Sunday, January 24, 2016
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest. Psalm 22:1-2 (NIV)
Several of my extended-family members are suffering from debilitating diseases. I don’t feel it is my place to share any details, but these ailments are causing great physical distress. Not only that, but the emotional and mental anguish on both the patient and their immediate families are taking a toll. These people are all believers and have all been praying to God for relief – any kind of relief – but they are nearing the point of questioning their faith.
They ask each other, “Why doesn’t God answer our prayers?” No one ever wants to hear the answer, “God always answers our prayers, but the answer isn’t always the one we want.” So if that’s the case, why pray at all? And if we ask that question, the next one would be, why then do we believe in God at all?
That’s a slippery slope. We believe because we do. We just do. And sometimes it doesn’t make sense and we just don’t get it. We crumble to the ground, crying in grief, falling into despair. Then we realize – hopefully, prayerfully – that there is no place else to turn. We pray to God for help, for relief, for peace. For peace. Because there is nothing else to do when life has pulled us so far down.
It reminds me of the story of the man looking back over his life and there were two sets of footprints in the sand when life was good. And God told the man, that’s when I was walking by your side. But when life was not good, there was only one set of footprints. And God said, that was when I carried you. I recently read an addendum to that. There was also a place in the sand that was all messed up, with no footprints. And God said, that’s when I dragged you, coz you were fighting against me, but I wouldn’t let you go.
For He has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
He has not hidden His face from him