Reading: Psalm 44:17-26
All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you;
we had not been false to your covenant.
Our hearts had not turned back;
our feet had not strayed from your path.
But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals;
you covered us over with deep darkness.
If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
would not God have discovered it,
since he knows the secrets of the heart?
Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake, LORD! Why do you sleep?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?
We are brought down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love (NIV).*
As previously noted, Psalm 44 begins in a very positive fashion as the psalmist recalls the goodness of the LORD and the great victories Israel has won because of the LORD’s help. But that is not the present reality. The present reality is filled with defeat, death and destruction. The psalmist moves from rejoicing over past victories to lamenting over present-day tribulations. Hear his words of anguish: Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
What do you do in the midst of defeat? Do you put on a brave face and pretend all is going well? There may be occasions when putting on a brave face is warranted, even necessary—but inside, when we are alone with our thoughts we question why God would allow such things. Why would God allow a child to die? Why would He allow a natural disaster like an earthquake to claim countless innocent lives? Why would He permit a pandemic to rage year after year? Normally, these life-shattering matters don’t come with pat answers in tow. We are left in a state of grief and bewilderment.
Often believers see such events as retribution for sins committed against a holy God. But note the psalmist’s complaint: All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path.
The brutal truth is bad things happen to good people. Sometimes Christians are martyred on a beach in Libya. Sometimes a cruel disease hems us in on every side and there is no escape, aside from death and heaven’s door. Sometimes all we can do is pour out our complaint before a God of unfailing love.
Response: LORD God, when life is hard, help me to remember to bring my complaints and travails to you. You are bigger than any agony or grief I may face. I call out to you, my Savior and my God. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you feel God been unfair to you? How have you responded?
* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA
Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award and for those who love God’s word it’s an ideal way to start the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.
We serve a perfect God, while I can question Him, I must try to never doubt His goodness toward me. But more importantly, I question my lack of understanding of what God is doing and why He is doing it. I suffered a great tragedy in the loss of a 16 year old son who was brutally murdered and looking back on that situation, I see that God spent 6 months preparing my heart and mind for that to happen. I think God gives us warning signs long before the event, we just tend to ignore them.
Even in tragedy He shows mercy. More grace to you in your loss, dear brother. My heart sighs.
Pastor Randy said:
So true, many are afraid to say to God what they are thinking and feeling–as if God wouldn’t know it as long as they keep it inside. So thankful for God’s love that allows me to be honest with Him.
I’m so glad we can take our doubts and questions and hurts to Him. At the cross He experienced it all.
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Thanks for reblogging, Vincent.