I argued with God for a while not too long ago. (Writing that line makes it seem more trivial than it was.) Like Job of old I asked Him if He really was as good as He says. I argued with Him about His power, wondering if He was all He said He is. I was reverent, respectful even. But, my questions for Him were pressing me.
In the hymn, “O Worship the King,” there is this line that I love, “Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail; in Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail. Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end. Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.” The first part of those lines I own easily because are fragile, dusty creatures, aren’t we? But the second part about never finding Him to fail and His tender mercies, some days that kind of faith does not come easily.
By the way if you think I’m the first or only to have a difficult conversation with God, listen in on David’s song.
“O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?” (Psalm 13:1-2, NLT)
In another psalm of lament, we read: “O Lord, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I am in trouble?” (Psalm 10:1, NLT)
The answer in my soul was a quiet, “Wait for Me.” I am not much good at waiting. Are you? Trained by my world of gratification, 2 day shipping, and fast computers – I like answers now. And yet the Spirit’s whisper to me was a simple word – “Wait for Me!” My response was a cry: “Lord, increase my faith. Help me to be mature, patient, so that I see past these troubled times to that Promise of Life.” The Scripture counsels me to “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage!” (Psalm 37:7-8)
James reminds us that we are like farmers in the stretch between spring planting and fall harvest. We wait! “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:7-8, NIV)
While we wait, we must pray for perspective, keeping our vision clear and including the whole of the life we are living. My life is not defined only by disappointment and/or difficulty though the enemy of God and good loves when I allow myself to see only those things. Confronted with death, I must pick up the telescope of faith to peer to the edge of time and take in the vistas of Eternal Life secured by Christ Jesus for us. When loneliness wraps my heart in its chill, I choose to remember the deep love of friend and family that I know. When I see only destruction of war, I must go and see the beauty of the earth and be renewed in wonder. (I did just that for a few moments yesterday!)
And, I go again, in my doubts to Jesus. The Glorious God of heaven, in all His majesty and glory, is just beyond my grasp sometimes. That is when I need to remember that He walked with me, when I need to read about the God-Man, Who “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7-8, NIV) He is such a Friend for every season for me.
Are you fighting for faith? Are your emotions bloody and raw? Are you impatient with God, angry even, wondering how He can be good and let that thing happen? You’re not the first. I urge humility. Cry ‘til you think your heart will split in two! Fall on your knees and pound the floor, but do not turn your back on Him. Instead, wait. Find someone who will wait with you, without words of explanation, without judgment, without demanding that you ‘get better now.’ Let that person embody the Presence of Jesus to you. I am so thankful for those who have been “Jesus with skin on” for me throughout my life. Jesus wept with those in pain! He touched those who were unclean in the eyes of others. Let someone wait with you praying for your healing. I hope that they will say, “I’ll have faith for you right now while you’re hurting so badly” instead of giving you a lecture about the unchanging faithfulness of God.
Here is a word from the Word, the 73rd Psalm. It has become a ‘go to’ passage for me when I am dealing with doubt. Know it. You may not need the words today, but sooner or later, you will need it, too.
“Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. . . .
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” (Psalm 73, NIV)
Even If (Mercy Me sings their new song at this link)
They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now oh right now I just can’t
It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame like I am right now
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have right now
But God when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul
I know the sorrow and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
You’ve been faithful
You’ve been good all of my days
Jesus I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You care
I hope in You alone ooh
It is well with my soul
It is well it is well with my soul
Bart Millard | Ben Glover | Crystal Lewis | David Arthur Garcia | Tim Timmons
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