I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. ~ Isaiah 57:15 (NLT)
I spent over a decade of my life telling God how He had screwed up. When my dad died my junior year of college, I couldn’t understand how a God of love could allow someone so amazing to die. He certainly had the power to save Him, yet chose not to. So, I took all of that anger, all of that sorrow, and aimed it at God. My spirit was crushed, and He was to blame. I was 20 years-old, and I began a journey away from God.
Fast-forward ten years until I was in my thirties. I had still held that grudge against God, but I was investing in a church family again for the first time in a very long while. This family embraced me. This family included me. I could feel the anger slipping, but I couldn’t bring myself to let go until one day, I actually found myself worshiping. No, not sitting in the pews type of worshiping. Like, I was intently listening to the sermon, I was singing not the just words, but feeling them. It was in this moment that God spoke into my life. I remember it vividly. In the middle of church, He said, “Chad, please stop being angry at me. You will see your dad again.” That beautiful phrase broke me. I began weeping. I was mad at the One who is giving the gift of eternity to my dad and me. That one moment changed the course of my life forever. Over a decade of anger fell away and I could experience the true love of God. This may sound weird, but that day, I forgave God – not for any sin, but because He didn’t intervene to save my dad.
The prophet Isaiah wrote our verse today. He penned, “I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.” In other words, if we’re holding grudges against God, or anyone, we aren’t behaving in a humble way. Because of our lack of humility, which is also called pride, God can’t restore us when we’re hurting.
It is because of our pride that there are so many people who hurt, who experience self-inflicted harm. When anger replaced forgiveness, it only deepens the hurt within us. Holding a grudge against someone doesn’t hurt them. It kills us.
So, today, if you’re holding a grudge against anyone, including God, drop the anger and forgive. Humble yourself and let go and let God begin to heal your crushed spirit.