My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Psalm 22:1-2
I was talking with a friend of mine recently. He was telling me about how his life was in this really tough place. It seemed like everything was falling apart. “How come no one told me being a Christian was like this?”
This all got me thinking. Where did we get some of our images of God? Perhaps you’ve heard the myth as I have, that once you decide to follow God, your life makes this dramatic turn for the better, a turn that includes being “blessed” and having everything “work out” for you.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think following God is the very best way to live your life, the way we were created by God to live. I just struggle with this image of being a Christian that tells people that once they “come to Jesus” everything just seems to “work,” everything just gets better and better.
This is not the image that the Scriptures present. They are filled with people who chose to follow God, only to see their lives not get better, but in fact get worse. They are filled with people who cried out to God from the depths of their being, “Where are you, God?”
The reality is that authentic Christianity is not something that avoids the difficulties of life, sweeping them under the rug of faith. Real Christianity is something that embraces life as it is – with all its difficulties and struggles – seeing that what is, is not what will always be, that things can change.
Early followers of God understood this. They knew that a relationship with God was a dialogue, often filled with very real and very raw emotion. They argued, questioned, and even doubted God. They expressed their feelings of abandonment and disappointment with Him. They expressed their frustration and feelings of betrayal. In short, they lamented. They reminded God of His past faithfulness to their ancestors, crying out from their present pain, asking Him to be faithful once again. Still, they knew that God was big enough. He was big enough for all these emotions and more.
So if you’ve ever felt like God has left you, or that God has abandoned you – you’re in good company. The Scriptures are filled with people who felt just like you do. If there’s one thing that the Church needs to recapture, it is this sense of lament.
So what about you? How do you see God? Where do you have this sense that God has left you? Where do you need God to be faithful once again?
Crying out to Him, with real and honest emotion is perhaps the most faith-filled thing you could ever do. It’s not like you’re hiding what you are honestly feeling from Him. He knows. He cares. He’s listening.
So go ahead, cry out from the depths of your being... He has been faithful in the past, and He will be faithful once again.
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Where do you need God to be faithful once again? Take a few moments to cry out to Him, letting Him know honestly what you are feeling.
Psalm 22; Psalm 44
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