Psalms 10:1 Why do you stand so far away, O Lord, hiding yourself in troubling times?
This is the question that has haunted me for a while. Not all day every day, for there are certainly times when love, joy, and peace shine through, as I noted in a recent post. But those moments only make the next wave of conflict, sin, and error all the more painful. Why, O Lord?! Why, among the glimpses of the beauty of what life will be like when Your reign bursts forth in its fullness, is there so much barren wasteland of sorrow and sin, oppression and injustice? God, why don’t You right more wrongs? Why don’t You correct more error? Why do You allow oppression? And most of all, why do You allow oppression in Your name?
These are demoralizing questions. But these are real questions. It comforts me to know the Psalmist asked the same questions all those years ago. And it comforts me even more to know that God Himself preserved those questions in His sacred Word for our instruction and encouragement today. When I am demoralized by these questions in my heart, I engage in the kind of frank conversation with God that the Psalmist models in Psalms 10. I am thankful again that God preserved the totality of that conversation and never rebukes the Psalmist for engaging God so bluntly. My conversation with God usually boils down to the defeated question – how do I keep going on when YOU seem so silent? How do I move forward in faith when You, the one who is the source of that faith, seems in hiding? How do I endure when You seem to have left the game altogether? I don’t want to live lukewarmly in a sea of disillusionment. But why should I do anything else when You seem to have walked away? Really, God, why do You expect anything else from me?
BECAUSE I AM WORTHY.
That’s the answer the Spirit whispers in my heart over and over again. Why do I endure when I can’t find God? Because He is worthy. Why do I put one foot in front of the other when I feel like sitting down in defiance and giving it all up? Because He is worthy. I can’t muster up the naïve enthusiasm that used to characterize my ministry efforts when I was younger, but neither can I give myself to the disillusionment and cynicism that threatens me. Because He is worthy.
I talked about this when I was thinking through God’s counterintuitive words of comfort to Job. God is God, and He is worthy. At first, that answer may sound trite. Yet it is the least trite answer of all. It sounds simplistic, yet it’s the only answer with the kind of deep profound resonance that I desperately need in those moments.
Yes, You are worthy. You are worthy of more than cynicism and disillusionment. You are worthy of more than lukewarm attempts at the bare minimum of the Christian faith. Even if You hide for the rest of my life, never allowing me again in this life to see Your dramatic movement, You are worthy.
I long for more in this life, yet God is worthy of my endurance through much less. It’s the grandeur and glory of His face that gives me perspective when His hands seem silent in my life. I worship His head, not His hands, His essence, not His gifts. He is good not because He does good things to me, but because in the core essence of who He is when He is completely still and silent, He is so very good. The good gifts He gives us when He moves don’t begin to compare to how incredible He is just standing still.