Mark 8: 29 NIV
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
And I’m not talking about a rational, head-response, but a heart response. “Who am I to you, Anna?” He asks me.
Here is an insight into the kind of tough questions I asked of God a few days before I went into my first therapy session for PTSD, questions that would drastically change my heart response to the above question. I KNEW the rational head answers I’d read in the Bible, but I desperately needed God’s personal touch. And He heard my cry:
If You’re a Healer, then why did You not heal?
Jesus answered me by reassuring me that my mother was healed and awaiting me in heaven. In my therapy session I saw angels lifting her into heaven:
And I started seeing images of us holding hands as a family: Mum, Dad, us kids. And then all of a sudden it was a huge crowd of worshiping people and I saw Mum’s face glowing with overwhelming joy.
If You’re a Comforter, then why does my heart still ache so very much?
Jesus showed me, in the seeking:
in numbing myself, I’ve turned my back on God. I’ve been asking Him to show Himself, but in the same breath telling Him He’s not there anyway…
And then I read Micha Boyett’s post about opening our eyes to the blessings, shifting our perspective to see what’s always been there all along. And then the verse about the “shadow of His wings” covering me, speaks volumes. And so, my prayer today is that He would open my eyes to see His wings covering me, sheltering me, right in that moment of helplessness, showing me He’s always been there all along and will never, ever forsake me (keep reading to see this prayer miraculously answered!!!).
If You’re my ever present help in trouble, why do I writhe in helpless anger and messiness on the floor beside my kids?
Jesus answered me in the midst of my therapy session:
I this time felt an anger seething beneath. And I heard Jesus telling me, “Kick, scream, throw a tantrum. Be angry. I’m angry at it all with you and I’m not letting you go.” and I saw myself kicking, screaming, flailing and Jesus holding me tight.
Jesus showed me I was repressing anger I felt was wrong to feel. He showed me it was right to feel it because what I experienced as a child was wrong and not of Him and that it angered Him too, terribly so, but that until I dared to release this anger in His safe arms it would spill out onto others in sin.
If You’re a Redeemer, why aren’t You redeeming me in this mess?
Jesus answered with Psalm 12:6 (Jewish Bible):
For the oppression of the poor [in want, needy, poor], for the sighing [expressing physical weakness or mental disquietude] of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety at whom they puff [blow upon, break, puff, bring into a snare, speak, utter].
If You promise You’re holding me, then why do I feel so very alone in this all?
Jesus answered me in therapy by showing me I was and am NOT alone:
I found myself … seeing images of angels and Jesus and hearing the voice of God. At first I saw wings covering me, sheltering me and angels holding my Mum, drawing her upwards and God saying to me: “You’re safe and she’s safe, I’ve got you and I’ve got her, it’s okay.” … and I saw Him holding me, as a little child, safe in His arms.
If You have a Church, a Body, then where are they are? Where are Your arms, where is Your physical presence, a hug, a listening ear, tears streaming for this loss so horrid no words can describe it, or ever make any sense of it.
Jesus has kept answering this cry in manifold ways, showing me that in many ways the lack of support I felt at that time had more to do with my hesitance to seek support, with the enemy’s lies of shame and fear that made me unwilling to expose the depth of my suffering (which I share here: Loyal – He’s Holding You Tight) and that kept one of my most faithful spiritually mothering friends (and my former vicar’s wife) and me apart, just after I moved churches, when we both retreated not wanting to overburden one another.
If Your heart aches for every lost sheep then why are You not opening my husband’s heart and allowing faith into my girls’ lives?
God has repeatedly shown me since then that His heart does ache terribly for them and has encouraged me to start trusting and speaking the promises of His Word over them and I’ve seen beautiful things happening.
If You are our safe place, our fortress, then why am I SO scared of You, scared You’re about to strike me dead or kill me off slowly and excruciatingly like my Mum?
In therapy Jesus showed me that these fears were based on me falsely believing it was my fault that my mother died of cancer, believing that the punishment instead of grace I’d seen extended by people I trusted as a child was a true image of God the Father and falsely believing it was my task to protect others and that when I failed to do so, it was proof God was punishing me:
and then as I felt the guilt consume me, I heard Him keep telling me: “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s NOT your fault.” and I saw Him holding me, as a little child, safe in His arms…
Then … I heard Jesus telling me it was not my job to protect my little brother. And I saw him walking hand in hand with my brother as a little boy and I heard the worship song: Majesty, Worship His Majesty, Unto Jesus be all Glory, Honour and Praise. And I heard Him reassuring me He IS in control, that He sees the bigger picture and how it’s all being worked together for good.
Where are You in all of this? What is the purpose of all of this? Are we all just little puppets in Your hands? Are You readying to let me fall into oblivion…because that’s what it sure does feel like.
In therapy He entered every traumatic memory and opened my eyes to His Presence: I heard Him soothingly comfort me and firmly speak truth into the lies that covered me in shame and fear, I felt Him holding me tight and patting my head till all the anger and tension poured out of my body, I saw Him holding my little brother’s hand and His angels taking my mother home. And in the last few months especially He’s been opening my eyes to how He is using my and my family’s heartache to draw us ever closer and bring deep healing, steadfast hope and beautiful comfort not just to us, but also to others.
Who are You?
He showed me that He is my ever-present help in trouble, the lover of my soul, the One who sees and knows me, the One who will never ever ever let me go, the One whose heart bled and still bleeds for me and the One who loves me with relentless pursuing passion…and YOU too!!!
I only dared to ask these questions in my absolute desperation, but they were questions that had been there all along. And in finally asking them, I saw God draw incredibly near.
Faith, dear reader, should never be stagnant, but constantly evolving, as we allow Jesus to take us by the hand and lead us into more and more truth, into more and more of who God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is.
Let us ask the deep dark questions, let us draw near and let Him take us in His loving arms.
Read on to hear why challenging questions directed at us, testing what we believe in, are in fact a blessing in disguise: The Invitation of Challenging Questions.