Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly clings to the ground.
Rise up; come to our help!
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!
(ESV; Psalm 44: 23-26)
I struggle to write this blog, mostly because it is hard for me to find a place to begin; so I will start at the beginning, or at least what I perceive the beginning to be.
About a week ago, I was overcome with intense emotion, not of happiness or sadness, but of anger. I was frustrated because I could not see or feel God in this world, in what I did, or in where I was going. I felt like I was lost.
I am not one to have spurts of emotion, especially that of anger. I am not used to feeling mad. I could probably count all the times I have been truly mad on one hand and have fingers to spare. This feeling was a shock.
This began a personal journey for answers, but more importantly, peace. Peace, not only with myself, but with God.
To go over everything that I did and everything I have learned would be fruitless and meaningless. However, one of the gems I found in my search was Psalm 44. To know that I am not the only human being to feel lost and frustrated with the world helped to bring some comfort and peace.
Why do Christians today not feel the need to pray in this way? Most times when I gather with Christians to pray, I never hear any despair, heartache, longing, or worry. Not to say that it is not good to be joyful in the presence of God, but we cannot honestly experience happiness all the time for we still live in a fallen world.
Paul did not exclude us from the emotional pain and suffering of this life either. In Romans, he quoted Psalm 44 by saying that, as Christians, “we are being killed” and “are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8: 36).
It would be a joke to say that being a Christian brings eternal bliss and happiness in this life without struggles or trials. Yet, sometimes, I feel like that is what we expect. I know that I generally tend to think that way. If I am not feeling good or happy then I must be doing something wrong. I must be the problem.
Even though I know that this is not true, I still find myself thinking it. Knowing that this anger and frustration can be normal is one of the things I learned through this experience. But more importantly, I learned that I do not have to deal with this alone.
After a few days of grappling with this, I turned to a few of my brothers in Christ for support and prayer. With this prayer, and diligently reading through God’s word, I began to unravel where exactly I felt God’s absence and what I could do to change that. And because of this, I have grown closer to God in ways that I did not expect.
Since then, I have earnestly devoted myself to seeking after what the psalmist sought: for God to rise and help me in my struggle. No moment of prayer or reading His word has been pointless or fruitless for it all has begun to bring peace.
Let us no longer pretend that everything must be perfect all the time. There is a time for joy and there is a time for sorrow. Let us not be afraid to join together and cry out to God to come to our help just as quickly as we are to be joyous in His presence.