This Relationship is Too Much Work

Posted: May 28, 2020 by Patrice Miles in C.A.R.E. Africa, Miles In Missions, Missionaries, Patrice Miles, Prayer
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Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 10.06.07 AMLately, my relationship with the Lord has been a lot of work. Coming back to the United States and leading C.A.R.E. Africa from afar has not been as easy as I thought.

Lack of purpose
 – not being able to be hands on with the ministry in Nigeria.
Lack of identity – “Missionary” is a weird word to use when you don’t live in a far-off country.
Lack of joy -God made me an extrovert and now I work alone from home every day.

Since being stateside, I have continually asked God what His purpose was in bringing me back to the United States. What am I supposed to be doing? What is this new chapter in my life? I feel sick, heartbroken and I want to be healed but all I hear is silence.

76710897_10157714046358808_16463361264844800_nThis last year, I have spent time rekindling my relationships with friends and family. We get together for a meal, coffee or a walk in the park. The more time we spend together the more the relationship grows. If I have a problem I can call or text and talk it out with them. It feels easy and there is definitely not any silence.

I feel like my relationship with the Lord should be easier than my relationship with humans, after all, He is God. I meet with Him every day to study His word and ask Him for guidance and wisdom. I invest daily in this relationship and lately I have not felt a return on this investment.

Is God’s investment in my life His son’s death and I am now indebted to Him forever?

girlYes, eternal life is worth it! I don’t deserve to ask for anything more as He has given me everything needed. But sometimes it feels like obedience is all there is in this relationship. Be patient on His timing, love that person, sell everything we own, forgive that family member, move to Nigeria, give that money away, tithe, live humbly, move back from Nigeria, give grace to that one, lead like Jesus, don’t judge, just wait, treat your body like it is a temple, rest, don’t do that, do that. 

It’s just that I would do anything for my friends and family. I would not be silent. If you ask Cason or Jolie what their mom would do if anyone did something to hurt them- they would tell you – “She would take no prisoners..!” If they had a problem I would drop everything and be there to help. If they needed to be healed and I could heal them, I would.

I feel like with God I always need to be on my knees or be at His feet, always praying (oftentimes pleading) to Him in the hope He will speak clearly to me. Why can’t God heal me like the cripple at the pool in John 5:1-9. The cripple didn’t even initiate the conversation. Jesus did. The cripple just answered His question and was immediately healed.

Really? Why do I feel like I have to do something or give up something for God to do something for me?

I feel suffocated, required, demanded, controlled, enslaved and indebted. 

God’s love, as clearly described in the Bible, is unconditional. This just makes the silence  harder to understand. The Bible says in Matthew 11:30 that His yoke is easy but I am not feeling the easy right now.

As a mom, I don’t want my children to feel suffocated, required, demanded, controlled, enslaved or indebted. Yes, I carried them for 9 months, they ruined my body and continue to drain my bank account, but I don’t want a relationship built on obligation. I don’t currently hang out with the Lord out of obligation but I’m feeling like it is heading that direction if this silence continues.

Have you experienced silence from God before?
Has there been a time you questioned if He really cared?
What got you through this?
What helped you maintain your faith, hope and joy amongst the silence?

Comments
  1. Beverly Sapp says:

    I have felt silence and even ignored by God in the past. Full disclosure, I am not a patient person. I feel like God used these times of waiting (and waiting, and waiting…..) to grow me closer to Him or to teach me something. These times drove me deeper in prayer. Sometimes fasting & praying, sometimes an overnight prayer vigil, sometimes a weekend retreat just me & God in a quiet place. But most often, I have found that taking my eyes off of me and my wants & concerns, and instead focusing on gratitude, has been most effective. If I make a concerted effort to be grateful for EVERYTHING, I find that next thing I know- I am seeing His faithfulness yet again and hearing His direction in some way- through a godly friend or a pastor’s message or through His Word. Praying for you Patrice.

  2. Paul Paternoster says:

    I think the yoke imagery flows from what Jesus said about repentance in vv. 20-24 and from what He said about being the only way to God in vv. 25-27. We stop going our way and turn to God through Jesus.
    Jesus’ yoke may refer to one or both of two different things. A single yoke was a picture of servitude; in that case, Jesus is the burden we bear. A double yoke was a picture of sharing; yoked to Jesus, He bears the burden along with us.
    In either case, I think the imagery of the yoke helps us understand the two stories that follow in Chapter 12. First, walking through a grain field on the Sabbath, the hungry disciples were not allowed to pluck heads of grain and eat them under a strict rendering of the Law, but Jesus allowed it. Second, a man with a withered hand was supposed to wait another day to be healed under a strict rendering of the Law, but Jesus did not wait until the Sabbath was over to heal him. In both stories, Jesus relieved people of the heavier yoke of the Law. But following Jesus never meant living on easy street—of course, in our humanness, we wish it were so.

  3. Ginger Parker says:

    Patrice, I was just reading this post. It’s late and I am still working and touching this or that to make someone else’s life a little easier tomorrow. I just felt moved to share some thoughts with you. I don’t have a deep well of wisdom. I have no solutions. However, what I do have is the absolute unequivocal certainty that no matter how little or how much, or if I don’t even chase after the Trinity, they never leave me. I can easily fall into guilt for not praying every day or not reading my bible, or allowing life to step in and take their place. Then I remember God just wants relationship with me. Nothing complicated. He just wants me to talk to him, share my heart, what I’m feeling. Those are effortless conversations because I am just taking to my best friend, the one who endured separation from God when He took on my sins. If I reached you a gift you wouldn’t give it back to me and tell me it isn’t good enough, fail to open it, not care what was in the package. This relationship if just that, a gift. I can’t imagine what God has in store for me, everything that is in that box is glorious. He’s given me a glimpse, but I am guessing it is beyond anything I can imagine. There are things that grow out of this simple casual relationship. I have learned that Jesus will turn whatever I can give into something greater because He is in it. Something I could never do on my own. Maybe I’ve let go of this world and just said, “use me”. If I really mean that then I have to be prepared for the will of our Lord to be greater than my will, my timing, my plan. This changes our perception of control. I/We have to be prepared to give that to Him. Boy, will He do big things with control – He has shown me what can happen when I let go, Its as if I were choking my family, friends, projects, objectives. This feels like PEACE. I want more of it. And, with the help of the Holy Spirit I surrender more. My identity is greater than this person in this body. I am a child of God. I am a sister to Jesus. I have power I have no idea how to access. I only see it when I let go of my earthly focus. Patrice, I could never see myself being the kind of missionary you are. However, I have a mission everyday. That is to do what God calls me to at any moment, with whoever HE places in my path, to open my mouth to let him speak through me. I have centered my heart on LOVE. When I am anchored on love, I can’t get angry, I can’t control, I am liberated to listen and respect a conflicting opinion, I can accept rejection or criticism, it seems to fall off of me with no affect. Not my time, but on His time. Not my fruit, his. So. Do you really have to be hands on with the ministry in Nigeria. Have you poured into one or two disciples who will be your partner in ministry and grow in their dependence upon God in your absence? If not, this is your real purpose, to be like Jesus. Your Missionary heart can’t be turned off. No matter where you are, God goes before you, allow Him to work ahead of you and be at peace when you catch up to what He has done. Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 94:19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, (oh the testing of our faith) Joy is in the gift box. There is no return on investment. You sow and someone else reaps, again all Gods timing. There is no indebtedness. This victory over sin is a free gift. Don’t get me wrong. Faith without deeds, well can it really be faith? Aren’t we called to produce fruit? Oh yes, but not in anguish. This calls for a group of women to lay hands on you and surround you in prayer! Is God really silent or are we not hearing him say, “not yet”? Be patient with God, He will NEVER leave you. Love, Ginger

    >

    • Thank you so much for this. It was beautiful and so true. I wrote this blog about three weeks before I posted it and since then have come to terms with this wiating period. God has given me peace and I am just taking everyday as it comes seeing what he has for me in it. Thank you again for your encouraging words as it’s nice to see and hear people who have gone through the control struggle and handed it over.

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