You may not even realize you need to forgive God, but here’s a hint: nothing feels “right” and everything feels a little “off.” You’re low-level grumpy and, somewhere, there’s an ache or a pull of some kind. Something you want very badly isn’t in the cards. You know it isn’t because you’ve prayed about it, and the Holy Ghost has confirmed in no uncertain terms that it is not God’s will for you. In other words, God has shown you what the target isn’t.

So what are your options? A) you can roll merrily along in search of His will for you, B) you can get mad, resentful, bitter, and stop progressing, C) you can long for what might have been, or D) something less obvious. (I’m not sure what. I just like to cover my bases.)

Rolling merrily along is pretty unrealistic without at least some time for grieving. Getting mad, resentful, and bitter is understandable if self-defeating. Longing for what might have been is almost de rigeur for any Big Disappointment. This last is where forgiveness comes in. Or doesn’t.

A word about the difference between longing and sorrow. Longing for something that isn’t to be is really a way of torturing yourself because you never let go completely. For half a second, you’re caught up in your fantasy of how wonderful it would be, but it all comes crashing down—hard—when you have to come back to reality sooner or later. Sorrow is a peaceful liquid pain in your heart that it is simply not meant to be. It isn’t anything you need to get over or push away, in fact, the more you let it be there, the more it fades on its own. Never completely, but in a way that makes life better over time.

It’s longing we’re concerned with here. Let’s say you’re committed to following God’s will for you. You’ve prayed earnestly to know what His will is and have had it confirmed by the Spirit. You accept the situation, and you’re not mad, but you long for what you can’t have. (I say can’t because you may very well be able to make it happen, but you’ll have to ignore or deny that God had something better in mind.)

Here is where forgiveness comes in. Longing is a way of not forgiving God for having a different target in mind than the one you want. Grieving is not longing; it’s the edge of sorrow. Longing is hanging on to what you want even knowing that God wants something better for you. Not better in your eyes from where you sit today. Better in your spiritual eyes when the scales are lifted and you can see forever.

Longing for less than what God wants for you is a way of not forgiving Him for having a different target. It’s the human-to-God way of not letting Him off the hook. But just like you hurt yourself most when you won’t forgive another, you hurt yourself most when you won’t forgive God. He’s got a better target in mind, obviously, or He would have blessed the target you want. If you waste time longing, i.e., not forgiving Him for not agreeing, there’s not a lot He can do to help you reach the better target.

Trust Him. Accept His will for you. Feel the peaceful sorrow lapping the deep of your heart. And forgive Him already.

photo credit: Wretched, Saved by Grace O Lord of Hosts via photopin (license)

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