Here's what my prayers have sounded like this past month of May:
"What in the world are You doing, Lord?" "Where the heck are You?"
"I know, I know. You've seen the beginning from the end. Can you at least tell me where I'm at now!?"
"Didn't I just go through something like this? Please tell me I'm not up against it again!"
"Aren't You supposed to take this thing from me? What am I supposed to do now?"
All my prayer warriors, you know how it is! When our prayers aren't so pretty, our Christianity isn't so cute. And, if you're honest, there's a couple of tongues you tend to speak in that need no translation...
Oh, come on. Get real!
These kinds of prayers come when we're frustrated, desperate, tired, and heartbroken—the types of prayers that pull words out of us we didn't even know were there! Which is why we, Christians, have come up with some creative substitutes to keep us from foaming at the mouth. You know...the kinds of expressions Christians say when we're trying not to swear.
"Son of a biscuit..."
And, an oldie, but my favorite:
And, great news! While God makes it clear in Scripture that He'd prefer us to not have a sailor's mouth on a 24/7 basis, He still listens to our cry when we call on His Name in prayer.
And, sometimes, if you had a month like I had, our prayers only come out in one word—one word that holds the most weight, challenges the biggest mystery, and asks the hardest question:
"Why is this happening to me?"
"Why would they do this to me?"
"Why would You, Lord, let them do this to me?"
"Why didn't You warn me this was going to happen?"
Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
And, the Lord knows if I knew the exact answer, I would spend the rest of my life right here on the blog telling you. But, while I don't know why, I do know Isaiah 53:10—a verse that I've heard very often but only recently started to proclaim over the mystery of 'why.'
"But it was the LORD's good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD's good plan will prosper in His hands."
This verse prophesies Jesus, of course, and the suffering He endured by His death on the cross—the forgiveness of our sins and cleansing of our souls. However, this verse also suggests the way God works.
As uncomfortable and paradoxical the beginning of Isaiah 53:10 may seem, it reads that it was God's good plan to cause Jesus grief. For the joy that was set before Him and the promises that would be fulfilled on the cross the day Jesus died, it was good for Jesus to grieve.
And, the lesson I am learning in this is extremely rewarding:
Even God's grief is good.
God's grief produces prosperity and endurance. God's grief still gives me a hope and a future.
If it's God's good plan to cause His children to grief, then even God's grief is good.
In fact, God's grief is so good it can't even compare to our joy without Him.
It is good grief; the best kind of grief—the kind of grief that God already planned for, thought about, and considered as He was forming you and I in the womb. The kind of grief that humbles us, that reminds us that we're human, not superheroes. It's the kind of grief that leads us to repentance, that reminds us that God's redemption overflows. It's grief that draws us closer to Him, grief that makes us need God. And, anything in our lives that makes us need God—no matter how painful—is good.
This is God's plan. This is good grief.
So, if I'm going to stay here a while longer, then good grief! I'm turning my expression of desperation into a song of praise. I'm turning this contradiction into an opportunity to worship.
This kind of grief will build me into the woman I'm called to be—a humble woman, a woman of faith, a woman who is genuine, a woman who loves, a woman who prospers. And, if you submit your pain and your grief to the Lord, He can make it a part of His good plan for your life too. Thank God that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. This includes even grief. Thank God for good grief.