in pursuit of critical and compassionate living and thought. in surrender to courage & delight of Christ.
What does it mean to “curse God?”
The first things that may come to mind are fiery verbal fits of obscenities towards God. Or the metaphorical middle-finger given to God when we blatantly, consciously, rebel against God and His ways by taking pleasure in sin.
It may remind us of the story of “the prodigal son” who basically told His father to “screw you”. (You can find the story here). We may think the son “cursed” his father when he left home to enjoy sinful revelries and waste away his father’s wealth. I think it must have started long before then.
At least, this is how this story often works out in my own life.
I wonder if the Prodigal’s heart was muttering curses at his father before he left, back when he chose not to believe that his father could provide him a better future, that his father was good and would take care of him, that his father was wiser and would have led him well*. I wonder if his heart was murmuring with growing disbelief that he then entertained with pride, with passive resistance to questions or answers not yet understood, perhaps even with resentment. One little one by one more little one, these choices of his heart and mind to not walk in faith and trust were like curses under his breath. The story brings out things that are hard to admit –
When we distrust, reject, ignore, are indifferent to God – we curse Him.
To curse is more than an insult – it is an expression of renouncing**, of denying worth.
We serve a God worth our full devotion and praise – our full faith, our full efforts.
This past while I have struggled with giving God “all my praise” having let various questions and difficulties with my faith become my focus above God Himself. Wrestling relentlessly with these questions and their impact on my life I have neglected the still small voice in me that speaks, “Its okay, I am here. Let me take this. Rest. Peace. Trust. I have you…even now, I have you” in favour of continually beating my heart like flailing fists in the air. I have let my brain work overtime on questions that have no promised answer. I have let issues cloud my joy, and dull my praise. I refused to rest in Him, I refused to surrender my questions to Him. I refused to believe God would still have me, life could still be enjoyed, if I didn’t answer them. All the while, I have no less reason to praise. All the while, I seemed to forget that I had met a good, perfect, Almighty GOD that never failed me before. All the while, My God had not changed.
When we take a part of our lives that we are having difficulty trusting Him with, and do not surrender it to Him, do not work it out with Him, we wave it in His face and say, “Nah Imma hold on to this one!” Its mockery. Sometimes I wonder if we pull away from God, not because we do not have all the answers, but because we value and rely on the answers more than God. When we do not trust in faith, we tell God that because of our misunderstanding of His perfect holiness, we’d rather trust our imperfect, unholy selves in taking care of that part of our lives better. Its pride. Its like when someone withholds something from you that would be really easy for you to take care of saying, “I know you’re qualified, I just don’t trust you with this one. We’ll give it to someone else.” Its an insult.
Withholding parts of our lives from God, being stubborn towards him, not giving our full selves to Him – in faith – is telling God we don’t trust Him. What’s more, its telling God we can play God for ourselves better than He who is God can be Himself for us. Its saying, “I don’t believe you are who you say you are,” and “I believe I am better.” Its putting the righteous robes He clothed us with and prancing around in front of Him pretending, “I am God! I am God! Look at my Holy robes!” To those of us who have rested in His embrace and found the freeing breath of mercy and grace, indignation is insolence.
And its a missed opportunity to meet God in our vulnerability.
Our God clothes us in righteousness for His glory and our saving into freedom and joy. When He saved, He saved all of us. Every part of ourselves. Every lingering painful memory, every present addiction and struggle with unbelief, every future failure, distraction, and fruit of pride. He has already redeemed it. He fully redeemed us, and He imparts His full power and love and faith to us. There is no part of us that is not bought, redeemed, in the hands of God. He loved us in our curses. When God said, “I came that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10), He meant no exceptions. He meant there would never be anything we’d bring Him that would surprise Him, “out” a flaw in Him, that He could not be trusted with, or that would be immune to His life-giving peace. He has covered every curse.
For myself, remembering this took finally putting everything aside and sitting long quiet hours with nothing but God’s Word and Spirit to inquire only of His presence. I gave it all to Him. I accepted to have my questions stirred up and unsolved – for now, and potentially forever. I accepted to sit and rediscover who He still was while I was busy beating myself up. I quieted my mouth. I turned my attention to His face, to remembrance of His faithfulness, to experience His presence. And He reminded me: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). From my heart and mouth came praises.
*We have to remember that in this parable, the father is representative of God, who is perfect, holy, good, all-powerful. So, the lessons we pull from it are understood in light of God’s character, rather than the character of a human father.
**Such as when Job’s wife told him in his suffering to, “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).