“Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” —Matthew 11:28
Darkness can bring to light many things. I have been in darkness before. I have seen myself believing lies about my future, which brought me to the end of myself. I remember a few years after we moved from New York, my journey had lost all perspective of the bigger story. The chapter I was in was one I like to forget, but am thankful it was given to me. I had high hopes for what I believed God was going to accomplish in and through my family. I was ready to take up the mantle and continue to be used by God. The problem was, I did not feel like God was using me at all. I felt like I was forgotten and thrown away. I saw all my dreams halted and cast down to the point there was nothing tangible to hold onto. I had no stream of income constantly coming in, no visible ministry going on and my talents seemed to be worthless.
I was a failure in my mind.
I had nothing to offer anyone except my life insurance policy and the belief that if I was gone my family would have been better off. I was listening to every word the enemy had spoken to me. We, as a family, believed God was going to use us the minute we arrived. What I didn’t realize was for Him to use me, I had to be done with my agenda.
It had been a hard few years with no change in sight and the only thing I hoped for was some relief. I had stopped looking to my plan and simply looked to stay alive.
Then things got real.
I received news that only made things worse financially and caused more strain on my weary family. I was utterly hopeless and beaten down. I had begun to believe all the lies I had been fed by the enemy and it caused me to see only one avenue for hope. If I was gone, my family could start fresh and get someone else to lead them to a better life. I hated all that I was and all that I was trying to accomplish. I gave up and decided to plan my exit from this world. As I planned this, I became more hopeless and finally had it out with God.
I didn’t hold anything back—anything.
I colorfully, with every detail imaginable, expressed how mad I was to God. I yelled, I cried and held nothing back. I felt like a parent who was yelling at an umpire over a bad call. I would have been embarrassed if others had heard. Here I was, a man in ministry who spoke the truth of who God was for years, and now it all seemed fake to me; so I got real. I spent a good thirty-minutes yelling at the Creator of the world how much He didn’t exist and even if He did, how much He messed up creating me. I was spent, exhausted and done with everything I had come to believe and hope in.
After my rant, I was tired. The tears had dried up and the weariness and calm was all I had left. I had no more emotion to give and no more time to deal with this God, who supposedly cared about me so much. As I lay there, tired and defeated, the most amazing thing happened to me; I heard the voice of God. Now, I didn’t audibly hear the voice of God (that would have been awesome); no, I felt like a bucket of water was dumped on me and I heard God say:
“You’re finally being honest with me.”
Not what I was expecting. I was blown away. I did not know what to do with myself. I felt terrible and scared of all I had said to the Father. But instead of hearing a disappointing response or anger, I simply heard Him say, “Stop—it’s OK” and He calmed my fears. I realized what Psalm 103 means when it says God is slow to get angry yet abounds in unfailing love. God wanted me to get here. He wanted me to stop playing around with this idea of who He was, and simply see Him for who He truly is. I began to journey with God in a different way. I felt like I had finally stopped and shared with a friend about something that had been broken between us for a long time, except the broken part was me. I had a false view of who God was. As a follower of Jesus, I was given many things and a new perspective on God. I was His child. I hadn’t been acting like the child I had become so many years earlier. I could come to Him like a son, not just a soldier reporting for duty. I was valued and accepted and beloved. Romans 8:15 says we have not received the spirit of slavery but instead a spirit of adoption. We can call Him Dad. We are His children. He is for us (Rom 8:31). These truths did not start to become a reality until I came to this point. I had still been holding up a false idea of a love that came with stipulations.
We are free because of the finished work that Jesus completed by dying on the cross.
We can have a relationship that we can come to God knowing He cares about us.
He’s not someone who is bothered by our requests. At this point, I truly began to trust Him as my father. He was no longer just a great man who saved me from drowning and brought me on His boat to glory; He became my trusted Father and source of hope.
When I came to this realization, it did not all turn around for the better immediately. My perspective, however, did change. I knew He was there, involved, concerned and ready to hear my requests. I knew He was going to work it all out for my good because I loved Him (Rom 8:27). He had my best in mind.
I know there are many places in my life that I still need to continue to trust the Father with my heart. And I know once I got honest with God, it allowed me to have nothing between Him and me that would hold me back from moving forward in the boldest way for His glory. I pray you would take time to stop and be honest with God. We have a God who is concerned with what concerns us. In Psalm 56 it says He bottles our tears. Only a caring and involved God would do this. Take time to share your fears, worries and joys with Him. He wants all of you, but it’s up to you to give yourself all to Him. For us to move forward with God, we need to start at the beginning with honesty. Through this honesty, we find out we can trust Him with all of our lives, not just our eternity.