A widow friend of mine, who is no longer with us, asked me an interesting question many years ago. “What was the most difficult experience you walked through?” Even if I answered her question now, it still would not be past tense. It wasn’t open heart surgery, eight weeks before I walked our daughter down the aisle. It wasn’t a broken engagement. It wasn’t learning of a pastor’s infidelity, who was my boss. It wasn’t being fired by a company, while I was still in training, after being interviewed seven times. It wasn’t a two-week stay on a psychiatric ward. Yes, I walked through those experiences, (and many more) but there is one I am still walking through. It involves a dysfunctional relationship. I know, some will say, “Seriously! Everyone faces that!”
From my perspective, three challenges keep people within the clutches of a dysfunctional relationship:
- Not confronting the elephant in the dining room, who is causing the dysfunction;
- Not telling the truth, and
- Not addressing what really happened, before another dysfunctional blow occurs
I chose to man-up and face those challenges. I’ve also been asked, “How did you deal with that?” I journaled. I read books. I prayed. I received counsel. I set boundaries. I moved on, even though the dysfunction still raises its ugly head. I also started writing about my experiences for my memoir, to help others.
What if David, from the Old Testament era, was asked “What was the most difficult experience you walked through?” Would he say it was when his child died, who was born out of adultery with Bathsheba. Maybe, he would say it was when his son, Absalom, turned against him. I wonder if it was when King Saul stalked him in the wilderness for seven years. How did David deal with that? Let’s turn to one of the Psalms he authored.
“The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord.” (18: 4-6a, NLT)
Musician and author, Michael Card, said there are more complaints in the Psalms than praises. Have we backed away from a deeper communion with God, because we only approach Him with praises? Amy Grant’s song, Better Than a Hallelujah, is fitting:
“God loves a lullaby in a mother’s tears in the dead of night
better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
God loves a drunkard’s cry, the soldiers plea not to let him die
better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody.
Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts
are better than a Hallelujah.
The woman holding on for life, the dying man giving up the fight
are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.
The tears of shame for what’s been done, the silence when the words won’t come
are better than a Hallelujah sometimes…”
What’s keeping you from being real with God?
pictures courtesy of Pexels.
4 thoughts on ““Gritty Conversations” (Spiritual Intimacy: part 3)”
I find it very hard to find the right words to express what this devotional means to me. I will have to spend quite some time to think over the many deep and troubling experiences i have lived through before I can narrow it down to the one that was most difficult for me. Now how interesting is this journey going to be — God and I have a lot of talking to do over this one. Also a beautiful message from both the videos and the photos. Thank you once again Nelson for sharing with us. God Bless
We all have a long list of what has happened to us. Some we caused. Some we did not. Thankful that the word REIGN is in the middle of the word sovereign. God still reigns in the middle of our messes! LOL-I just got a devotional idea!
Nelson – I just want to say that you have opened doors for me that I truly believed to be shut. Your devotionals have been heart wrenching at times (for me personally) yet so inspiring. I envy your ability to stay the course and not give in to life’s most difficult challenges as it is a gift to all of us who follow you. I remember once upon a time when I used to journal everything. It was me coping with situations that I couldn’t speak to anyone about, other than my journal and God. I also remember the day I became so angry – at myself and at God, and destroyed all of them. Years of work just gone. You have brought those memories back to me just by reading your writings and I thank you for that! Keep the faith and keep churning out your wisdom. God Bless you.
Anita I am humbled by your response. My whole goal and prayer through my short writings was to first embrace the real life human condition and then bring in some hope that is only found in God. I also hoped the reader would also look at their own lives, like you have. Praise the Lord. I give Him the credit. Like Amy Grant said in the last video, He wants us to come as you are, and sometimes the local church does not provide that opportunity. That’ why our one on one time with God is so important!
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