When It’s Hard to Love…

02-26-16--Piper MugshotOur three-year-old grand-daughter Piper is a fount of illustrative material, so when our daughter called the other day with another “Piper-ism” I wasn’t surprised. Evidently, they’d had sort of a tough day. Piper looked at her mother—hand on hip—and said, “Mommy, I love you, but sometimes it’s hard.”

Seriously? How can you not chuckle at that declaration? I’m guessing her mommy might have felt the same about Piper on the day Piper got into the black sharpie (pic at left) and wrote all over herself, the floor, the wall—and her baby brother.

Is there someone in your life to whom you could say, “I love you, but sometimes it’s hard”? Perhaps if we’re honest, any long-term, intimate relationship has both of those elements—love and hardship. Even our relationship with God…

When God is Silent

One of the hardest seasons to endure—spiritually—is when God seems silent. Have you been there? Maybe you’re in an especially difficult situation, and you’ve prayed for relief, but nothing is changing. Or you read the Bible, and nothing makes sense. Why does everyone else seem to get great revelations from Scripture, but it sounds like Greek to you?

You’re not alone in your frustration. One of my favorite Bible heroes went through similar seasons of silence with the LORD. There were many times in David’s life—before and after he became Israel’s king—that he couldn’t “hear” God. He wrote about them in several Psalms.

“O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God.”          Psalm 83:1

“To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit.”           Psalm 28:1

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.”              Psalm 22:1-2

Did David’s Psalm 22 sound familiar—at least that first question? Some believe it was this psalm that Jesus began quoting on the cross when he felt the wrath of God poured out. But Psalm 22 ends in victory—as did the Cross when Jesus conquered sin and death through His Resurrection!

It’s good for us to remember that even when we feel like God is silent, He is very present–and the victory has already been won. Keep listening. Keep walking. Keep trusting.

When God Won’t Explain

Have you ever been absolutely sure God led you in a certain direction or decision—and then it was disastrous when you obeyed? That’s what happened to Moses when he returned to Egypt to deliver the Israelites, but instead of letting the people go, Pharaoh made the slaves gather their own straw for bricks.

“Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.’”            Exodus 5:22-23

God isn’t in the habit of explaining, while He’s in the process of doing. He much prefers to grow faith and cultivate intimacy while we’re in the process of waiting. When the Israelites were trapped by mountains on both sides and the Red Sea at their backs–perhaps a year later–it was the same Moses who proclaimed confidently to the Israelites:

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”     Exodus 14:13-14

Had God explained HOW He would deliver them at this point in the story? Nope. But by now, Moses’s relationship with Yahweh had grown enough to trust His words and His ways.

Love and Trust

I’ve only raised two children, but I’ve noticed something that seems to hold true across the board between kids and parents, husbands and wives, friends-to-friends—and even followers of Jesus Christ.

Love only grows when trust grows with it.

Before children go to school, parents are their whole world. They implicitly trust our words, our rules, and our protection. When they go to school, however, they realize that there’s a great big world out there with different words, different rules, and exciting dangers that we’re somehow trying to deny them. We spend the next twenty years (or more) in the arduous process of regaining their trust. We aren’t trying to ruin their fun or their lives. We do want them to be happy—and healthy. Eventually they realize they can trust us again, and their love (and respect) soars to new heights.

We could write similar patterns for marriage relationships and friendships because love and trust are forged through hardship and joy, misperception and forgiveness, and reconciliation over time. Healthy relationships progress best when love and trust grow in equal measure.

The same is true of our relationship with Jesus. As we learn to trust Him more—over time and through joy and sorrow—we’ll come to love Him more as well. I don’t think he minds a bit when we say, “I love you Lord, but sometimes it’s hard.” In fact, He’s probably thinking the same thing about us!

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”       Psalm 144:8

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Today’s Question:

  • Which is harder for you—to love God or trust God—and why?

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Comments

  1. Trust is the hardest for me. I know God is more than able but when other people are involved not only is He dealing with my stubborn heart but theirs as well. Waiting is so very hard. But as my dear mom says, ‘keep looking up.’. Your granddaughter is adorable even with black marker on her….body art is in you know! Thanks for the reminder God is faithful!

    • Trusting God is easier than trusting others, and when trusting God depends on trusting others, it gets REALLY tough!!! I think your mom’s advice is excellent. It’s the only way to keep my sanity some days! 😉

  2. Needed to read this this morning. I know God is always with me even when he is silent. My always told me “that the Man up above will always take care of of us”. Your Granddaughter is cute…I remember those days. Our God is faithful and loving.

    • Our God is faithful and loving, but it sure helps when we FEEL His love. I’m glad we have each other to remind us of that love. You’ve been that reminder for me on so many occasions, dear one. I’m glad I could return the favor today. Hugs to you!

  3. God isn’t in the habit of explaining, while He’s in the process of doing.

    This makes sense to me as a parent & due to some police training I’ve had. In a critical situation, I want to be obeyed so that I can protect and guide.

    Now, I need to combine this with my 2016 One Word of Trust in order to recognize these situations in my own walk with God.

    Thanks, Mesu!

    • Some dear friends of ours have taught parenting classes and one of their most important rules for their kids was always “obey first.” The kids could ask for an explanation later, but they needed to obey immediately. It’s a great picture of our relationship with God. Thanks for making that comparison!

  4. I sure have to agree about your sweet grand daughter. Not knowing what she will do next is part of her adorableness! While I was reading your blog I was thinking…in all of our questioning about God as we wait on Him (usually) to answer our necessary needs and wants the thing that helps me the most is learning WHO HE IS. That wonder helps me thru questions and tremblings as I wait for that answer. A God like we have, revealing Himself as we wait is a forever wonder.

    • For sure, the better we know Him, the more we can love, trust, and stand in AWE of Him. I think that’s what this life on earth is for…to search and seek Him. There are certainly things we’ll experience in this separation (due to sin) that we won’t experience once our fellowship is restored in heaven. That’s, of course, a bad thing, but it can also be a wonder and a pleasure in the vast ways we can know Him more.

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