“Though he slay me I will trust him.” Job 13:15
There’s a wide range of disappointment in our lives. Disappointment ranges from minor daily irritations and let downs to deep griefs that never really heal due to the death of loved ones or friends. What happens when wave upon wave batters our souls or families or churches or friends? How do we go on?
It’s hard. It’s hard not to throw in the towel, especially if we’ve been as faithful and obedient to God as we know to be. It doesn’t seem fair that we should endure long seasons of unanswered prayers or grief and depression when we’ve sought God with all of our hearts. Yet it happens. It has happened to the saints throughout history.
We become disappointed in God’s silences, in God’s seeming inaction. Disillusionment sets in. We find ourselves posing the question that the serpent posed in the garden, “Did God really say?” and we find our trust in God slowly crumbling.
I always wonder if I would’ve lasted as long as Job. Would I have given into despair and cursed God? Job suffered tremendously–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But God gave him the grace to persevere even when everyone, including his wife and his friends, were accusing him of sinning and telling him to give up.
I suppose that by nature I am easily discouraged or maybe just impatient. At my worst, I am impatient with myself, impatient with God, impatient with the sins of others and impatient with the Church. So when I think about it, I can see how God is teaching me patience and perseverance as I wait on him, as I am frequently disappointed that my answer to a particular prayer hasn’t come. I am experiencing nothing compared to the millions who are suffering right now. Still, God deeply cares and notices my comparatively minor suffering. Yet, if I capitulate to self-pity, I can see how selfish and self-absorbed I’ve become. Yet another reason God might have me waiting–purification.
For those who are suffering and enduring God’s silences, for those of us experiencing comparably minor disappointments and delays from God, for all of us, it is important that we continue to lean on the body of Christ–the Church. It is important that we continue to receive the means of grace that come through prayer, God’s word, communion, and the spiritual disciplines. But if we find we cannot do any of these, we must confide in trusted people within Christ’s body.
It is amazing to me that I’ve met people who have suffered far more than I have and they can still say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” God gives us the grace to say that and mean it. But, that doesn’t happen right away and we shouldn’t belittle ourselves if we cannot say that and mean it right now.
May God’s grace be poured into you today. And feel free to let me know if you need prayer brothers and sisters. I always welcome prayer on my own behalf, too. That is the best gift I can receive from another and the best gift I can give to another.