The issue of doubt remains ever present as the shadow side of belief. Even the most stalwart believers can find themselves in situations that generate doubt about God’s existence or the extent of God’s goodness and concern with humanity. Our psalmist, struggling with unknown issues that cause extreme duress, does not doubt God’s existence. However, he believes that God has forsaken him: “I say to God, my rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?’”
If we are honest with ourselves, we can probably name one or two times when the thought that God no longer cares about us fills our minds. I am usually stricken with such ideas when I consider situations that seem too horrific for a loving God: abused and hurt children, political injustice and oppression, economic policies that value profit more than people. I cannot reconcile the activity of a gracious God with these evils in our world. Each of us has our own list of triggers for doubt. If we don’t have them, we probably aren’t paying attention to the manifold ways humans can hurt one another.
But we have the example of the psalmist who doubts God’s care for him, and then in the same breath urges all to renew hope in God. The tears the psalmist has been eating will neither sustain nor nourish (Ps. 42:3). We will experience seasons of doubt, dryness, hunger, and thirst for God. But we will also revel in the harvest of grace and mercy. We do ourselves a service by remembering that all things grow in their season.
Gracious God, heed our hunger and thirst for you, abate our doubt, and give us seasons of praise and joy. Amen.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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