Confusion and doubt, while not permanent staples in the life of the Christian, do arise as we walk in faith through this age of darkness. Even as we face this epidemic, some of you may be asking God, “Why?” We might feel irreverent when we say such, but the Lord gave us the Psalms to explore the entire breadth of human emotion in light of his saving presence and grace.
For example, as we read Psalm 10, we witness the writer being quite transparent in his desperation:
“Why do You stand afar off, O Lord?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised” (1-2)
I wonder how many of us would feel bold enough to ask such of the Lord. This question, born from genuine anguish, asks the inevitable and honest question of the human heart: Where are you, God? Really, the question seeks a deeper understanding of God’s work and person: Why don’t you do something about wickedness in the world? Why, if you are so powerful and good, don’t you do something about evil men? If we’ve never asked ourselves these types of questions, then maybe we haven’t endured the full impact of life.
What is even more astounding is the scene we witness at Calvary, in which Jesus—in agony—calls out to the heavens with the question that has troubled many of us: “Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 26:46). In this question, Jesus shows solidarity with the human condition: feeling forgotten and abandoned in our sin and its consequences. Has God forsaken humanity to live in the squalor of sin?
Of course, the answer is in the question: no God has not forsaken us, as the presence of the man hanging on the tree testifies. He is hanging there, enduring the full debt of man’s damnation because he refuses to forsake us. He has acted in an incredible way to not only act but to deliver. From our present viewpoint, we might not see around every corner, but we walk in faith knowing that we serve a God who will not abandon us. He came. He lived. He died. He rose. All for us.
Interestingly, the Psalmist came to this conclusion as well. He begins with doubt but ends with confidence—something I pray that your day, and your life, will finish with as well.
“The Lord is King forever and ever;
Nations have perished from His land.
O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear
To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed,
So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.” (16-18).