Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When we don't get what we want

What happens when you pray about something over and over again? You feel quite sure that this is where God is leading you, and yet, the results are not at all what you expected, certainly not what you wanted. The questions fill you mind, and you wonder if you were just completely out in left field. When you love the Lord and pray daily, it is incredibly troubling to believe that you are following His will, and then you find yourself up against something you can't believe that you are facing. Something that just levels you. You go from being sure that you are following God, to wondering if you were not following God at all. It is so incredibly painful, when everything that you believed is dashed to bits in front of you. You know that God is faithful, and you are left with no answers.

Loved ones, sometimes it is right in the middle of God's will, to put us up against something that just breaks us. I'm sorry, but there are no pretty words for what I am talking about. It is not just a loss of hope, or getting hurt; it is a profound wondering if you have spent weeks, months or years of your life not being able to discern the will of God. When eyes that you once knew love in are suddenly filled with hatred; how do you get up the next morning? When you are assured that you no longer belong, and one by one other friends turn away; where do you find any strength to go on? When your heart is so abstrusely broken; what can you do?

In my Bible reading, I ran across the 88th Psalm. It was stunning, because heretofore, I thought even the most lamenting psalms offered some silver lining: a reason for the badness. This one ends with a man crying out to God, with no answer or reason for his trouble. Matthew Henry offers this, "Those who are in trouble of mind may sing this psalm feelingly; those that are not ought to sing it thankfully, blessing God that it is not their case." It's an astounding measuring rod for trouble, though. Is God willing for one to end up like this?

Is this in God's plan? Dear ones, I know that I can not adequately speak for God's reasoning, nor is He obliged to share it with any of us; but this I do know, God is faithful even in the worst of it. Let me tell you another story, and see if you see a parallel. A king sent his prince to his people. He loved them, he taught them and he even healed them. This prince traveled through his kingdom giving bread, but not like any other bread; he gave them water and they didn't thirst any more. Even the children were given an audience with the prince. But some in the kingdom, didn't love the prince, the ones who should have loved him the most, hated him, the nobles of the kingdom. The scattered his friends, and they turned the people he loved against him. They beat him, they tortured him and killed him. Three days later, miraculously, the prince came back to life, and here is the beautiful part: he loved them still.

Psalm 88
Matthew Henry's Commentary on Psalm 88

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