What went wrong? I waited for the that’s why moment. For something to reveal the why that caused the change from victor to victim. Psalm 44: How is it they go from fathers planted and flourishing, victorious and boasting in his name all day long, to rejected, humbled, scorned, reproached, reviled?
I waited for the why, but it didn’t come.
Left hanging, not understanding, I am confronted with a part of God I am afraid to speak of, even in the quiet of my thoughts. Because in my mind, I only want to see him as deliverer, comforter, rescuer, provider–it is his hand, his arm, the light of his face–because he loves us.
Jesus says there will be troubles in life. He tells us, take heart! Still, I find myself looking for the reason behind the hurt. Sometimes there are no answers, not yet. Questions come anyway. Why would someone say that? Why would someone do that? How come this is happening? How do I make sure this doesn’t happen again? What did I do to bring this on? Not in the sense of why me or because God owes me anything, even in answers. But I want to learn. I think it is the absence of the why that unsettles me. (Or perhaps it’s more my limited understanding!)
In a time of great distress, the psalmist looks for the why too. He writes words that make me want to look away.
18 Our hearts had not turned back;
our feet had not strayed from your path.
19 But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals
and covered us over with deep darkness.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God have discovered it,
since he knows the secrets of the heart?
Cries into a night and no immediate answer, sometimes this feels quite lonely and cold, hope seems far away. The psalmist implores: Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! He is not sleeping–he is not ignorant of circumstance. In the midst of trial, it could be exactly where he wants any one of us.
In difficult times, friends encourage: God has a plan; he has something better. Yes, I nod; and my heart hopes. But the place in me that doesn’t want to give the thoughts voice mentions God’s best could be a painful path. I don’t say it. God’s best may look nothing like I imagined. It could be brought about by tragedy, loss, despair. In trial, his hand may not pull me out, but it is the one to hold as he walks me through.
I am still trying to shape my thoughts, turning this psalm on different angles, working through it.