On Sorrowing Over ‘the Things We Leave Behind’

Reeny writes:

I have been going through a very emotional time lately,trying to put a lot of things behind me but the yearning for it is still strong. At the same time I have a lot to be grateful to God for, so when I yearn I feel I am being ungrateful.

Dear Heart,

Jesus is a big boy, Reeny. He can handle a lot more than we give Him credit for. So don’t be afraid to tell Him the honest truth of what you’re feeling. Try reading A Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card. God is notorious for not appreciating complaining and more complaining, yes, but He does want us to bring our sorrows to Him, as well as our triumphs and praise.

Often enough though, before we can say thank you, we first have to unload the heavy bags of garbage we’ve been carrying around. That’s a formula most laments follow–I’m (sad/angry) because (God’s silent/I can’t feel his lovingkindness) in this situation. But (praise, thanksgiving and/or remembrance of the good he’s done in the past follow here)

Don’t force the turn–it’ll come naturally when you’re ready.

The key is to share the bad stuff in faith–bringing a broken thing to Daddy to fix (or just to listen to our trouble like with a girlfriend) rather in than a spirit of complaining against Him.

Both Zechariah and Mary asked God’s messenger how they could have a child in their circumstances. One asked in cynical disbelief and the other asked in sincerity–and Mary was the one that had far greater cause to doubt. It’s the motive of the heart that makes the difference.

Don’t let gratitude for all He’s done hold you back from handing over the bag of sorrows you’ve got now. There’s nothing grateful about holding onto that bag. Handing over in lament the things we’re struggling to leave behind and gratitude aren’t incompatible. How do we show our gratitude? By definition, it’s worship (which is more than music.) And crying out before God in sorrow and sincerity is also a form of worship. True lament involves a sacred trust–it means trusting God enough to share with Him your most vulnerable hurts, fears, and frustrations. It means believing He cares, believing He can and will help (though if you doubt that, you can lament about that, too!)

When we’re finally poured out and have cried before Him until we’ve got nothing left, the broken thing may still be broken–but we do get Him back, and that makes all the difference. Nothing is too big or too small to take to Him.

So be grateful–but trust Him with what’s going on in your life today, too. I know it’s hard. I needed to hear this today, too. Honestly, I’m learning right along with y’all. If there’s any wisdom here, it’s not mine, it’s His.

Remember also, we are Spirit and Flesh, and those contradicting natures war against each other. Our flesh may always long for the sin He delivered us out of. We must die daily to the flesh and chose to walk in His Spirit, which lives in us. But take heart: the stronger the Spirit grows in us, the less we feel the old tug of the flesh. Keep fighting. Surround yourself with fellow warriors who will press on with you towards the light, distance yourself from anyone that pulls you back towards the old darkness.

In Christ’s Presence,

Andrea Graham