Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. –Isaiah 65:24
I was talking with someone recently about a family crisis he was going through when he made this comment, “I just need God to hear me. I need to know that God is listening. Is that too much to ask for?”
Perhaps you’ve found yourself in the same situation. You’ve found yourself in a place where you are crying out to God, and the whole time you’re wondering, is He even listening? Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a place along your journey where you are looking around and asking, “God, if you’re supposed to be God, then why is ____________ happening?”
If you have been there (or if you are there at this moment), you’re in good company. The Scriptures are filled with people who struggled with these exact questions. We encounter people who, in the face of tremendous doubt, have cried out to God, “Where are you?”
The people of God have a term for these kinds of moments: lament. Lamenting is a deep cry of the soul, one that, in the face of present struggles, remembers the past goodness of God and cries out to Him to be faithful once again. It is a passionate plea, literally a “calling out” of God — “If you are who you say you are, and if you’re the same God who has acted in the past… then where are you now?”
Time and again in the Scriptures, we come across people who cried out to God. They cried out to God because they knew that He had been faithful in the past, and that they needed Him to be faithful once again in the present. “God, where are you? I thought you were a loving God. Where’s this loving God that I thought you were?” Perhaps you’ve asked the same kinds of questions. Perhaps someone has told you that these kinds of questions were a “lack of faith.”
Yet the reality is this: when you and I ask hard questions of God, we are standing in the stream of this ancient tradition, one that is captured over and over in the Scriptures. It is in the asking of your honest, gut-wrenching questions–the ones filled with anger and frustration–that you are expressing a deep sense of faith. We cry out to God, in frustration and in anger, because we believe that He is the only One who can do something about it.
We believe, ultimately, that God is a God who hears. And it is this truth that gives us hope in the present.
When have you felt let down by God? Where are you struggling to see His goodness and presence in your life? Take these areas before God in honesty and transparency.
Psalm 44; Psalm 73; Psalm 89