I have to be honest with you–I’m a little scared to right this post. I’ve thought about writing it several times, but I was afraid of the consequences. Kind of like when you pray for humility or brokenness…you know you need it, but you don’t really want what it takes to get there.
But here goes….
Have you ever been stuck in a sin for an extended period of time without having suffered the consequences of it? You know what you’re doing is wrong, and you know that eventually it will blow up in your face, but until then you just keep on doing it? For some people that may be sexual sin, for others it could be financial corruption, and for others it could simply be gossip or fits of anger or jealousy.
Whatever the sin, you know it’s wrong, but because you haven’t dealt with any repercussions as of yet, you keep indulging it, keep pushing it, and play it out as long as you can. As long as you don’t have to deal with the negative effects, then the cost of giving it up is not really worth the trouble. It is short-sightedness at its finest.
I, personally, believe this is one of the most miserable places to live. To dwell in that place for long is to live in constant fear. Deep down, I know the consequences will eventually come, so I have this horrible anxiety hanging over my head. When is the shoe going to drop? How long can this really last? And when it ends, what will my life look like afterwards?
In addition to that anxiety, I also hate the feeling that I am getting away with something. There is nothing worse than knowing you’re a total hypocrite. Everyone looks at you as if you’re this wonderful Christian, but you know better. You see what they cannot, and because of the disconnect between those two lives, you feel empty. And the longer that disconnect exists, the larger the emptiness grows.
Well one morning at church I was meditating on all of these things as I worshiped, and a surprising thought began to creep into my heart: “Lord, show me your wrath.” Crazy, huh? As soon as the thought popped in, I wanted to push it right back out, but I instead decided to pursue it a little. Where did that thought come from?
The longer I pondered it, the more I discovered that it is rooted in my understanding of God’s very character. As much as I hate parading around like a super-Christian, knowing all along that I’m a hypocrite, I’m sure that God detests it even more. Jesus never spoke too highly of the Pharisees, after all.
But on top of all that, I don’t want to serve a God who looks the other way when His people commit sin in His name. That is a weak God, that is an unjust God, and more importantly, that is an unloving God. Why would God simply sit by and let us engage in behaviors that are self-destructive? To let us get away with our sin when it is eating us alive is not really love at all.
That is why Scripture tells us that God disciplines those whom He loves. When we experience the consequences of our actions, God is teaching us about His ways, and refining us in the process. To refrain from doing so would mean that He essentially doesn’t care.
That God, an apathetic, distant, passive God, is not the kind of God I serve. And that is why I was compelled to pray, “Show me your wrath.” I wanted to be reminded of God’s awesome holiness and His mighty justice. I want to serve a God who cares deeply about His children and how they live their lives, a God who protects His children from the sin that threatens to consume them. I want to serve a God who hates the sin that steals, kills and destroys all that is beautiful in this world, and I want to serve a God who declares war on that sin. I want to serve a God who pushes His servants toward excellence, honor, and holiness, and does not settle for mediocrity.
It is for all those reasons that I prayed that crazy prayer one Sunday morning. I’m still kind of bracing for the results, but I think it gets to the very heart of who our God is, and why we worship Him. We do not serve a passive God who casually sits by while we ruin ourselves and slander His name in the process. We serve a God who loves us profoundly and defends His glory as well. That is the God I love, and that is why I prayed, “In the face of my blatant, ugly sin, Lord, show me your discipline, show me your love. Show me your wrath.”
Will you be so bold?