Does God Owe Us an Explanation?
By Rick Warren
“[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” (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: “[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.
If you swallow your emotions, 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. You may find it easier to tell God by writing rather than speaking.
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Find the strength you need to get though life’s toughest trials!
Loss is a part of life. But it’s in your seasons of suffering that God wants to lavish his incredible grace and mercy on you – and give you the true and lasting peace that only come from him.
Pastor Rick and Kay Warren experienced the loss of their son, Matthew, whose 27-year battle with mental illness led to the tragic loss of his life. They’ve taken the lessons they learned through their own personal experiences with loss and suffering and created a resource that will help anyone navigating through a difficult season.
This devotional © 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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