Wrestling With God
Don't make me do this!
That's been a common response to the promptings from the Spirit over the past few weeks.
This is the monologue that's been going through my head lately. You can laugh. It's a bit ridiculous, but it's also very true. I struggle with being a brat, because I struggle and wrestle with God. Go ahead, gasp, audibly. Madi wrestles with God.
Now, I'm not talking about physically wrestling with God. I'm talking about a spiritual wrestle. An inward groaning that masks what's actually complaining.
Why God? Why do I have to go through this suffering? Why is this so hard? Why can't things just be easy? Why are you prodding in this area?
I ask God these questions and inwardly I feel guilty. Is my faith not strong enough? Am I not believing the right things about God's character? Why can't I just have enough faith to believe that what God says is true?
Lately it's been: I'm tired of being a student. I'm tired of doing all of this work. Why do I have to write this ten page paper for class?
It then descends into: I'm not doing it. WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME DO THIS? Do you even love me at all?
This week I have a ten page paper due for class, and I have never dreaded an assignment this much in the seventeen years of my educational career. It's comical that the paper is for my Orthodox Christianity class, a class I'm taking for a minor that I chose of my own free will. Yet, I'm dragging my feet on this assignment. I have done everything possible before working on this paper. I cleaned my room. I worked out. I got ahead on work for other classes. And my heels remain firm.
I keep asking God WHY? Why can't I do this assignment? I'm wrestling with Him over it. And then I ask myself, Why are you being so ridiculous about this paper, Madi? Sit down and get it done. You've had no problem with getting your work done in the past.
But this paper is about more than the Russian Orthodox church after the fall of the Byzantium Empire. This is my struggle with the Lord. It's about choosing to do things that I don't want to do because it brings Him glory.
You might say I'm being dramatic, but a huge part of me does not want to write this paper. I can spout a lot of lies to defend why I loath this paper and why I shouldn't have to write it (despite the fact that it's on a topic that I find interesting). But really what it's about is fighting to choose to obey the Lord even when it's hard. And believe me, it's a fight and it's hard.
Now, you may not relate with me on struggling to get a paper done, but you might be wrestling with God in other areas. Like giving up a romantic relationship that is abusive or doesn't honor the Lord. Or you might be struggling with giving up a lifestyle of partying and drinking. Or it might even be choosing not to idolize your academics. Whatever it is, we all have something in our lives that leads us to wrestle with God from time to time.
Even Jacob, a great man of faith, wrestled with God. (Genesis 32:22-32)
And God did not punish him. God welcomed the struggle, because it drew Jacob closer to Him and it led to Jacob obeying God.
That gives me hope in the midst of wrestling with God. I am free to wrestle with God, to ask hard questions, and to ask Him to help me understand. He is merciful enough to lovingly walk with me through the struggle, show me my sin, but also cover me with His grace.
But ultimately His loving kindness leads me to want to obey and honor Him. Which was the only thing after all my hemming and hawing than enabled me to sit down and finish my ten page paper.
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