Questioning God

Psalm 74
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“How long?”

I wonder that myself sometimes, don’t you?

There are days that seem to glow from the moment the sun rises, beams streaming from between the buildings or the hills — depending on where you live — and the satisfaction of a beautiful day settles into your conscience as you descend into sleep that night.

But there are also days when you can’t stop stumbling over yourself, when the mire you slog through is thigh deep, and by the end of the day you’re certain you’re further behind and twice as tired as the day before.

These somewhat bipolar sentiments are not unique to unbelievers. Asaph, who happened to write the 74th Psalm in the Bible, examines his situation, and all he sees is endless misery.

God has written him off, he says.

The “enemy”, those who stand against God, is in destruction mode. They’ve mocked the Lord and ransacked His places of worship.

The prophets are missing in action; no one talks of God, and no one seems to know what’s coming.

In short, life is miserable.

Is it okay for you to feel this way?

I think a lot of Christians have been brainwashed into believing that we’re supposed to be happy (which differs from being joyful) all the time like clockwork.  We’re supposed to come to church and nod and shake hands and act like everything is cool when the week could not have gone more wrong.

But was Jesus not exceedingly sorrowful before His death? Did Paul not constantly agonize and grieve over the unbelieving Jews who dwelt among him? Was not Job justifiably troubled in his plight?

The believing Christian will face trouble, suffering, and great sorrow. I believe this is guaranteed; there is nothing in the Bible that promises otherwise until heaven is our dwelling place.

Questioning God is a natural reaction. “Where are you? What are you doing? And why does this hurt so much?” If this isn’t happening, you’re faking it.

Don’t be afraid to question God.  It means you desire His presence in your life. It means you recognize your situation as too much to handle. And at the very least, you’re addressing Him.

This is cool and all, but you can’t stay here forever. After a time, we must move on. Asaph does. Now it’s your turn.

REMEMBER WHAT HE HAS DONE

Christians tend to have a really bad memory.  We sing to God about how great He is every Sunday, and then we’re hating life like He doesn’t even exist by Monday morning.

You don’t need to make things up, either.  We like to say God has “really blessed me” and we don’t even know what we’re referring to.

What about the fact that you got up this morning, and that your heart is still beating? He wants you alive for a reason. Start there. I’m sure you can come up with some more after that. Asaph came up with all sorts of stuff, and he didn’t even have the new iPhone.

GOD CAN TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS

When we question God, we are concerned that He cannot reach our personal issues.

When you’re in a good mood, we recognize the simple truth that God takes care of us. He created the earth, He sustains all things, blah blah. However, it’s worth a reminder when you’re going through hard times: God has your back, and everything will work out.

GIVE IT BACK

Now that you’ve have your bout with sadness, it’s time to stop being a control freak.  If you understand that God is truly powerful and all-knowing and so forth, then you should also recognize that this includes power and wisdom beyond your capacity.

So give Him the control back. He has a track record of success. Those enemies?  They’re easier to topple than the Cowboys defense to God.

If you’re questioning God, don’t be ashamed.  It isn’t inherently sinful to wonder what is going on. But may we be encouraged to continue leaning upon Him as we navigate this difficult life until He delivers us, in this life or otherwise.

One thought on “Questioning God

  1. I’m not sure I agree that if you’re going through hard times, everything will work out. What if you are actually Bipolar? Or suffer from Depression: I’ve often been told, when I’m depressed, that I should “just get out of bed, and do something.” as if that hadn’t occurred to me, as if I were able to get myself to do so. “This is cool and all, but you can’t stay here forever. After a time, we must move on,” you wrote. Also, “Now that you’ve have your bout with sadness, it’s time to stop being a control freak.” I get what you’re saying, but it’s not so simple for people with mental illness, but I know you must know that.

    When I’m down, like, really really down, I never blame God. I blame myself. I’ve felt, sometimes, that I wouldn’t mind if I died. Not suicidal, but if it happened, I’d be fine with it.

    “What about the fact that you got up this morning, and that your heart is still beating?” I really like this line. It reminds me of the line that saved my life a few years ago from the seemingly silly, but actually pro-religion “The Book of Mormon” musical: “The skies are clearing and the sun’s coming out – it’s a latter day tomorrow, so if you’re sad, put your hands together and pray that tomorrow’s gonna be a latter day, and then it probably will be a latter day – tomorrow is a latter day.” Sure, it’s a silly play on word of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but what it did for me was remind me that as horrible as the dark night is, the sun will always come up. I could pray for that, and have that come true. I can ALWAYS believe that the sun will come up. That to me is God.

    Couldn’t God exist in the good deeds people do, not to get into heaven, but just because they’re good people? Another way to be a good Christian or just a good person, is in this other Book of Mormon quote, “Who cares what happens when we’re dead, we shouldn’t think that far ahead, the only latter day that matters is tomorrow.” The idea of making the Earth we live on now Heaven, instead of waiting for real heaven.

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