message a friend of mine and share with them what had just happened. As I was scrolling through my messages on Facebook I noticed the profile picture of the man who had sent me the message on Thanksgiving Day had disappeared.
Did he unfriend me?
I hadn't said anything even remotely that I could think of for him to unfriend me. All the messages that he had sent while we were chatting were gone too.
That's weird. How is that possible?
I clicked on his profile page. It no longer existed. Now my mind was wondering.
Did this guy even exist?
I looked back at his name - James King. I looked at the paper that was laying by my feet - King of the Universe. Now I was really intrigued. Something told me to look up the meaning of the name James. I looked it up. It said:
"One who follows."
James King....one who follows the King.
I looked back at the picture that had "IN GOD I TRUST" tatted on his chest. I read over his words typed above his picture:
Committed? Was I really committed to this vision? Or was I only committed so long as things happened the way I thought they should and on my timeline? Had I been excellent? Or had I been operating in survival mode?
I looked back at the picture and noticed the heart and the symbol for strength. I couldn't help but feel God saying to me, "Model heart and strength and be one who follows the King."
I guess I'll never know whether or not James King really existed. Was it an angel sent by God? Was it a fake profile? I don't know, and I really don't care. All I know is God is very real. He does hear our prayers and He does care about our tears.
Will the breakthrough come today? Will the miracle be here tomorrow? I don't know, maybe, maybe not. Will I doubt Him again? I'd like to say, no, but I don't know. Will I get angry with Him again? There's a possibility. Will I lose my confidence in Him again? In them tired and weak moments, that's possible too.
I don't have the answers to these questions. I wish I could say I was one of those people who never had doubts about God, that I always trusted Him and felt loved by Him...but at times I'm really weak.
But He tells me, "....My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
So in the meantime, while I'm still waiting, I'm going to stay committed. No doubt, this battle is real, but I'm convinced if we get out of survival mode and start operating with excellence, put our heart in the game, endure with strength and keep following The King, success is sure to come.
And when it does, you can bet there's going to be a huge celebration and you're invited!