By Tony Marciano
Did you ever have a really bad day? I wasn’t having a bad day. Stretch that 30 times. I was having an exceptionally bad month.
It started off bad with two conversations. I was overwhelmed. I was broken. I felt devastated. I was trying to make sense of life and couldn’t get 1 plus 1 to equal 2.
A week later, my sister was visiting from Virginia. She came because we all thought my 90-plus-year-old mother was dying. We thought she was in her final days. She’s not. While Lucille was visiting with me, we sat down and began to discuss everything that happened over the previous many days. As the conversation continued, and without using a filter (which if you know me is always operating) I looked at her and said, “Why does God hate me?”
I couldn’t believe that sentence came out of my mouth. Without missing a beat, I said to her, “I know He doesn’t hate me but why am I going through what I am currently experiencing?”
I felt like Job hearing reports that his livestock had been destroyed and his children had all been killed. The only one who lived was his wife who said, “Curse God and be done with it.” I decided life was so bad, I would read the Book of Job.
His friends accused him of sin resulting in the bad things he was experiencing (if that’s what you call a friend). Then Job decides to take on God. He’s almost like a seventh-grader saying, “Bring it on.” But my favorite part is chapter 38.
If you ever need an illustration of assertive behavior, read Job 38. God is not passive, which can be described as “lose/win” He doesn’t say, “Oh Job, life has been so hard. Come here and let me hold you and comfort you. I am so very sorry for what you are experiencing. There there. Let me make all the bad go away.”
God is also not aggressive. He doesn’t attack him as in a “win/lose” scenario. He doesn’t scream at him.
Rather, God is assertive in His style of communicating. That can be described as “win/win.” God is very direct in his style. He speaks from a perspective of clearly communicating His position without slamming Job against the wall. I like verse 3 that says, “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me.”
I think too often in Christian circles we are passive in our communication. We don’t say what we are thinking for fear of offending the other person or hurting the other person’s feelings. The net result is a poor relationship.
Patrick Lencioni in his book “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” explains that the base level of the dysfunctional pyramid is “Absence of Trust.” Trust can only be developed through vulnerability. Sharing what is really going on rather than saying what you think the other person wants to hear.
A few weeks later, I was having lunch with a friend. She asked me what I thought of a particular situation we were both involved in. I am great at spinning anything and could have answered with a politically correct answer. Instead, I was brutally honest.
God doesn’t hate me. I know He deeply, deeply loves me. I just happen to live in a fallen world.
I’ll be back soon. Until then, live well my friend.
The Rev. Tony Marciano is the president/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. He is available to speak to your group. Visit www.charlotterescuemission.org for details.