The supernatural, the mundane, and relational strain

The supernatural…

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Some rights reserved by hickory hardscrabble

My relationship with God has been under a lot of strain lately. I know this is common to man in general, but the last month or so has been a doozy. I told God that I need restoration soon or some supernatural dispensation of Holy Spirit power. I have to trust that there is some purpose to this mess and that it is not just random pointless pain and suffering at the whims of Satan and his minions, entirely out of God’s control to stop. I have to believe that He cares. I have to believe that he is at work. The truth is, I’m starting to hate myself, so I really need to know that He loves me… I really need to know that, even if I’m not sure that I really love Him… The thing is, that we’re commanded to love him. Further, a friend recently had me watch this brief talk by Brennan Manning, where he espouses the need to believe that God, in fact, loves us. Honestly, I want to believe that. I know it, intellectually, but I just don’t believe it. Manning points out that this is likely a function of my gloom, pessimism, low self-esteem, self-hatred, and despair, which in the context of my circumstances is understandable.

So, my regular readers will know that I struggle a lot with this whole Baptism of the Holy Spirit / Gifts of the Spirit thing, often wondering if I am missing something in my faith and my walk. Perhaps I listen to too much Derek Prince and Jim Cymbala. The problem is, I keep hearing preacher after preacher and scholar after scholar, men for whom I have great respect, say that this is for every believer and that God will freely give it.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

So does the fact that I’m not “filled with the Holy Spirit”, as in I’m not displaying the overflow in any manifestations of the spiritual whatsoever a sign that…

  • I am not really a child of God?
  • I am deficient in some serious way?
  • I am in the midst of some sever disobedience that is blocking the Spirit’s work?
  • my life is still under a curse that is blocking me from receiving the blessing?
  • this is not true, not really Biblical or has somehow been grossly misinterpreted?

The mundane…

Honestly, God shows up in my life a lot. An old friend bought tires for my car recently. I find myself put in numerous situations to extend the love of Christ, from my many chance encounters at Walmart to old ladies along the road to broken down cars in the library parking lot. I constantly have opportunity to share and I receive the most astonishing reactions. A friend and mentor of mine pointed out recently that perhaps I am missing the fact that I am more likely to experience God in the “mundane” than in the “supernatural”. Okay, I get that. I understand that most of my life is made up of the mundane. Yet, I am supposed to live and walk in the spirit, to keep my eyes on the things above, and to live according to the Spirit. Further, I am supposed to be serving a dead-raising, sun-stopping, sea-parting, multitude-feeding, heart-softening, never-changing God. If He doesn’t change, then, presumably, He’s still working through supernatural power today, just as he was in the Bible.

When I focus on the mundane, on that which I perceive through my senses, then all I have is the flesh. The mundane is my court-appointed co-parenting workshop, whose underlying message or theme, which can be summed up in the following statements, two of which were overtly stated and the others frequently implied.

  • Your spouse is never coming back.
  • Emotionally mature people grieve the loss and get someone new.
  • You need to detach from your spouse as quickly as possible because they’re never coming back.
  • Divorce can be very positive if you would just accept it and move on.
  • This is no one’s fault and is very normal.

In the mundane, I feel totally beaten down, rejected, and unworthy. I desperately need the supernatural. That’s why I am here, in the sheepfold. I didn’t sign up for this gig to have friendly folks to hang out with on a Sunday morning.

I can’t seem to get my eyes off of the mundane, lately. There was a time, when this all started, that I could see the big picture from God’s perspective. In October, I was providing encouragement, embracing the radical nature of my stand, and focusing past my discomfort. Now, I feel lonely, tired, rejected, lonely, attacked, abandoned, and lonely. Did I mention lonely? Further, thanks to this dry spell in terms of the Spirit, or the supernatural if you will, I feel not only rejected by my spouse but also by the God of the universe. I begin questioning whether or not I am destined to be used for the purposes of God by simply being a tragic footnote in the pages of history, like Esau or Jonah… someone who should be after God’s heart but is just missing it in some profound way.

In the mundane, I’m starting to loathe and fear the woman my wife has become. This person I’m standing for, out of obedience to God and love for her, is beginning to become a stumbling block to my daily walk. As I receive more and more attacks and the attorney fees mound beyond what I can hope to pay, I have to expend more and more emotional and spiritual energy every day, on my knees before God, praying for help to forgive, to love, and to cherish. Every event for our children becomes an additional turn of the screw as my prodigal spouse tries to push me further out of their lives. My spirit cries out in excruciating pain when I see the OM embrace our children as though they were his, when they tell me that mommy said they could call him “daddy”, and when I see my whole extended family sitting with them while I sit off somewhere else on my own.

The bottom line is, if God doesn’t show up in the supernatural soon and I am left with only the mundane to sustain me, then I cannot stand. I cannot do this in the flesh. This is not possible in the mundane. A friend of mine often says that the enemy wants us dead, insane, or incarcerated, and I can see those as viable possibilities in the life of a stander without some supernatural dispensation of Holy Spirit power. Let’s be honest, do this is not natural, and it certainly is not mundane.

Relationship strain

So, as I said earlier, my relationship with God has been under a lot of strain lately. I know that I need to navigate this valley in obedience to Him, open to what He is trying to teach me. I know He is with me. I know that He loves me and wants the “best” for me. I “know” these things, but left to the mundane, it is difficult to feel these truths through the pain, struggle, and exhaustion of daily life. Maintaining a long obedience through this valley in the absence of supernatural strength and the promised “peace that passes understanding“, is tiring to say the least.

I find myself walking through the store, looking at every woman in my age range, not wearing a wedding ring and thinking, “Father, why am I doing this for a woman who has rejected me?” On the weekend when my whole family is with the other man, and I have no one, I find myself alone and often end up turning to an online game for community… I have struggled with this… a lot. I have deleted this game three or four times and repented of even liking it. I have given it up, reinstalled it, and gone whole weekends doing nothing else. I feel like a failure and a fake. I feel like I’m supposed to be stronger than this. I feel like I was never a real Christ follower to begin with.

If I really loved and trusted my Lord, I wouldn’t be so caught up in what I lack, paralyzed by the fear of my “lonely” future, or so self-focused in general. I wouldn’t be upset that I haven’t seen a covenant truck in two months. I want to be focused, serving, obedient, and serene, like Paul was, but I feel like this valley is causing me to regress rather than grow. I just want to throw a childish temper tantrum at the foot of the cross. There’s a ridiculous image for you. I know that this distance and this strain is my fault, but I don’t know how to get beyond it without some supernatural dispensation of Holy Spirit power. Simply pulling myself up by my bootstraps isn’t working.

Somebody pray for me.

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4 comments

  1. I am praying for you, brother. There is a lot more that I want to say but being at work, will have to post later. Just know that I am praying for you right now. If you need my email address, let me know. God bless, encourage and strengthen you.

    Jeremiah

  2. I’m sorry that it has taken so long to get back to posting more. Here are two verses that the Lord has given me in the darkest times of my stand… Usually in this order.

    Isaiah 49:4

    But I said, “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.

    Galatians 6:9

    Let us not become weary in going good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

    I have read, repeated and claimed these verses many times over. Sometimes I don’t FEEL that it’s true but it is because our God cannot lie.

    I know how hard it is and I pray for you often. Right now there is nothing more that you want than a pillar of smoke and fire to lead the way. BIG miracles would make it so much easier to believe. The thing is that those are like exclamation points to God’s promises… the promises that He speaks everyday. I have come to cherish more the small ways that He weaves life together through the acts of Providence that are seemingly random. They are consistent in message and light the path that He has for me just enough at a time.

    The gift of the Holy Spirit is already yours, indwelling and constant. Ask God for the insight to understand which gifts are yours. While I don’t have the gift of tongues (EVER), I have heard my own mother speak in it. Paul cautions against placing one gift more highly than another as all are given where and to whom God has chosen. The outpouring of the Spirit doesn’t take the same form in every believer.

    Loneliness on the weekends is a struggle. I try to start out with prayer and some time in the Word when I get up. Even if it seems that God is silent, it focuses my awareness on Him and keeps me from going down the rabbit-hole. Every time I find my mind straying towards my wife and kids with the other man, I stop and praise God. Not because of it but in spite of it. At the end of it all, He’s the one in control and will have his way. I’m the meantime, what are things that YOU want to do? Got a bucket list? Try and cross-off what you can. Yes, in the beginning you will have to get past the ones that you had as a couple. New things aren’t bad though. In fact, God is creating something new in you right now. Be mindful of the way that God has called you to live, invite Him into your activities and see where that growth allows Him to take you. Standing doesn’t equate to stagnant. It took me a while to figure that out. No matter where I am or what I am doing, the prayers for my wife, daughters and self are still going up.

    Finally, it has taken a lot to forgive. Forgive her, forgive him and really mean it. Start praying for a heart to forgive. Then start praying for your wife. After that pray for the other man. Through gritted teeth if you have to. God wants a relationship with him too. Don’t be afraid to pray for God’s best in his life. Guess what? That best doesn’t include your wife. It was hard. It took a lot of trust and my wife still isn’t home. The thing is, I have peace now. Never in a million years would I have expected that. When your wife is angry, hurtful and cold ask for wisdom in your response (disclaimer: most likely, zip your lip) and pray for her. Be consistent in patience and love. Ask God to show you where and how to Love unconditionally and just do your best while trusting Him.

    I’m praying for you today and wish you a peaceful Father’s Day no matter where your children may be.

    John 5:17

    In Christ,

    Jeremiah

  3. Prayers for you!! I struggle in the same ways and have the same thoughts. Somehow, reading that another Christian had the EXACT same questions as me has actually given me encouragement. I now know that I am not the only one asking whether I have the Holy Spirit since I don’t have certain gifts that other I know do. I study day and night, I am in constant prayer and conversation with the Lord all day long, yet there are times that I think, “am I not understanding? Am I missing something that is acquired by a prayer? Or does someone need to lay hands on me??”
    I want nothing more than to please God, but I listen to others so much that I catch myself wondering… Have I done something to grieve Him from residing in me and manifesting in ways like others seem to say that the Holy Spirit does in their lives?!

    1. wow… yes, you nailed it. “Have I done something to grieve Him from residing in me and manifesting in ways like others seem to say that the Holy Spirit does in their lives?!” Man, I have been there. Heck, I’m there right now… I feel like a fraud who is just going through the motions… meh.

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