If you’re like me, you’re often frustrated at the “glossed over” Christianity that many describe. You may read their books, listen to them on the radio or hear their conversations as they tell of how walking with the Lord has brought happiness, peace, joy and all sorts of other things into their experience. Any hint of discomfort is strangely absent from their description. It may leave you feeling guilty about your own walk with the Lord or confused as to why you don’t experience the same thing they do. I don’t doubt that they are painting this picture of Christianity with good intentions. Many of them want to help God look good in an ugly world. They want others to think that God’s way is the solution to all of the inner turmoil and outer conflict in life.
The only problem is … that’s not what’s taught in Scripture. In fact, I’m so glad that the writers of Scripture, as God’s Holy Spirit wrote His Word through them, were completely honest with their questions about God and His ways.
This morning, I prayed through Psalm 44 and the content of this passage was insightful. Here’s the breakdown:
- Verses 1-3: The writer speaks of how his ancestors spoke of God’s incredible acts. You can’t help but read this and know where the writer is going. He’s frustrated that he’s not seeing God move in this way in the present … but I’m getting ahead of myself.
- Verses 4-8: The writer plainly states that his trust is in God. He knows that none of the victories he could obtain are by his own power. It is God that gives the victory. This is why the writer insists on praising God.
- Verses 9-16: The writer is brutally honest with his questions about God’s ways. Why is God allowing all of the horrible stuff to happen in his life when he has been so faithful to the Lord? It’s very clear that the writer isn’t saying that God is an innocent bystander. In his recognition of God’s sovereignty, he states plainly that God is playing a part in all of the bad things that are happening.
- Verses 17-22: The writer notes that he would understand why he was going through such tough times if he had forgotten God or worshipped other “gods.” But he pleads innocent of such wrongdoings.
- Verse 23-25: This Psalm is virtually anti-climactic. The good guy doesn’t beat the bad guy by the end of the movie. The issue is left unresolved as the writer ends the Psalm by calling out for God to rise up and help him.
Honestly, I find this Psalm comforting because it’s more real to my life experience than the “glossed over” Christianity that others advocate. Sometimes, I’m just like those disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee as the waves are working to swamp the boat and I wonder why Jesus is asleep (Mark 4:35-41). Why doesn’t He rise up to help?
And yet, as I read the rest of Scripture, I realize that while some difficulties will persist and some questions will never get answered in my lifetime, I can know without a doubt that my Lord loves me and is sovereignly working out His plan even if it doesn’t make sense to me. I can know that if I don’t think He’s working on my behalf and is “asleep”, it only appears that way. And finally, among many other notions, I can know that these difficulties are causing me to long for the day when He will call me to my eternal home to dwell with Him forever (John 14:1-3).