March 14, 2019
Permission to Speak Freely
Friend to Friend
I like to filter things. Get the junk out. Keep it pure. I have a filter for water on my counter and on my refrigerator. I replace them regularly. It makes me feel safe.
My fondness for filtering often flows over into the prayers I pray. I search for cleaned up words when I talk to God. Unconsciously believing He’ll like me better if my thoughts, emotions and desires run through a “good-Christian-girl” screen. It makes me feel safe.
Then I see David all up in the mess with God in Psalm 54 and I’m challenged again.
David prays unfiltered. He’s brutally honest with God. In a way I admire but hesitate to emulate. He doesn’t clean up his God-talk. He spills it. Sediment and all. I see this in the Word and my heart breathes.
We can speak freely even when our hearts grind with grit because Jesus is our freedom. We can enter into the dirt of others because He has entered into ours.
It’s good for me to drink filtered water and to filter the words that leave my mouth in conversation, but the words I speak to my Lord don’t need filtering. God can handle my honesty: good, bad and ugly. He needs me to relinquish the ugly in order to transform my heart. There are lessons to be learned in the filtering and un-filtering. In the freedom and in the restraint.
David wrote Psalm 55 in another time of distress.
God, listen to my prayer
and do not hide from my plea for help.
2 Pay attention to me and answer me.
I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint,
3 because of the enemy’s words,
because of the pressure of the wicked.
For they bring down disaster on me
and harass me in anger.
(Psalm 55:1-3, CSB)
He prays that God would show him mercy, talks of his sorrows and fears. He asks God to take action, assuring himself that God would, in due time, take care of business.
But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me.
17 I complain and groan morning, noon, and night,
and he hears my voice.
18 Though many are against me,
he will redeem me from my battle unharmed.
(Psalm 55:16-18, CSB)
He comforts himself with the hopes of divine rescue, and then points others to trust the Rescuer. His heart burns with the ache of things not being as they should... laments the reality of broken life.
Finally, David assures himself that God will make all wrong right in the end. Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22, CSB)
God lovingly sustains each weary heart that calls to Him, and picks up the heavy end of our burdens to lighten the load.
And He holds tight to His own so they won’t shake.
What a powerful, beautiful, strong picture of His love.
In the shelter of His everlasting arms, we can pray unfiltered, ask hard questions and seek comfort from a God who understands pain, knows all and loves perfectly. We can trust Him.
Dear Lord, Even as grace purifies my heart, remind me to come to You as I sift through the things that discourage and diminish my hope. Though this world is broken, I’m grateful that You welcome me to call to You for healing, help and comfort, knowing that you became broken that these miracles of goodness could be made possible.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
On a scale of 1-10, how filtered are your prayers?
What burden do you have that you need help bearing?
In light of this message and questions, grab your journal and spend a few moments in responsive prayer. Not a journal girl? No worries. Write your prayer of response on the wall of my blog or as a comment on my Instagram.
More from the Girlfriends
If you want to read and study the Bible, but don’t know where to start, this is for you! Girlfriends in God cofounderGwen Smith has several online Bible Study options that will guide you on a personal journey with the Lord as you read, record, reflect on and respond to His Word. These studies will help you know what God says about tender topics like forgiveness, healing, fear, depression, relationships and hope. Each study can be done in the comfort of your home and in a timeframe that fits with your personal schedule. Visit www.gwensmith.net/biblestudy to learn more.