I find it a difficult thing to know how honest I can be with God when I talk to him. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that I want to tell him lies or try and pull the wool over his eyes (as if I could), but rather I just don’t always know how to present my complaints to God. I want to be honest about the things I face and the issues that press in on me but I sometimes feel unsure about how to tell God about it.
Reading Numbers 11 yesterday made me think how blunt Moses is with God:
10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”
It seems like a pretty blunt complaint doesn’t it? I have no doubt that Moses didn’t say it because he was simply annoyed or hacked off, I guess he comes to God like this because he brings everything to God and so these are the emotions and requests for that moment presented in a real and honest way. I guess that also means that coming to God with some measure of honesty about how we are feeling about a situation is not in itself wrong. I want to be careful not to presume to tell God what to do but I also what to be brave enough to ask for real things rather than offer general wishy-washy prayers that mean very little.
Jesus’ encouragement makes my prayers feel too small:
23In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.