Q. “Katie, your words “prayer is the safest thing you can do with your emotions” leapt out at me. What if intimate prayer, seeking & hearing from God led to the most painful experience in your life because you misheard? How do you regain intimacy with Him when that intimacy almost cost your faith?” –T
A. T, Thank you for voicing a question many of us won’t even let ourselves think. And you aren’t just thinking it – you are living and facing it. I commend you for your courage.
You see, this question hits close to home for me. The Lord recently asked me to face my biggest fear – what if I’d heard Him wrong? I didn’t think I could go on – the thought of everything I put my trust in being wrong would completely destroy me. The thought alone would crush me – leaving me gasping. Then the fear became a very real reality I had to face.
So T, I’m not at all sure I have the answers for you, because I’m here too. But as a sister in Christ I can share with you part of my wrestling’s and journey towards peace.
It’s not wasted. One of the biggest lies Satan can speak to us through this is that all of our effort, our trust, our choices, everything we’ve built on and hoped for is wasted. But it’s not! Listen to what Paul says:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (Phil 3:12-16)
When I read this passage two things struck me. 1). That God is faithful to make it clear to us when we are wrong. This doesn’t sound like a blessing at first – but it is a comfort that He loves us enough to make it clear when we are wrong. And He doesn’t let us remain in our mistakes. 2). Immediately following the promise that the Lord will not leave us when we make a mistake – is that we are commanded to live up to what we have attained (meaning – to gain). The things we learned along the journey are not mistakes even if the perceived destination is. What are the concepts – the truth we can glean from the journey? They are not wasted! Dear sister, do not loose the things you attained – but live up to them as you press forward towards the goal of Jesus Christ.
Promise or Promiser? What is our goal? According to this passage our ‘goal’ is Jesus Christ. SO much deeper than the promise is the Promiser. In our pursuit, what we hear often takes the place and the focus of the one who speaks. When we don’t know what we’ve heard, go back to what we know – the things in His very character that aside from a lie from the devil we cannot misinterpret – His Faithfulness, and His love towards us. When we are at the place of knowing nothing – go back to the basics sureing up our foundation.
Time heals and reveals the purposes of God. I think our biggest mistake isn’t hearing the Lord wrong, but misinterpreting the purpose of what we’ve heard. <— Tweet this! (At least in my experience!) Even when we’ve heard right and others free will and sin (or our own!) gets in the way – the purposes of God still remain. Psalm 33:11 says “But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Ask the Lord to reveal the purpose of it all to you.
Only time will reveal what was from the Lord and what was our mistake (or not). Several years ago I thought I followed the Lord’s leading into a relationship that caused me so much pain. My interpretation of it was marriage. God was after my heart (read more here ) and the birth of a ministry.
God will show us His heart and purposes. Don’t under estimate the Holy Spirit and a humble heart.
When our intimacy is lost with the Lord – remember it is two sided. Intimacy (in –to-me-see) takes two people, and even when we are wrong the Lord is working on His side of it. He sees into our hearts and invites us to see back into His – to gaze on the Love that won’t let us go.
Just last week it hit me that “faith” is a gift of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:9). I can’t have faith on my own – but He can restore, redeem, build and strengthen my faith because He gives it to me (and you!).
So dear sister – don’t trust yourself or your emotions – but entrust them to Him. Even when the mistakes are on our end (He never makes mistakes – how comforting and how annoying!), it can still feel like in a way that the Lord wounded us. Tozer says “ I highly doubt the Lord can use anyone He does not wound”. He is going to use this not only in your life, but in the life of others! Keep on keeping on!
Rebuild your relationship with the Lord like you would with anyone else – start with honesty. Share with Him the fear, the anger, the pain. (Journaling helps me a lot!) Look at David – the Psalms are filled with David pouring his grief out before the Lord. But the Lord never left David in that spot of despair and broken honesty – He won’t leave you there either! He is the same yesterday today and forever – He’ll do it for you too!