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When dealing with our own kind, God has graciously arranged things so that we cannot see into each other’s hearts. This is a very good thing because it protects us from knowing just how self-centered we all are and gives us a chance to build relationships. Imagine trying to get a friendship off the ground if the potential friend could hear every single one of your thoughts. You might like them well enough, but they might be quite repulsed by the other things swimming around in your brain. We all have our ugly little secrets that we’re very glad the world does not know about. God blessed us richly with this chance to not be fully known by others as long as we are living in fallen flesh.
Of course everything good has a nasty side. People try to use this blindness factor to deceive and injure others. The wife oozes compliments to her husband to keep him from suspecting that she’s sleeping with another man. The shark in the bar sidles up to his new prey and puts on an act of caring innocence just to steal her sex for a night. We play all sorts of games with each other, and it works so well that we even try to play them with God. But of course this is foolishness.
God knows when we’re only going to church out of guilt and we really have no desire to truly get our lives back on track with Him. He knows when we are using fancy language and great emotion in our public prayers only to impress those around us. He sees right through the bargains and deals we offer Him and knows that we have no intention of really holding up our end. We simply cannot manipulate God. He sees our secret intentions as plainly as our faces. He knows us better than we know ourselves. The sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we will realize that the only productive way to approach God is with honesty: raw, unpretentious honesty.
“I’m tired of praying because You never answer me.”
“I don’t trust You because deep down I think You enjoy making my life miserable.”
“I think all Your pretty promises about caring for me are a big heap of lies.”
“I don’t know how to relate to a God who thinks humans were worth dying for.”
These are the kinds of prayers that God can work with. This is the kind of blunt truth He wants from us. He already knows the problems we have with Him and the disappointments we’re stuffing away. When we talk openly and honestly with God, we invite Him to work in the painful areas of our lives. One of the best prayers you can pray is, “Help me to love You more than I do.” Whether we are struggling with hate or indifference, God will meet us where we are and gently draw us closer in.
So much progress is lost because we’re too ashamed to admit where we are stuck. It’s quite alright to hate God’s guts. As humans, many feelings and conclusions about God are thrust upon us by our experience of Him. We don’t get to choose the combination of messy feelings we find ourselves lugging around. Some of us really cannot accept that His Character is as good as He claims. Some of us secretly believe He enjoys doing evil no matter what He says in the Bible. But regardless of how hopeless we may feel about ever having the “right” attitude towards God, He can take us there. He will take us there, He just wants an invitation from us to do so.
Is there some area of your heart you have been locking God out of because you were afraid of being punished if He really knew what you were harboring there? He already does know, and He wants to free you from the burden, not beat on you. Our God is so compassionate towards us. He understands the human experience inside and out. Better still, He understands how mysterious and upsetting He can seem from our perspective. We will never find a safer being to share our hearts with. No other human can even begin to care about us and for us as much as God does. God will never punish you for being honest with Him. If His patience was really as short as Satan claims, we’d all be dead by now, for we all address God with far less respect than He deserves.
It helps to remember that God made us and loves us as we are. He is not disappointed by the fact that we doubt His Character nor is He insulted that we have mixed emotions about Him. Instead of yelling at us for being frail, God wants to show us how much He can improve our internal environment with His healing, peace and joy. He already sees into all of our dark corners and locked closets. There is no terrible secret that He doesn’t already know. It is part of God’s good plan that this world should be a painful, difficult place, but He never intended for us to struggle through it alone. He wants to guide us through it and teach us how to let Him carry all of our internal burdens. Our first step in getting there is to invite Him into all the painful areas and to open up all those awkward subjects that we’ve labeled as secret and closed. If there’s any area of your life that you’ve been hesitant to talk to God about, ask Him to help you overcome your fear and receive what He wants to tell you. You’ll be surprised to discover just how good His plans for you really are.