Steven Furtick - The Safest Place To Complain
This is an excerpt from: Setup In The Stronghold
we have been taught sometimes that unless we can come to God the right way, we can't come to him at all. The fact of the matter is a lot of us don't pray, don't worship, and don't enter into the presence of God in that specific, intangible way wherein he can heal the issues of your heart because we are scared of what would happen if we really opened ourselves up and told him. In fact, I was talking to my friend the other day about how it's very difficult for us sometimes to tell God how we're feeling, which is funny because I have a feeling he already knows how I'm feeling. I'm scared to tell him, and here's why. It's because of something my dad used to say. Whenever I would start crying, my dad had this line he would say to get me to stop. The line was, "If you don't stop that crying, I'll give you something to cry about".
My dad was a great dad, and I get it. But when David uses this image, I was surprised. I'm so used to the Psalms being a place where we pour out our praise. I was surprised to see David pour out his complaint, because I didn't think you were supposed to complain if God was good to you. I read the whole psalm, and he started the psalm by saying he was pouring out his complaint, and he ended the psalm by saying God was good to him. I couldn't put the two together, because what do you have to complain about if God has been good to you? I'm sometimes afraid to complain in the presence of God, so I don't pray. I can't say what I know I'm supposed to say, so I don't say anything.
I'm scared if I say what I really want to say, God might give me something to cry about. I'm scared sometimes to pray to God before I come preach what I really feel like praying to God, which is, "I'm not feeling this today". I'm scared if I say that to him, he'll put something on my voice box so I can't preach. I'm afraid if I complain to God about my children, he might look on somebody else who can't have kids and has been praying that they could have kids, and here I am complaining about something I prayed and asked God to give me. I feel kind of guilty, so now I stand at a distance, and I won't tell God what I have to say.
I learned something about God. He is the only safe place where I can pour out my complaint. If I don't learn how to pour out my complaints in his presence, they will spill over somewhere else. Where else can I go but his presence? Who else could I tell but the one who knit me? Where else is it safe? What are you going to do? Are you going to go on Facebook and tell your troubles? The presence of God is not a place to bypass your emotions; it's a place to process them. That means the only way into the presence of God is from where you really are, not from where you wish you were. You can start your prayers with, "Oh sovereign God of the seas, Nemo, Dory, and Sidney, Australia, oh God, sovereign Father…"
You can start there. That's preferable, but in case you can't, in case it's one of those days, in case you don't even feel saved, in case you just want to bust some heads, in case you don't feel God at all… It's okay to tell God, "I don't feel you right now, but I need you. God, come to my rescue. You know who I am. You know how much I need". How in the world are you going to get to the attitude and the mindset God wants you to have and the place he wants you to be if you don't start from where you really are? It gives me permission. If David did it, so can I. I can pour out my complaint in his presence. He said, "I cried aloud to the Lord…" The word aloud has different meanings if you spell it differently. You're allowed to complain aloud. This is something that took me a long time to learn.
I always tried to fight what was going on in my mind in my mind. The only problem with fighting what's going on in my mind in my mind is that is enemy-held territory. I have strongholds in my mind, and when I go to pray and my heart is overwhelmed, my mind can't keep up with my spirit, because my spirit knows when I need to pray, but my mind gets in the way. Who am I helping so far? I wish I had brought them out, but I didn't remember. I have some AirPods I put in my ears so people will think I'm having a conversation on the phone in case they look in my car or they see me going through… Well, I don't ever go to Target, but if I happen to go to Target once a year, on my annual trip to hell, I put in my AirPods.
I don't fight my mind in my mind, because I can't win on the level I'm fighting on. I have to get altitude. I have to fight from an elevated place. I fight my mind with my mouth. You can pray any way you want to, but when you really get into a situation, you don't fight in your mind. You pray out loud. You can do whatever you want after this, but for the next seven days you're allowed to pray aloud. I want you to stop closing your eyes and worrying and calling it prayer. You can think a thousand things at once.
How many aren't even paying attention to me right now because you have something in the oven? But you can only say one thing at a time. When I open my mouth, I'm not just being emotional; I'm being strategic. In fact, why don't you shout right now to let God know. Come on, Rock Hill. Shout, somebody in the back of Ballantyne. Shout in the overflow. Let's fill the place with praise. What I love about God is I don't have to start with the script, "Oh, thou mightiest only-est God-est of the sun-est and the stars-est". I can look at God and say, "God, I hate myself right now. Did you see how I just acted"? God will say, "Yeah. As a matter of fact, I did, and I see how you're going to act tomorrow, and I decided to send my Son to die for you with complete foreknowledge of all your faults".
If I make my bed in hell, you are there. If I say, "I'll dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea," God is in the depressed place. God is in the darkness. God is in the cave. David starts writing this psalm, and he has good acoustics. Do you know how you can sing really well in the shower because the acoustics make you think you can carry a tune? Have you ever done that? You got in the shower, and you were like, "I should probably get an agent. I sound just like the recording".
David has good acoustics. He's under attack, but he's in a cave. Some of the best expressions of your relationship with God will be born not when you are crowned in victory, but when you are hiding in despair. David is a giant-killer, and David has a future as a leader of an entire nation God has called out, his people. Have you ever had your calling in conflict with your circumstances? This is David's situation in Psalm 142. I mentioned it briefly, but I want to go back to the historical record in 1 Samuel 22. David is in a safe place, a cave in Adullam. The Bible says in verse 1, "David left Gath…"
Do you want to do something really cool this week? Go study where Goliath was from. I'll go ahead and tell you now, because I studied it for you. It's Gath. He has to go hide in the place where he just defeated an enemy. He has to go hide for a little while in a place where he doesn't belong. The problem with David going to Gath is he still has Goliath's sword he took after he cut off his head. Maybe there's still a little bit of blood on it. David is on the run from Saul, whose throne he is going to occupy. He can't stay in the place he belongs because the king wants to kill him, but he can't stay with the enemies he's fighting against.
Have you ever felt like you didn't quite fit anywhere? Are there at least three weird people like me in here? Do you ever feel like you don't fit where you came from or where you're going? Have you ever felt too churchy to be worldly, but a little too worldly to fit into some churches? I hit something right there. David escapes, but watch this. This is the phrase that got my attention. Everybody has a way they escape. That's what Guns N' Roses was for me, and that's what Elijah's headphones are for him. It's a way for me to escape. Just for a little while, I can get out of my situation and get into something else. Here's the principle: The way you escape could lead to greater captivity. It is so important where you go when you run, because sometimes what you run to will end up running you.