Raw Prayers and Rage Monsters
Updated: Oct 13, 2019
by Dave Miller
Psalm 119 צ Tsade
You are righteous, Lord,
and your judgments are just.
The decrees you issue are righteous
and altogether trustworthy.
My anger overwhelms me
because my foes forget your words.
Your word is completely pure,
and your servant loves it.
I am insignificant and despised,
but I do not forget your precepts.
Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
and your instruction is true.
Trouble and distress have overtaken me,
but your commands are my delight.
Your decrees are righteous forever.
Give me understanding, and I will live.
Engaging in the Core Apostolic Task delivers its fair share of struggles, pain, and disappointments. The recurring failures of try and try again on the road to #NoPlaceLeft can leave the soul in a very raw and honest position toward our Lord. The prayer of the faithful ambassador in the face of repetitive immediate failure, though never final failure, can often sound disrespectful and downright unfaithful. Just last night, Jesus got an earful from me. I find those moments uncharacteristic for myself, but sometimes my attempts at acting proper for my Lord, well, fall apart.
Just a few weeks ago a faithful friend and partner in the gospel shared a story of how his grandfather experienced a moment with Jesus in study and prayer. While seeking the mission and focused on the task, the Lord gently spoke to him and asked, “Why can’t we be friends?” After laboring faithfully for years, taking direction, command, and assignment from His Lord, he is still delving into the deeps of Jesus, His character, and desire, receiving fresh ways to walk with His Savior. I find in the middle of the task, relating to Jesus as Commander in Chief, can often turn my time with Him to apology sessions. I find myself wondering when he plans to remove me from post for coming up short on the task over and over again. Then the Holy Spirit reminds me, the results are His and I must choose to walk in faith once again. Though I find unfaithfulness in the world and in myself, He is and will be faithful because “You are righteous, Lord, and your judgments are just. The decrees you issue are righteous and altogether trustworthy.”
Yet still, there I am overwhelmed by anger because of the disregard for God’s word. In those moments, I rage. My words are curt, direct, and in some ways accusative. Whys flow like river waters, frustrations overflow into tears, questions end with new questions, and hope teeters on a faith that is sifted like wheat. "I am insignificant and despised." "Trouble and distress overtake me." But His word is completely true and his commands are my delight. He will give me understanding and I will live. In this moment, there is no greater friend than Jesus.
I am going to let someone know, why not him? I am going to live in that moment, why not with him? I am, in that moment, raw and laid bare, standing naked and ashamed. But he calls, “Where are you?” He seeks me. I am not alone. Who else can do anything about it anyway? Your word is completely pure and your servant loves it.
My great friend Jesus meant it when he said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Praise him there was no caveat for temper tantrums, for when the rage monster has his say, the Spirit simply reminds me, Jesus will not fail.
Stay encouraged, even in the moments of anger for lack of progress. What a friend we have in Jesus.
Until there’s #NoPlaceLeft…
Core Apostolic Task:
Luke tells the true story of the Apostle Paul's first journey with John Mark and Barnabas in Acts thirteen and fourteen. He begins with the Holy Spirit setting apart Paul and Barnabas for the "work." Luke finishes the journey as the apostolic team tells of the "work" they had completed.
We desire to follow the same apostolic patterns of entry, gospeling, discipleship, church, and leadership development. We refer to this pattern of work as the Core Apostolic Task.