Dear Friends in Christ,
I have been reading in the Old Testament books of Psalms and Job. I am amazed by the many laments and cries of pain in those books. I would estimate that at least half of the Psalms are lament Psalms, Psalms in which the writer cries out to God because of the trouble in his life. Often the Psalmist is angry at God, or hurting, or bewildered by life, and he expresses all that as he writes.
And then there is the book of Job! People say that a patient person has “the patience of Job”. The fact is, Job is not at all patient. In a book of 42 chapters, Job is patient for the first two chapters. Then for most of the rest of the book he cries out in some of the deepest and most agonizing sorrow in human literature. He often cries out against God, his pain is so deep.
The Old Testament people knew who to talk about their hurts. They realized the agonies that occur in life, and they expressed that forcefully.
I fear that we have lost much of that in our faith today. There is a popular idea that to be Christian is to be always happy. Following God is seen as an escape from the turmoil in life. But such an idea just is not Biblical. In the Bible, faith is not an escape from the pains of life. In fact it is often the God-fearing people in Scripture who suffer. The difference for the Biblical writers is not that those who know God avoid all trouble. It is rather that even in the midst of trouble, those who know God are held by the hands of a loving Savior.
As Christians we do not avoid the pains of life. Like Job and the Psalmist there will be times when we want to cry out. (And following Job and the Psalmist’s example, usually the best thing we can do is to cry out to God.) There is hurt in human life. But the promise of the Bible is that even in the hurt God will care for us. Our Lord will sustain us, even in the most trying times that life can be.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture expresses this conviction. It is found deep in the Old Testament, Second Chronicles 20:12. The people of Israel are about to be attacked by a massive army. Things are at their worst. The king of Israel prays to God. He prays, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
There will be times in our lives when we will not know what to do. But let us keep our eyes on God. The remarkable promise of the Bible is that He will sustain us. We can trust in Him.