Scripture: Job 7.11
Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Reflection: Complaining in Prayer
By Jada Swanson
Job was a godly man. There was no issue of willful sin in his life, nor was God angry at him. Still, he was struggling through an extremely difficult season of suffering. One in which there were many questions, but few answers.
In this passage, Job expresses his real and raw thoughts and feelings. However, he is not the only one to to have expressed emotions to God. In the Psalms, we read about real-life struggles, such as fear, disappointment, depression, and despair. Jonah also expressed anger towards God. Even Jesus experienced feelings of loneliness and abandonment on the cross when he cried out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”
Have you ever wondered if it was appropriate to express your thoughts, feelings, and darkest emotions to God?
The majority of people are hesitant to share their true feelings in the normal circumstances of life, much less when life blows up. Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged not only to identify our feelings, but to express them. Take for instance the life of our Savior. In the Gospels, we discover that Jesus expressed various emotions. He grieved when his friend died. He got angry at the money-changers in the temple. And he wept for the people of Jerusalem.
Although it is common for people to wear masks, which disguise their authentic selves, God knows everything about us. There is nothing hidden from him. As such, dismissing and minimizing one’s emotions is never the answer. When we do so, we give them power and control of our lives. Instead, it is best to embrace our emotions, even the dark ones, recognizing that they are essential to processing and conversing with God, especially when we are facing seasons and situations that we do not understand.
Have you been in the habit of concealing your true thoughts and feelings? If so, understand the importance of being real not only with yourself, but with God. Talk to him openly and honestly. Share your feelings and struggles. In doing so, you will pave the way for healing to begin.
Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy Name and glory in your praise. — Psalm 106.47
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.