God of War

March 18, 2016 at 4:28 am

jacob_wrestling_the_angel     I only met Ben Patterson once. We were together for a weekend in Houston taking part in a private gathering of Christian educators who assembled to discuss campus evangelism. We only talked briefly, and I am certain he does not remember my name or my face. At the time my oldest son was nearly 10, and we were well into the storm of issues that converge on a family raising a child with learning disabilities. I did not know anything about Ben’s story or the fact that, he too, had a son with disabilities, but I do remember that Ben was particularly humble, easy-going, and peaceful to be around. I sensed nothing of my own paralyzing anxiety in him that weekend. Which is what made his article “Holy War Within” all the more powerful to me. It is a piece that Patterson first penned back in 1999, almost a decade and a half before we met. The contrast between the man poured out on the pages so many years ago and the one I met in person gave undeniable evidence to the reality of his battle with God in the trenches of honest prayer.

     Below is just a sampling of passages from the original script. It is raw, it is honest, and ultimately, it is sentence upon sentence of the most freeing words I have read in months. I encourage you to read beyond this blog and digest the entire column by following the link at the end. I hope doing so grants you the same measure of hope I received in the reminder that wrestling with God is good for the soul.

“Both anger and tenderness are forms of passion. As is prayer. God doesn’t mind our anger. He even relishes it, if it drives us to him instead of away from him. Better an outburst than a theologically correct and spiritually pallid rationale, and a dangling conversation.”

“You can speak your mind with God and not be afraid that he will blow things out of proportion. He already knows what’s inside. But we need to let it out for the dialogue to proceed.”

“If our faith in God cannot be bewildered and perplexed, then we have domesticated him, and our faith is no longer in him but in our religious systems. Beware: when you handle holy things often, your hands and heart can become cauterized and you are no longer burned and jolted by what you hear.”

“There is no pain or perplexity so heavy that they outweigh his glory. And it would seem that both are necessary for us to see it.”

“I’ve come to believe that God is not nearly as fastidious in matters of faith as we may like him to be, and that when faith moves mountains, there is bound to be rubble.”


Read the full article: “Holy War Within”