by Jonathan Hart, LPC
I’m not really sure you’re even listening right now. It certainly doesn’t seem like it. I’m done. I can’t do this any more. If you want it done, you have to do it. Whatever you are doing with me, get it over with because this hurts too much.
I’m angry, and I’m pretty sure I’m angry with you. I don’t understand. I feel like you’ve turned your head and you don’t see me anymore, you’re not listening, and you don’t care. Everything I’ve ever learned about you says you are kind and loving and you want the best for me, and I’d like to believe that, but I can’t seem to bring myself to risk it. If I believe that, then it means that the hell I am living through right now is somehow for my good. I want something else. Not this.
So if you are who and what you say you are, and if you really do care about me and you really do hear me, then … I don’t know … do something. Show up. Give me something to work with. I’m tired of hurting, and I am utterly helpless. You’re all I really have, and I’m scared you’re not there. Amen.
I know a lot of people who would be scared to pray a prayer like this. It doesn’t feel respectful. It feels like asking for a lightning strike. “I can’t be angry with God! I can’t tell him I’m hopeless… Faith is always trusting him, and this isn’t trusting at all!” Yet I think there is more faith in a prayer like this than in many that are said on Sunday morning.
The thing that makes a prayer like this a prayer of faith is the fact that it is a prayer: it is addressed to God. It may be said through clenched teeth, but it is a prayer, and prayer is an act of faith, especially when it expresses doubt, fear, and pain.
God is big enough and real enough to handle our doubts. He can handle our anger and fearful lashing out. He is the kind father who absorbs the tearful, angry pummeling of his small child, lovingly contains the flailing fists, and soaks up the tears with his shirt. He is still present, he is still mindful, and he still loves his child.
So when you feel your darkest hours upon you, turn to him. Shout at the heavens if need be. He loves you as you are, especially when you are angry and doubtful. He desires relationship with you: he wants to hear your heart in whatever state it happens to be at the moment.
Do not be afraid.