Show Up: An Angry Prayer from A Reluctant Believer
I covered the hole in my wall with words. It was tiny but went all the way through. The nail had been long and thin. It was centered right beneath the “o” in the metallic letters spelling out “LOVE” that hung firmly there next to the drawing of a lion I’d had commissioned.
I choose the words and the holy and wild and the deep over the profane and shallow. I choose the light and I choose me.
They were my words, written in the same hand whose writing scrawled across the inside of my right arm.
I want to believe.
I believe in so many things. Even after it all. It doesn’t push the limits of my mind to imagine a God. With all that I know of science and the universe, the story of it — it makes sense.
Maybe it isn’t that I don’t believe in something more. It’s that the stories of Him from my youth now feel hollow. The practices of my childhood unfold as unhealthy ones built around performance based approval.
He would love me if I was good enough.
Surprise. Turns out, I wasn’t. I tried hard for a long time. But it all fell apart.
And when it did, it felt as though He wasn’t just choosing not to love me for not meeting His standards but it went further, I was being punished — as though God only shows up for the ones who are perfect. Who are those people?
Because where was He?? Where was HE when I was being raped? Where was He when everything went down during my marriage? Where was He for all those years I carried the shame of what happened to me as a child and never told anyone because I thought I’d get in trouble? Where was He when it happened? Where was He when I was learning that my life wasn’t my own, it was already planned — that I didn’t have ownership of it? Where was He through all that?
IF GOD SHOWS UP… WHERE WAS HE? WHERE IS HE?
Can someone tell me that? Can you explain it? When and how and where does He show up? Who does He choose to show up for? How do you get good enough for Him to show up for you? And if and when He does show up, does it save you from pain?
Psalms 91:15 says He does. “When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.” (NLT)
Because what my experiences have taught me is that He won’t save you from the monsters, you have to save yourself. You have to pull yourself out and claw your way into the light and hold on and hold on and keep holding on. And there will be others who may walk with you but where is He because I keep looking for Him and let me tell you, He never showed up.
Love shows up. My family and friends taught me that after everything happened.
Am I angry? HELL, YES. I’m angry because I guess I do believe, but if God exists and He doesn’t show up then how can He be good?
Do I feel betrayed? Yes. I do.
I don’t have any answers.
There is a hole beneath my words, it is drilled all the way through. And this is my challenge to God, the Universe, whatever the hell is out there…show up. Prove me wrong. Show up.
Not with empty religious platitudes, I just need You to show up. If You are eternal. If You don’t change. If You are the End and the Beginning. If You are the same God that David wrote about in Psalms 91 and that wasn’t complete bullshit he made up to make himself feel better…
Please show up.