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Pour Your Heart Out to God

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(10/12) I love the Bible. For most of life, I don't have to guess about what is right or wrong, or wonder what God's will is because it is clearly spelled out in the Bible. Even when things aren't as clear, like,'gray,' areas, there are principles that I can apply (see 1 Cor. 10:31). But then, there are times when I simply don't know what to do. I don't understand what is happening or what God is up to in my life. These last two years have been that way for Debbie and I. We just don't understand what has happened or why. Sometimes it feels like we are in the twilight zone. Over the years we have experienced these seasons of uncertainty. Some of you have or are experiencing such a season right now. So, the question is, and this series is titled, What do you do when you don't know what to do?

Last week, we looked at the very first thing you must do when you don't know what to do. You must Remember, that God has a plan even when you don't understand. Romans 8:28 reminds us of that. There are at least 12 things that God may be doing in your life. We looked at those last week. The one over all thing that He is doing is shaping you to be just like Jesus (Rom. 8:29).

These next eleven weeks may or may not be in the exact order of priority, but the next thing you need to do when you don't know what to do is, You need to, Pour Your Heart Out to God.

I would like to introduce you to a Bible person that You probably have never met before, even if you are familiar with His work. He was a singer-song-writer, musician, and choir director named (believe it or not) Heman. He was the grandson of the prophet Samuel (1 Chron. 6:33; 2 Chron. 5:12). He helped to organize and lead the worship at the dedication of Solomon's temple. From what He has written, we can only guess that he was either sick or injured most of his life and it seemed as if God didn't hear him when he prayed or that He didn't care, even though Heman had dedicated his life to the worship of God. He was a man who was depressed and lonely. Some have suggested that he may have developed leprosy and thus, was quarantined. His heart believed what His theology had taught Him, that God was gracious and faithful and righteous, but like Job, it appeared that Heaven was silent toward him, as he tells us in Psalm 88. Listen and feel His depression.

Heman was a saved man. He knew the salvation and eternal destiny of his soul was secure in his relationship with the Father. But he did not understand what was happening in his life now. Heman didn't know what to do with his afflictions so he did what he knew to do, He poured His heart out to God (v.1). That is what David encourages us to do when we don't know what to do in Psalm 62:8. "Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah." This is what I love about the Psalms. These 150 songs include jubilation, praise, history, theology, hope, admonition, encouragement, but they also express real heartache and pain. I guarantee you that if you read through the Psalms you will find an Ahh Haa Psalm; that is, one that describes you or your circumstances almost perfectly. Let me show you another. Look at Psalm 77. Asaph was another worship leader, a song writer, perhaps a contemporary of Jeremiah that saw the Babylonian invasion, and destruction and captivity of his beloved country. The first 10 verses show his deep anguish as he pours his heart out to God.

Listen, God wants us; He tells us; He encourages us; and He practically begs us to pour our hearts out to Him when we don't know what to do. Listen to these scriptures.

  • 1 Peter 5:7; (Psalm 55:22) Dump it all onto his lap or shoulders
  • Hebrews 4:14-16 - Jesus knows how you feel and He can help
  • Phil. 4:6-7 - God will take your requests and give you peace
  • Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to Jesus with all your pain
  • Psalm 62:8 - Pour out your heart to God
  • Luke 18:1-8 cp. Luke 11:5-10 - Cry out persistently to God
  • Men who cried out to God, Job, Moses, David, Heman, Elijah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Jesus.

So, what does pouring your heart out to God look like? What should you include? You may be surprised, because it should include 10 things (I am not joking). You need to write these down and keep them where you can find them. When you Pour Your Heart Out To God, you should express:

Your Feelings and Emotions (Psalm 88:1-5). Heman felt like he was dying, drowning in pain and sorrow, so did Asaph, so did David in Psalm 69:1-3. God, I am angry and confused, hurt and sad. I feel like no one cares what this has done to me or how I feel right now. I am confused with you God, I thought you loved me and that everything that happens is for my good. I feel abandoned, alone, my heart aches. I am drowning in my sorrow. My friends, this is what I see in the Psalms and throughout scripture. It is okay to tell God how you feel. It is therapeutic. He wants us to do that. And I promise you there will be no lightning bolts coming at you, and the walls won't crash down on you. When you pour your heart out to God, tell Him how you feel, cast it all onto Him

Your Complaints (Psalm 88:6-9; 77:1-4). Heman, Asaph, David, Habakkuk, Elijah, Jeremiah, Moses, all, knew the sovereignty of God. That know that God is all powerful and that nothing happens outside of his control. They knew the truth of what Paul wrote that God is at work in all things (Rom. 8:28). Doesn't He care about me? God you are doing this. You could have stopped this. You could have changed this, but you didn't. Elijah said, "I am the only one who cares about you; there is no one else and I want to die." (1 Kings 19:4-14). Jermiah said, "You induced me and I was induced and I don't want to do this anymore, I really didn't want to do this in the first place. I wish I had never been born (Jer. 1:4-5; 20:7-18). When you pour your heart out to God, it is okay to tell Him your honest complaints. God, I really thought that with all the prayers and thoughts and sincere desire to honor you that things would have been different. The TV guys tell us that with a positive attitude and enough faith, my life was going to be good, but it stinks right now; I was told that if I preach and pray and plug away, I would accomplish great things for you. Job's complaint was basically,' I don't know what I have done wrong. If this is my fault, I can't correct it if I don't know what I have done. And God won't tell me. My friends say I have done wrong somehow but they can't tell me how and they want me to confess something I don't know about, and heaven is silent.'

Your Questions for God (Psalm 77:7-9; Numbers 11:11-13; Psalm 22:1; Hab. 1:1-3; Psalm 88:10-14; 13:1-2). I have heard preachers say that you must never question God, but that is not what I see in scripture. Part of pouring your heart out to Him is ask Him the questions that bother you; questions that are related to your pain and your confusion. Did not our Lord Jesus use the very words of David when He, Himself cried, "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46). Would anyone dare say, that Jesus was wrong? You see prayer isn't just typing in your order like on a computer keyboard, it is a means of intimate communion with a personal Father who loves you and who wants the kind of honest intimacy that questions reflect. It is only sin is when when we think we can be God's counselor or that we know better than He what He should have done or What He should be doing now. If Job had a problem, that was it. It is okay to question God. You are His child and its okay to ask, why when you pour your heart out to Him?

An Expression of Your Helplessness (Ps. 69:1-3). God, if you don't save me, I am finished. You are my only resource. I have no other means. I cannot get myself out of this hole, this mess, this depression. There is nothing nor anyone who can rescue me except you. Sometimes our pride keeps us from this step. "I am woman, hear me roar." "I am the man, I can do anything." I can do this, I don't need any help. But listen to Jehoshaphat's prayer when a great enemy came against him in 2 Chron. 20:12. "We have no power against our great enemy, nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on you." Be honest with God and tell Him that you are helpless without Him.

Your Desire for His Intervention (Ps. 69:13-18; 86:1-7)- Jesus prayed for God's intervention if it was at all possible when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Paul prayed 3 times for the Lord to remove some thorn in his side (2 Cor. 12:8). The Psalms are full of prayer for God to intervene, to do some thing that would change the situation and give relief.

Your Remembrance of God's Faithfulness in the Past -Your life or in the Bible or otherwise (Ps. 77:11-20). After you have expressed your emotions, your complaint, your questions, your helplessness, and your deep desire for God's intervention, you need to slow down, look back, and remember. Remember God's faithfulness in your past. Has he taken care of you in the past? Or, how about this, Did He send His Son to die and rise again for you and guarantee you a home in glory land that outshines the sun? Did God keep His covenant promise to Israel? Did He provide for them in the wilderness? I am amazed at how many times in scripture, the past is brought up to show that God is at work in the present. Tell your Father, that you remember His faithfulness in the past. That will help you in the present. I promise.

Your Need for His Wisdom (what to do) (James 1:5ff). In the context of unexplained trials, James says that when we don't know what to do, we need to ask God what to do. He will give you wisdom. He will give you the ability to apply His word to your situation. When you say to God, "I don't know what to do, show me what to do?" He will and He never gets tired of hearing you say or ask that; He never gets irritated at you for asking. Isn't that what James 1:5 says? The only disclaimer is that you ask in faith, that is believing and willing to trust and obey what He tells you (v.6). But by comparing James with the Proverbs 1-3, we discover that wisdom is found in God's Word. Look for wisdom as you ask for it.

Be Persistent (Luke 18; 11; Psalm 88: 1, 9, 13; Ps, 55:16-17). Luke tells us that our Lord gave a Parable with the intent to encourage men to pray and not faint, or lose heart or quit, or drop out. The context of that parable is in a teaching about the last days when there will be days of chaos like those of Noah's time or of Lot's time. The point is that God knew the distress and it pains His heart to see His children in the condition they are in and He is going to do something, but it may just not be now for reasons known only to Him. But do not stop pouring your heart out to Him. There is no, one and done when it comes to pouring your heart out. The whole idea of Asking, Seeking, and Knocking is that you pound on Heavens door and hit redial on your phone everyday, 3 times a day for as long as it takes, because God has a plan even when I don't understand.

Then Take the Time to Listen - (1 Kings 19:12-13; Hab. 2:1). Be still and listen - for a still small voice. Prayer was not meant to be a monologue, but a dialogue. Before you say Amen, and get up, listen quietly. Let the Holy Spirit tell you to look at this scripture or remember this verse, or recall your commitment, or rest in this promise or forsake this sin. When you pour your heart out to God, don't get up until you have sat quietly and listened, perhaps with your Bible open.

A Commitment To Trust God- No Matter What-"Though He slay me," (Ps. 13:5-6; Job 13:15)- My chief counsel, as we close this out, is that after you have poured your heart out to God and have listened for Him to speak to your heart, make Job's conviction your own. Though I don't understand, and regardless of the confusion and pain I am experiencing, I will trust God even to my death. I know; I don't think, hope, or guess; I know He has a good plan, even when I don't understand. Philip Yancy, a long time editor of Christianity Today, and one of my favorite authors, wrote in one of his first books, a statement like this," The only thing worse than going through a trials as a follower of Jesus Christ is going through trials with out Jesus-without any hope."

As I close, listen carefully, as you pour your heart out to God, persistently, and as you listen and re-commit your allegiance to Him, sooner or later, His peace will unexplainably envelop you like a blanket (Phil. 4:6-7). My friends, do you know the salvation and grace that is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

Before we take communion, let's take a few moments, maybe you need to walk outside, or maybe you need to plan a time to be alone with your Father and pour your heart out to Him. Maybe you need to, like Hannah, just bow your heads and with your lips quietly moving express your heart to your Father. He loves you and this is His desire for you. These next few minutes are all yours.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman