Friday, January 29, 2016

Brave enough to be angry at God - the prayer of God's unsung hero

In the red hills of the desert a man stood perched on a rock. His bow was bent and he stood as silent as the mountains surrounding him. His arrow leaves with a silent rush straight to it's target, a gazelle grazing by the reeds of a water pool. The man you are seeing is strong and rugged but despite his wild looks, he is a child of promise.

Courtesy of Flickr; Steve Wall
He comes to the animal. Still breathing he gently holds it's neck and with the slash of his dagger ends the pain of the animal. As he begins to work on the animal, carefully preserving everything he can use from it, he looks to the north, his hands bloodied, dirty and warm. There in the light of the setting sun he sees the land of his father, the rolling hills of Judah. For years he enjoyed the love of his father as they told him this land would be his inheritance. He thought he would live at ease with no lack or want for all the flocks of his fledgling clan would one day be his. But it was not to be.

Yahowa, you are the one who bought me here. And why? So I can eke out a living roaming the hills for my prey. Food is scarce and every well is further away than the next. Is this my land? The land of sand and dirt and heat and sun and cold nights and wind. You spoke to me of covenants and promise, of an inheritance made for me but now I am the cast out son of a forgotten slave woman. My mother languishes in a tent musing on long lost days of old. My people to the West could not care for me and in my own father's house I am unwelcome. In vain my name is Ishmael... He whom God hears! Ha! Hears and does what? Why did you banish me to the deserts! I was only a boy! Hears and drives me out under the silver light of the stars and the howling of the wolves. With my own hands like an animal I hunted lizards and locusts so we could live. We owned nothing, but a name. A name of forgotten promises... Where are you? You taught me from my father's mouth that you would never forsake me. Was that a lie? Have you changed? Which one is it? Hear me now or make me forget who I am altogether... are You merely the God of my father but not mine? If you are El and I Ishmael, then hear my cry to You! Hear me!

Few understand the saga of Ishmael. He is Scripture's most unsung hero. There in the lost deserts of Arabia, this man would rise to be a mighty warrior and chief of many nations. He would be a father to a people who to this day have not forgotten the pain of Ishmael.

But in this pain Ishmael discovered something greater than ever. For God heard him... even before he understood his anger, God had heard it.

Ishmael! My Son. I will show you who you are. I will show you what I have done. I will show you who I am making you into. Come, and do not be afraid. Come and let me take the fire of your heart and the anger of your soul. Come and let them find their home in Me, don't keep it from me. I have not abandoned you and your days even before one came to be were all before me. Each one I know, each one I delight in... in you. Your life is not in vain. Your life is a picture and you are a prophet.

In that moment, a shooting star streaks down in the dusk's light. Burning brightly in the atmosphere he sees it dipping into the east. And then as if from a hidden dream deep within the abyss of his heart's anger, he catches a glimpse of it. A slain Lamb, a Hill in the shape of a skull, the mountains of Moriah under darkened skies.

What you have lived, I will live. As you were cast aside, so will I. As you moved out of heritage for your brother, I will do so for you. 

Suddenly, Ishmael realizes what he has seen. Suddenly, Ishmael realizes who he is. But most of all, he realizes who he is... to God. From the ashes of raging anger, he experiences the peaceful river of the love of God he never understood or felt.

You might be angry at God today. Don't deny that anger. Don't bury it. Set it free. Make Him know your anger in the most raw and visceral way you can. Be free with the One who made you free. Can you honestly say you love God if you have never once felt anger towards Him? He is so good all the time, they say. Amen! That's a mantra we swallow but you have not lived long if your faith in His goodness has not been tested. God is like that. He is not tame and predictable. One day He promises you the world and you are soaring on eagle's wings and the next you're cast out in the desert, forgotten, hopeless, alone. You are at a loss and then it dawns on you.. didn't He promise me life? And yet here I am! Argh! God!!!

What good can come out of this? Oh so very much.This is how you find yourself real with the only truly real Person. This is how you come to know God in one of the deepest ways possible. I invite you to pour our your hurts and broken promises to God. Stop burying your disappointment in tired cliche's designed to muzzle your heart's desires and keep you submissive to religion. He is waiting for you. And on the other side of that anger set free, is where your life truly starts.

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. John 12:24

Want more? You might want to check out this breakthrough - The Gospel According to Ishmael.

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David Roiel
The Green Leaf Blog-Discover your inheritance!

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