How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)
l don’t have anyone trying to kill me. But I do have times when l wonder if God is listening or if he cares. I assume that this is true of all Christians. The tragedy is that on any given Sunday, in any given church, it is unlikely that you will find anyone who shows signs of questioning God’s concern for them. Too often we stuff down our doubts and feelings of frustration and paste on our “spiritual” smile and pretend that everything is OK.
You may have noticed that I have not posted much in the last few weeks. Life has been chaotic, or at least more chaotic than normal. Nothing really bad has happened to me personally but the stuff happening around me has stripped away any illusion of control that I might have had. It is too easy to lose perspective and be overwhelmed by the circumstances.
Some examples: my manager unexpectedly left for a competitor, a manager that I liked and with whom I worked well. I have been assigned a role in the company that is not my first choice but I am still obliged to do it well. I read that government officials cannot restrain themselves from spending more than they have, putting our country in financial jeopardy. The news media promotes and applauds immorality that would not have been tolerated a generation ago. I have uncertainty about what form of ministry I am called to. The list of things that can destroy my focus and cause me to question God’s concern for myself and the people around me is seemingly inexhaustible.
To make matters worse, there are some who say that allowing these things to bother me is a sign of spiritual weakness or a lack of trust in God. It is these “Job’s counselors” that pressure people into pretending that everything is OK even when it is not.
This Is why I like the Psalms, especially the psalms of David. David keeps it real. In Psalm 13 we see the man after God’s own heart admitting his own sense of alienation and frustration with God.
We do not serve a God who always makes it easy. Life is sometimes difficult and it is no different for the Christian. In a sense it may be worse for the Christian because we have the expectation that it could be better.
God allows us to go through difficult times. He allows us to go through dry times where it feels like our prayers never make it past the ceiling in the room. God allows the knuckleheads to remain in power both in the government and in the church. Often, he leaves us wondering why.
It is in those times when the promise of Jesus begins to bring comfort. He will be with me to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). To fix our predicament, God came down to be one of us to feel our pain and offer a solution for it. While this may not make the process easier, it should affect the result.
We can be honest about our struggles knowing that in the end, God will make it right. We don’t have to pretend that everything is well with us. We can be honest. David was.