Unable to sleep despite needing to sleep, I went downstairs for the next best thing – coffee. I paced the length of my kitchen as the machine sputtered. The coffee maker struggled to brew as I struggled to order my thoughts.
I began speaking aloud to the Lord, using Him as a sounding board for my broken logic and heightened emotions. He listened patiently. He gave me all the time I needed to verbally rearrange the pieces of the puzzle… in vain.
Sometimes prayer goes like that. It isn’t so much a laundry list of “Please do these things for me, Lord,” as it is a wrestling match to align my heart with His on matters.
His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:9). Sometimes we have to fight for understanding. Sometimes we have to settle for peace without clarity, but even that doesn’t always come without an altercation with God.
Our broken minds are inclined to believe a lot of things that aren’t true, especially about ourselves and about God (see Jacob – Genesis 32). So it’s no wonder we have to spend a lot of time with God – the Spirit of Truth – to sort out our right thinking from our wrong thinking (John 16:13). Part of “fight[ing] the good fight of the faith” is mentally fighting the inclination to believe falsehoods (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10:5).
He doesn’t take offense to our (respectfully) arguing with Him (see Moses – Exodus 3-4). He knows that’s part of the process. He delights that we’re speaking honestly with Him, seeking to reconcile our perceptions of reality with who He is and what His Word says. And He knows it is hard and exhausting at times (see Jesus – Luke 22:44).
He never expects us to will ourselves to believe things we struggle to comprehend. Mostly because He knows we can’t. And He certainly doesn’t expect us to pretend we trust Him when we don’t.
Instead, He invites us to come to Him in conversation and work things out. He knows that it is through this wrestling process that our hearts will learn to value what He values and trust His character.
If your heart is overwhelmed, put on your singlet, pop in your mouthpiece, and get on the mat with the Lord.