I have been reading A Praying Life: Connecting with God in Distracting World and it has been stepping all over my toes. But this morning it totally busted me. In this chapter he is dealing with the cynic. Now, I will readily admit that I am a cynic in life. My nickname from Brad is Dream Killer. I remember once when Jackson was small he told me he wanted to be a zoo keeper when he grows up. Instead of praising him and telling him what great job it would be. I went into a long list of why most zoo keepers probably couldn’t provide for their families and how men were made to be the providers. I know, mom of the year.
What I didn’t realize how much I was a cynic with God. Miller writes “To be cynical is to be distant. While offering a false intimacy of being “in the know,” cynicism actually destroys intimacy. It leads to a creeping bitterness that can deaden and even destroy the spirit. A praying life is just the opposite. It engages evil. It doesn’t take no for an answer. The psalmist was in God’s face, hoping, dreaming, asking. Praying is feisty. Cynicism, on the other hand, merely critiques. It is passive, cocooning itself from the passions of the great cosmic battle we are engaged in. It is without hope. It you add an overlay of prayer to a cynical or even weary heart, it feels phony. For the cynic, life is already phony; you feel as if you are just contributing to the mess.”
BUSTED. That describes me to a tee.
I realized today that I had become so accustomed and trusting in God’s sovereignty that I had lost the relationship – lost the tenderness, mercy and grace. I was the puppet knowing that the puppet master was doing to do with me what He wanted regardless of my wants. Now, please hear me on this. We are asked by God to be clay and allow Him to mold us. But God never asked us to be robots. That is why I struggle with prayer. In my shallow understanding of God’s sovereignty, I removed who God made me to be. God wants me to be feisty with him (not disobedient) but he wants to me to come to him and hope and dream. God doesn’t want my rote obedience – he wants my heart. Rout obedience is legalism not a love affair. He wants me to obey out of the outpouring of the love in my heart. I obey because I want to, not because I have to.
I also think we can quickly do this with our kids. We want them to obey because we said so, not because they want to. Now, there will be times when they will have to obey regardless but our relationship with them should be so strong that they want to obey. I wonder if perhaps we spent as much time and effort forming a relationship with our kids as we do making them obey our commands, what would happen?
It is the same with God. He wants us to obey, yes. But he wants us to love him and engage with him. He wants that dialogue with us but I know that I would much rather accept a rout relationship than be disappointed with God. What if I ask for something and He says no? What if I am wrong? It comes down to pride for me I think. I would rather be right about what God is going to do than go out on a limb for what he might do. I am to scared to go out there for fear the limb might break.
Why I am still like this? I have every reason to trust God. I know he can be trusted even when the limb does break. So, why do a keep hiding in a cocoon of doubt? I don’t want to get hurt. In the end, I would rather be comfortable and content than daring and dangerous. Safety seems safer. Better to not dream than dream and be disappointed.
Better a cynic than a fool?
God says no, he offers hope. Hope that does not disappoint. I just have to trust and step out on that limb. That, my friend, is the hardest part.