Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself
in times of trouble?
Questions. We all have them when trouble and trials hit. We wonder, “Where are you, God?” And perhaps more profound, “Why aren’t you stepping in to do something?” After all, God is all-powerful, all-loving and all-sovereign. In our humanity we wonder why God doesn’t do something when it feels like the whole world is falling apart.
We are not alone in our questioning. For thousands of years, great and godly people have sobbed from the pit of despair, “Why?” When God allowed Satan to mess with Job, stripping him bare of all that was precious to him, Job cried out, “Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 7:11). He goes on to cry, “I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God” (13:3).
“Prayers of lament are an integral part of our spiritual journey.”
David cried out in anguish, “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps. 10:1). Wait. Are we allowed to argue with God? Are we allowed to cry out in our anguish and ask why? The answer to that lies in the cross of Christ where, in utter torment and agony, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).
Prayers of lament are an integral part of our spiritual journey. A lament is when we wrestle our sorrow out with God, but in the end, we bow before Him in worship, acknowledging He is sovereign and we are not. In the end, Job worshiped God and said, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” He goes on to say, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:2, 5). David finishes his lament by bowing in worship, saying, “The Lord is King for ever and ever” (Ps. 10:16). Jesus laments in the garden and on the cross, but bows to the Father’s will (Luke 22:42).
Ah, friend, the sacred language of lament is a part of our deep worship of God. The key is to turn toward God in your questioning rather than away from Him. Cry it out in the arms of the Almighty, and there you will experience the merciful lovingkindness of God.
by Becky Harling
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