This past Sunday, when I shared the news with folks at The Dale that Erinn’s husband Dion is in the hospital due to his worsening MS, the reactions varied from shock to sadness to anger. One friend’s response was “well #@&!, thanks for showing up for Dion, God.” An honest prayer. While I trust that God is working in the life of the Oxford family, it’s undeniably difficult to imagine why God hasn’t made things easier for these three precious people.
Later that same day I was at Sanctuary and a dear friend sat down next to me. He was under the influence, which brought his deep feelings to the surface. He expressed his love for those around him, as well as his confusion and pain. This friend has lost the majority of his biological siblings in the past ten years, as well as numerous street siblings. He has every reason to lament. During part of the service he was praying quietly, and I managed to catch a few snatches; “I love you, Jesus. And I’m just really pissed off with you… I know you love me, Jesus. I’m just having a hard time receiving it.” Another honest prayer.
I think there’s a good reason that so many of the Psalms are songs of lament. We need to and get to express our hearts to God, when we are joyful, confused, tired, angry, hopeful and deeply sad. To me it’s a sign of true and courageous faith when people who have suffered much continue to call out to God in fear, anger and confusion.
May we all learn how to pray these kinds of honest prayers.