“God doesn’t love you any less when you throw a temper tantrum. He doesn’t owe you an explanation, but he is never afraid of what you have to say. So tell him. It’ll be the beginning of healing.” — Pastor Rick Warren
Yesterday in a prayer group, the facilitator asked us when did we come to the realization that God is ALWAYS WITH US? As I thought about it, after I became a born-again Christian there were situations and states of mind/emotion in which I was uncomfortable with the thought that God WAS always with me! I believed that I had to be in a posture and state of mind of acceptability to God, requiring that I always be at my best, on my “P’s and Q’s”, for me to be in God’s presence. But as I came to know, love, and trust God more I was no longer uncomfortable with simply being myself with Him, no matter what that is at any moment. I told the group that I had come to the place in my intimacy with God that there was nothing I felt compelled to hide from Him…….no emotion, no thought, no action. Sometimes, in the midst of anger, resentment, disappointment, or other emotions I would have shrunk from God in the past. Now I know that He can love me and be present with me, even when I “throw a temper tantrum”, as Rick Warren said. I’m not being defiant of God or rebellious against Him, but I may simply be experiencing emotions and attempting to be honest in working through them. God knows what those are and He knows that sometimes they simply need to be vented, to be expressed. He’s okay with that. Then when the venting is done, it’s like He says, “Okay, are we done with this? Ready to move on?”
I have experienced the gentleness and supportive presence of humans who can simply be with someone in the midst of angst, fear, and other emotions. They have shown me how God assumes the same posture……continually present, but not always interjecting or interfering with our choices or the need to find the bottom of an emotion. But He is still always there, waiting for me to return to mindfulness of His presence and power to enter into the situation and help me with it.
In the midst of such moments, sometimes there is an acute awareness of the Holy Spirit quickening my conscience and drawing me back to that mindfulness swiftly and ending whatever emotion is being felt or expressed or action being considered. The Spirit’s task is to keep me from moving away from the presence of God, to remind me of what I need to be conscious of in the midst of my deliberations, whether cognitive or affective and my actions. Other times, there has been absolutely no sense that God is displeased or that I need to end the process prematurely……but simply need to finish the work, whether it’s grief, disappointment, anger, or other emotions. In such cases, God will go there with us, not judging us or pulling us out before we’ve gotten to the place that we can, perhaps finally, clearly and unflinchingly face the truth……whether it is the truth about ourselves, about life, about another person, or about God Himself.
It’s a hard process. But knowing that God is there allows one to engage honestly, and safely, knowing that there is nothing that can separate one from God……
Romans 8:35-39New International Version (NIV)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now, are there things that can separate us from other people? You bet. Must one be prepared for that reality and trust God, even in that circumstance, to deal with that possibility? You bet. If one must be separated from another person in order to be healed, God knows that, too.