Here are some lessons that I’ve learnt.
During that season, I spent much time wrestling with God in prayer. “Where were You in those episodes of grief, regrets and disappointments?” I asked Him.
One of the books that ministered to me during this period was Philip Yancey’s Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud. One particular section showed me that I could come before God honestly with my feelings. As Yancey noted, the Bible portrays many spiritual giants, like Job, contending with God.
“One bold message in the Book of Job is that you can say anything to God,” he writes. “Throw at him your grief, your anger, your doubt, your bitterness, your betrayal, your disappointment—He can absorb them all.”
The book of Psalms, too, shows us that it’s okay for God’s people to express disappointment, impatience, depression, and other difficult emotions to Him in prayer.
In fact, the laments in Psalms even offer us a blueprint on how to grieve. As we turn to God to pour out our innermost feelings, we can remember His promises and unfailing love, ask Him to act on our behalf, express our trust in God, and even praise Him in our pain.
To be sure, bringing our doubts and disappointments before God takes faith. He values this faith and will honour it. Our Heavenly Father desires to be close to the brokenhearted and to comfort those who mourn (Matthew 5:4). And He knows us intimately, bottling every tear we shed (Psalm 56:8).
To tell the truth, God did not answer my questions immediately. But in one of those moments of solitude that I had with Him, the Holy Spirit reminded me that He who is the same yesterday, today, and forever has never left me nor forsaken me (Hebrews 13:5,8).
He was with me throughout all those painful episodes, and throughout my grieving. He showed me that I could trust in a God that is good, loving, wise, and sovereign, even when I did not understand what He was doing.
Because God has revealed himself through His Word and has been faithful to me all these years, I know I can say with assurance: Yes, Abba Father, I trust You, even if life has not turned out to be what I’ve wanted.