I’ve been struggling these past few weeks. I don’t feel close to Jesus. I’m mindful of Him, but I’m not talking to Him much. At least not very honestly. Not vulnerably. He doesn’t seem distant from me — but I feel distanced from Him… if that makes any sense. Meanwhile, the brokenness and hurt in the world sends me in a daily downward spiral. It’s not like I ever forget the world is full of pain, but some days it feels a lot heavier, darker, broken-er. And those days just keep coming.
It started with the 200-plus Nigerian girls who STILL aren’t home. Not to mention the MILLIONS enslaved and exploited in the sex trade. Do you know the average age of trafficking victims? Twelve. TWELVE. (That stat is via The A21 Campaign.) So many girls. So many broken-hearted mothers.
And then I learned some devastating news shared by an amazing woman I got to know briefly during my first year out of college. She shares her story here. I can’t fathom enduring that journey once – but AGAIN? Her story and others… so many babies we know who are sick, or who’ve been taken to heaven straight from their mother’s womb.
Maybe I’m distancing myself because honestly, what more could I possibly need from You, God? I have been spared so much. My family has been spared so much. Who am I to offer a single thought on life? Who am I to ask ANYTHING of You, Jesus? I’ve received far more than I could ever deserve.
I’m grateful. But I’m also sad. If I’m really honest, I feel selfish. It’s like I’ve used up more than my fair share of Jesus. But today, as I began to spiral into my irrational vortex of despair, this same Jesus called me back to something He put in my heart last year…
(originally published November 26, 2013)
Owen appeared at the top of the steps and yelled excitedly, “Mommy! Daddy! I clogged the toilet. But then I prayed! And Jesus answered my prayer! And it FLUSHED!”
Oh my goodness. Is it hilarious that my son asked Jesus to make the toilet flush? Yes. But do I believe Jesus actually heard him and answered? ABSOLUTELY.
I’ve been laughing about Jesus unclogging the toilet – and the fact my son asked Him to – for the past two days… and it’s reminded me of something I read a few weeks ago:
“Where does the scale for big things & small things come from? Since we as humans typically delight in doing small things for those we love, why do you think we often find it so difficult to believe that God would also delight in meeting our needs?”
– Priscilla Shirer; Faithful, Abundant, True
Not only can God HANDLE the small stuff, He CARES about the small stuff. My son obviously believes this — it hasn’t yet occurred to him to think otherwise. When did I start to falter?
Remember my struggle with habitually zoning out on my iPhone? This is a perfect example of something I don’t generally think to pray about. I mean, it’s just a matter of not checking my phone so much, right?
On one level, the question is, “CAN God help me do XYZ?” CAN God unclog the toilet for my son? And honestly, that’s an easy yes for me. I believe without question He can – He is able.
So I move to the next question: “Is He WILLING?” Is God WILLING to enter into the smallest details? to unclog a toilet for a little boy? to get involved in the minutiae of my day? Does He want to hear from me about the specifics of my world?
That’s one I’m growing in. More than ever, though, I do believe He wants to hear from me, to be invited in. Even into the mundane. I believe it matters to Him. I believe HE CARES.
“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?
– Matthew 7:9-11 (The Message)
But here’s something I didn’t even realize I was wrestling with: do I think He SHOULD care about it? Whatever “it” is. Is it worthy of His attention? Is it worth “distracting” Him from some more critical issue – because there are certainly more pressing things going on in our world, our country, even our city – than the details of my life. Certainly more pressing than a clogged toilet or a Pinterest addiction.
But then I read this:
“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.” – Matthew 10:29-31 (The Message)
…and I remember that He is GOD and He is BIG. And I begin to understand, not only does He care, He has plenty of “care” available to care about the most detailed specifics of my life and my schedule and my everything – without shortchanging anyone else.
There is plenty of God for all of us.
We cannot consume Him.
I’m not doing God or anyone else a favor by not “wasting” His attention, time, or resources on my “silly” needs – repetitive, mundane, and ordinary as they may be.
HE. IS. INEXHAUSTIBLE.
Does this mean that God will always give me what I ask for? Of course not. But that issue that doesn’t feel “holy enough” to bother Him with? That clogged toilet issue? Here’s the thing: when I invite Him into it, it BECOMES holy. Because HE IS THERE.
I don’t always need Him to be there with a “yes.” I just need Him to be there.
Yes, Jesus. I need You. I can’t help but need You. Forgive me for pridefully thinking I can ride this out on my own – as if I’m saving Your time for those who “really” need You. Oh please Jesus, that’s me too. I can’t do this life – I don’t WANT to do this life – without You in every little detail. Thanks for reminding me You care – and You care enough.