Literally, when we are ready to collapse from disappointment, we can collapse into God. We can fall into our favorite chair or favorite spot on the couch or favorite corner of the church and say Jesus, I love you. Thank you for being good to me. And then we can stay in prayer and talk to him. We can feel good to be with him as he enjoys spending time with us, as he enjoys being our place to find comfort. “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken” (Psalm 62:1-2).
It’s pleasurable to fall into the place of the Lord’s rest. When we want to be there with God, hanging out with him as a friend or a child, it’s so nice to know that God wants to be there with us.
But is it safe to say that we like Jesus most when we’re not mad at him? Isn’t it true that we desire to be in the rest of Jesus when it is clear that someone or something else has worn us out, made us angry, or made us sad? When we see clearly that God is not the fault of our distress, our natural reaction is to turn to him.
It’s easy to praise Jesus during the times that we like Jesus. But what about the times that we are in so much pain that all we want to do is yell at God for doing this to us?
Remember, this world will give us grief, but God is going to be good to us. If God has done something to teach us a lesson, then we’ll know it, and he’ll make sure that we know it. How God teaches and disciplines is completely different from how the world treats us, because Jesus doesn’t quit on us. He’ll teach us, make sure we see that it was his education system doing the teaching, and then he’ll stay with us, encourage us, and keep our heads up. Our response to God’s lessons are generally apologetic. We say sorry, Lord. Now I see.
With the lessons the world gives, who knows what the outcome will be? People say the world is a cold place. And that can be true, because when the world teaches us a lesson, it may not stick around afterwards to give us a pat on the back and tell us to keep trying. When the world hits us, it hurts! Our parents, our friends, they are nice, they are loving. They’ll be there to help us up after we fall. An employer, the government, customers, schools, public clubs, the law. . . nope, they’ll be there to slap us, fine us, and throw us out on our own no matter how bad we want to stay.
So, when we get angry because of the callousness of the world around us, let’s not get mad at Jesus. Let’s stop ourselves from yelling at him and start praising him. Sing songs of worship to him, raise hands in prayer, and say Jesus, you are good to me, thank you. Let’s keep repeating it if we have to. Understand that praising Jesus in the times of our most serious pain, mentally, emotionally, or physically is one of the hardest hitting weapons we can use to smack the world right back.
“I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with horns and hoofs” (Psalm 70:29-31).