Cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. (Psalms 55:17)
My mom passed in August and our family made the unexpected trip to SoCal for the memorial and to spend a few days with family. The day after the service, we went with my dad to church. The sermon was on Jacob wrestling with God and was entitled, “Struggle: When life makes no sense.” Pastor Rick Warren, whose son had committed suicide earlier in the year, spoke from a place of personal experience with life not making sense. As I sat next to my dad, I thought what does it mean for life to make sense when you are waking up alone every morning, the person who has slept beside you for 57 years no longer there. How do you connect with God when life does not make sense? How do you pray when your world has crumbled? I felt honored to be with him as he took in those words in his present reality of a a world where the Kingdom of God is real, but mixed in with the brokenness of our current world.
At the end of his sermon, Pastor Rick shared an acronym – CARE – for how we can pray when life does not make sense. As I heard it, I thought I need to bring that piece back home with me and share it with the people of Creekside when we get to our preaching on prayer in November, and so I did. And so I share it with you again here:
Complain to God – When life is bad, tell God what you think is unfair or painful. “God, this is messed up, unfair, painful.” “Where are you?” “Why are you not here.”
Appeal To God’s Character – “But you are a good God, you are a loving God.” “God you see everything. You are all powerful, so help me.”
Remind God of His Promises – “God you promise this and this and this.” Lord, I am claiming the promise you made, show yourself to be true.” “God you tell me to trust you, that you will provide, I need you.”
Express Trust In God – “I don’t like this, this is bad, where are you?” “You promised!” “But I trust your goodness and your wisdom and your plan even in the bad things that I do not understand.”
God wants us to be real with him. God wants us to pray when things are good and when things are bad. Complaining to God is worship. Complaining about God is rebellion.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength. (Habakkuk 3:17–19)
Peace, hope and love