This past year has been exceptionally challenging, even to the point of questioning what exactly my faith is. I don’t doubt God’s presence, or even identity, but I’ve started to wonder what His motives might be. And I’m not interested in the prosperity-preacher “it is not for us to question,” “all is for the best” pulp. Even David questioned the veracity of those comments.
In Psalm 31, the psalmist makes a gorgeous plea – and even some challenges – that ring honest and true:
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
Because of all of my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors;
I am a dread to my friends-
those who see me on the street flee from me.
I am forgotten by them as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery….
But I trust in you—
Let me not be put to shame, O Lord,
for I have cried out to you….
It continues, quite masterfully. In my easier days, I found David to be a little prone to exaggeration – but I stand corrected. I also used to think that psalms such as this were a bit contradictory. He complains, he moans, and then he cheerfully says, “But you’re the Big Guy and you’ll fix it.”
I don’t hear the happy-happy anymore — I hear a challenge. I hear David howling, “Come on, Mister, you big shot. You made all these promises to protect and care for me and look where I am now!! If you don’t help me, you and your name will be humiliated, not just mine, because I have publicly claimed you as my strength. So, for your own sake, help me out.”
I’m with him.