I Argued with God: He Won.

Posted on March 9, 2012

Fittingly enough I was in a cow pasture, surrounded, by, well, cow products. I was in a surly mood, and I was preparing to duke it out with God. Yeah, with God.

I was in a frustrated place and time in life. It had something to do with a certain number of years in “vocational ministry”. This is a term we use when we get paid to do stuff for God. I had reached whatever the tipping point was, and I was beginning to consider that maybe God was a bad boss. And so the argument began, right there among the cow products. (this is a term we use in place of other terms)

“Okay, God, I think it stinks that…” I began. The complaint was more a sense bubbling up than anything I had really thought consciously, until that moment, but it was rising fast.

“Okay, God, I think it stinks that I have to be the Free-est person at the church where I serve.” I finally protested.

For years, one of my core values has centered around the statement that “Free People free people”. Taken from Jesus directive to His disciples when He told them, “Freely you have received, freely give.” I teach that this means we will give away whatever is inside us, so we must take care of what is inside us. Technique and strategy are secondary, personhood is the well from which others will really drink. Because of this, I hold myself and my team to a standard. We must tend to our own souls first.

The years had passed and the ministry had grown. The numbers of people drinking from the well increased every year. Now whole churches were beginning to draw from our waters. This should be exciting right? But I was tired. I was beginning to dry up, and had far less to give than in the early years.

So I complained. I was certain it was God’s fault. He was just asking too much of poor little me. Strangely, He was not as quick to take responsibility.

“I think it stinks that I have to be the free-est person at my church,” I had uttered accusingly. Then He answered. I hope you know what I mean when I say “He answered”. Somewhere in my spirit I had a strong sense. The sense became words in my mind. I always say that I hear a voice and it is smarter than me. He answered.

“Bob,” He seemed to say, even a bit gently, “I made you free, you made it a job..”

“Wait,” I felt the word desperately rise up in my mind. I was quickly losing my scapegoat. He seemed to think it was my fault. Why, I would never do such a thing to myself. Why would I possibly treat myself so poorly?

I had no more allowed this thought to flit through my consciousness when that Voice started to respond to the ill-formed question. I was pretty sure it had been a rhetorical question when it passed through my consciousness, but God seemed to take it seriously. It was almost as if He took me more seriously than I did, and that is exactly what He began to talk to me about.

He told me how much He wanted to care for my soul, and He let me know that I had not been trusting Him or others enough to allow anyone else to take me seriously. I have needs too. He began to tell me why I had not been trusting Him, and He began to remind of times where He had provided for me, but I had opted to handle things on my own.

Let me take this opportunity to warn you about talking to God. He wants to talk to you about you. He wants to talk to you about you, and about Him, and about the ways that you relate to each other. He wants that conversation far more than He wants to talk about your circumstances.

That day, I argued with God, and He won. I am grateful He won. It had been very tiring for me to keep winning.

  • “That day, I argued with God, and He won. I am grateful He won. It had been very tiring for me to keep winning.”

    Wow. So good.

  • Love this.

    When it comes to arguing with God winning sucks.

  • Jaymes Downer

    This is easily my favorite post I have ever seen from you. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Cindy Snyder


    (Didn’t want to say more, but the rules of the blog is one word isn’t enough of a response. So, I wrote this explanation about why I don’t want to have a lengthy comment.)

  • Aja Schiewe

    I like the part about how He took you more seriously than you did….I hate it when that happens! Great
    Stuff! Almost as good as those little squares in the “coffee meeting room” that are layered with chocolate and that crust and a little caramel.

  • Adrienne K

    I always love hearing what you have to say! I feel so blessed God brought you into my life!

  • “Bob,” He seemed to say, even a bit gently, “I made you free, you made it a job..”

    I do this a lot–make things a job. Thanks for helping me hear God thru your conversations. God is so good!

  • Very nice! I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has cow-pasture conversations with God!

  • Sometimes we need to get away from all the other stuff, in order to hear better. For me, Is voice and my heart get stifled in routine.

  • For such a humorous God, He sure can be serious sometimes!!

  • Couldn’t have said it better MSA!!

  • RyAnne

    I remember being in your office with Linda Godsey(now Pstr Linda) and you, crying and pouring my heart to you guys, I was so stuck and in so much pain and fear, you were both so caring. You gently confronting me about letting Satan beat me up, enabling me to see the ways I was “humming” along with him. Reminding me that I had been adopted by Jesus..one of my spiritual wounds was having been adopted by my abusive stepfather as a small child. To me he was my Daddy, but he never let me forget I was adopted, so to understand the significance of Jesus adopting me started the healing of that wound. You also gave me some spiritual ammo to “post up” when I needed to. Thank you again Bob! What I also remember, is you telling me that we could only meet one more time because you going to start training EIGHT people to help with the Freedom ministry:) Wow, what a difference years a few makes! I told you on your birthday, that you were going to enjoy your fifties and you will. Jeff & I pray for protection over you & ,Jackee,& all of your kids. God speed my friend!

  • RyAnne

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    RyAnne says: March 10, 2012 at 3:55 am
    I remember being in your office with Linda Godsey(now Pstr Linda) and you, for a freedom session. You told me we could only meet one more time, because you were going to start training EIGHT PEOPLE for the Freedom Minstry! Wow, what a difference a few years make! Thank you again Bob, for helping me. God Speed my friend!

  • Jeff Toon

    Thank you! What a great way to start Saturday morning, and be reminded to lose quickly. The tide is turning!

  • Debi

    What struck me in my first encounter with you and your team was not that you strove to convey the perfection of having attained something, but that you were vulnerable enough to open yourselves up and invite us on an honest journey toward freedom. Your freedom shines from your ability to admit that and not hide in a religious mask. Your freedom shines from your willingness to to uncover and expose lies that have kept those God wants to show his love to, in religious bondage. So, so thankful for what you are doing. Don’t think the devil is going to take that lightly. Please don’t stop.

  • Very soothing and encouraging….. Thank you

  • Ted Crawford

    “Cow pasture arguments”, eh. I have been repeatedly guilty of arguing with God from a septic tank brimming with my own “product”. To His credit(GLORY) it always ends the same… “OK Dad, once again You’re right; I’m “full of it”. He just keeps pulling me out & hosing me off and out.

    Daddy Loves Us

  • Carrie Belshe

    “Bob,” He seemed to say, even a bit gently, “I made you free, you made it a job..”

    I remember many conversations with you on Washington St where He had you remind me that He wasn’t looking for the AMOTU (Assistant Manager of the Universe). Once you did your “job” with me about that I think we both were a little amazed, this being in the Pre-Freedom Guy Era, and though it seems He still has to remind me (now straight to my face/heart) that the position doesn’t exist, almost every day, I somehow feel stronger knowing he has to remind you too. Bless your vulnerable 50 year old heart!

  • Amazing how nothing is random with God. Without sharing the setting of this encounter with God the impact wouldn’t have been as great. Look what happens when we share our “cow pasture” experiences and God meets us there. He takes something that we see as stinky and nasty and converts it into something that nurtures our soul and the souls of others. Again, it’s all about how we see!!! I’m just a farm girl that still spreads manuer on my garden. Interesting that I once was in “professional ministry” with my husband and have longed for that again. But God has not opened that door. I have finally accepted that position (gotten out of the cow pasture, it was getting pretty deep!) and am looking forward to what God has for me every day. The ministry that God has given you has been a huuuuuge factor in setting me “free”!!! Thanks for having ears to hear and being willing to share the message!

  • Ack. This is so good.

    Winning is exhausting in this arena. And it’s hardly as satisfying as just letting him be God.

    So often the absolute last thing I want to talk about with God, is me. If he’d just let ME be god a little while I’m sure I’d be able to REALLY help him out. *sigh*

    I’m glad he persues me.