I sit in my chair looking across my neat desk into eyes that are sad. Just plain sad. There is no mistaking the emptiness. It’s haunting, but even more so for him. I can turn it off at the end of the day. He cannot. A burning question comes back to me, “Is this loneliness and despair what God has in store for me?” “Is it a sick game from a God who’s far more powerful than me?” It’s a question too many people have, and too many people get irresponsible and damning answers from religious leaders. Victims of abuse are told, “Just put your trust in God,” as if that melts away the images of his sweaty body being thrust upon them, forcing them into unimaginable acts. “Jesus Loves You, This I Know,” one man sings as he’s raping his daughter.
Perhaps we preachers should allow people to cry out to God, to yell at him, be mad at him, and to question him. Rather than offering useless clichés like, “God is good, ALL THE TIME!” we should be saying, “My God, I can’t imagine.” Though the person sitting in my office that day is not a victim of sexual abuse, his feelings about God mirror many who are. I did not offer any “wise” prescriptions for his personal life experiences. I simply listened. And cried.
I asked him if I could publish his prayer, because I believe there is grace, eloquence, and brutal honesty in his words. I believe that people can benefit from hearing his desperate cry to God. I believe preachers should be listening to these types of prayers and, instead of offering cheap advice, offer hope by identifying with the hurt. Here are the raw, unaltered words of his prayer:
Almighty God, I humbly come before you now. I don’t know what your plan is for me or if you even have a plan for me, but I need some assistance from you. I know that you love and care for me deeply, which is why I don’t understand why you let me suffer so much. I know that as Christians we are called to suffer as Christ suffered for our sins to be forgiven, but why did you make things to turn out this way? You are the one and only omnipotent God. You could have made things to be anyway you wanted. It’s not like you had to get anyone or anything else’s permission to make things the way you wanted, you are the boss. I don’t get why you would make the penalty for sin death. You could have made it something far less severe or even done away with anything that would be considered sinful. Why did you choose to let people suffer and die and burn in hell for all eternity? Just for the sake of giving us the choice to serve you? Sorry, but if that’s the case I’d rather not have the choice. I’d rather prefer you to control my actions and guide me along your desired path than just saying: Okay, you’re born now, so you can choose to follow me or suffer forever. I didn’t have a choice in being born, so why should that change for the worst just because I have been born?
On another note, I don’t understand why good people suffer and evil people get the riches of the earth. I know that in the end good godly people will be rewarded with eternal life in Heaven and that wicked people will be cast into Hell and die for all eternity, but this raises a question and a concern in my mind. Why do good people have to wait? So, from my perspective, it doesn’t make sense to punish people for doing good things and rewarding people for living sinfully. That doesn’t seem like the Ideal way to convert sinners to Christianity. Wouldn’t it be easier if living in a godly manner got the rewards and leading a sinful life drove people into darkness such as poverty & depression? I really feel that would be a better system than what we’ve got right now (not trying to challenge you almighty God, I’m just saying that I don’t understand anything you do at all).
Anyways, I am suffering right now pretty severely. I don’t have a job, I’m not in school, I have no money, I haven’t been to Church in months, I’m lonely, I’m depressed, I’m anxious, I hurt physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. And the worst part of all of this is that there is no end in sight to any of these problems. In fact, I only see that most of them (if not all) will be getting worse. God I apologize for this but why do you allow me to suffer so much? Now I realize that there are people out there who have worse problems than I do, but I am definitely in need of some divine intervention now.
God, I feel worthless. I feel that I have no point in existing. You’ve given me reason to suspect that you do have a purpose for me by the fact that I could have died twice now but didn’t. So, if you do have a purpose for me please tell me what it is so that I can work on accomplishing that. And if I truly don’t have a point or my point is to suffer, than I would like to opt out of this mess that is my life. Please give me a life that is worth living. My entire life, from birth to present, has been nothing but failure, pain, sorrow, grief, and torture. I feel as though I cannot keep dealing with this fiasco for much longer especially since I only see it getting worse.
I want to embrace life. I want to love and be loved. I want to experience joy and happiness. Please let me. God, please help me now in my time of need.
It is in Jesus’ name that I say and ask these things and more. Amen.