Wrestling with God: How to Respond to the Death of a Dream

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Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.

Psalm 6:2-9, NIV

Somehow as church people we’ve been groomed to believe we shouldn’t be real with God in our prayers. Somehow we get this feeling of guilt when we tell God that we’re sad, angry, frustrated, or confused. But in the Psalms we find an anecdote for this guilt. David, the great King of Israel and the most famous songwriter that ever lived, was also known as a “man after God’s own heart” (see 1 Sam. 13:14 and Acts 13:22). Yet in his Psalms we do not see a man who was afraid to tell God how he felt or even to question Him.  

Here in this Psalm, David speaks of his soul being in anguish, and he asks God how long it will be before He turns to deliver him. It looks like he is losing his faith. He is so blunt, asking God, if I die, how will You receive praise? For those of us who have experienced the death of a dream, this kind of honest conversation with God can be the very thing that begins to breathe life back into our souls, back into our dreams. For even as we talk to God like this - “God, I am so broken and disillusioned by this dream death. I don’t understand how this is bringing you glory. I am crying all the time, and I am worn out. How long until You come to rescue me? How long until You restore me?” – something begins to stir within, for it is here in this wrestling with God that we are forced to come face-to-face with the reality of who He is. This very questioning of Him could be the thing that causes the roots of our faith to go down deeper, for this is when we choose: will I believe He is who He says He is, even if I don’t see it right now? Or will I turn and walk away from Him? These questions could be the undoing of you, yes. But oh, let’s choose to be like David, and allow them instead to be our making. As David wrestled these things through with His God, He never failed to declare a promise of the Lord in conclusion. In blackest night, he would complete his songs with declarations of his trust in God’s great Light. 

Oh to wrestle with God and come out knowing Him even more. Like Jacob, we may walk away from the wrestling with a limp, but we will also walk away with a new name, a new identity that is reserved for those who had the courage to engage in the fight (see Genesis 32:22-32).

Ponder it:

What feelings are you afraid to reveal to God? What questions are you afraid to ask Him? Reveal them now. Ask them now.

Have you ever come to the place where you’ve had to wrestle with the question, will I choose to believe God is who He says He is? What was the result of your wrestling?

Do you want to be one of the ones who receives a new identity because you were willing to wrestle with the Lord? What is the significance of this to you?

Live it Out:

  • Write your own wrestling psalm based on whatever it is you are going through right now. Don’t be afraid. Be honest with the God who Loves you, and conclude it with a promise about God that you know in your mind to be true, a promise that you now want to experience in your heart.
  • Ask God what the new identity is that He is desiring to give you, an identity that will be won as you wrestle with Him and your roots of faith go deeper.

Pray it Through:

Lord, I want an unshakeable faith. This life isn’t easy. It’s going to throw some punches and some of those punches will make me drop to my knees. But God, isn’t it there in the fight that I really get to choose what I believe? So I’m asking You today to give me the guts to fight back, to fight for my faith, to not be afraid to get real with You, to wrestle with You, to figure out what it is I really believe while I ask the hard questions and wait for the holy answers. Thank You, Lord, for wrestling with me, and for not letting me go until I receive Your blessing. I want to be a dreamer who fights and a fighter who dreams, whose weapons are fashioned by the Word and whose grit was born in the wrestling through the night with You. Thank You, God. You are constant and You’re real. This is going to be an amazing adventure. Amen!

Hi friends! This blog post is an excerpt from my 31-day devotional entitled: Here Comes the Dreamer - A 31-Day Guide to Living Out Your God-Dream. I really hope hope it strengthened your heart and gave you some practical tools for whatever struggle you may be walking through! Go check it out and snag a copy for you (and maybe for a friend, too) - click here! My heart is to equip God-dreamers of this generation to stay the course and live out their callings, no matter what challenges and struggles they may face along the way. BE BLESSED and KEEP DREAMING WITH GOD! <3

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