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The ancient Israelites were storytellers. They were given a God directive to keep their history alive by sharing their stories. “These are things we learned from our ancestors and we will tell them to the next generation.”
The psalmist knew his history. He could retell those miraculous God interventions that would forever be etched in his memory. Of God’s faithfulness, he was rock bottom sure. But sometimes it is hard to make sense of the present.
Søren Kierkegaard once said: “Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward.” Then was then and now is now! A new season unfolded, not of blessing but of pain. The nation was experiencing a brutal enemy take over and the psalmist is in a spiritual quandary. Everything that was built up was now destroyed. There were unspeakable human tragedies and atrocities to deal with. The psalmist could not make sense of it – the cruel invasion in his land, God’s seeming absence and their innocence.
Like Job, the psalmist could not connect any failure in the present to any sin on the part of his people.
When we have sincerely followed God and life seems to turn against us, bewilderment and anger grip us. Like the psalmist, we pray hard, questioning prayers. Pain is a hard teacher. It can cause even the strongest believer to question God’s purpose. But pain is also a lesson in surrendering and letting go.
“Do something! Help us!” We cannot walk away from God or stop praying persistently, because we know the faithfulness of God. If God was faithful in the past, he will be faithful in the future. We call and God works, in his time and in his way. He will come to our rescue.
Dear Father, Hold me steady in your ways. Don’t let trial and pain divert me from knowing that your purposes are being fulfilled even when I do not understand. Keep me focused on your faithfulness until you answer my prayer. Amen.
Margaret has been actively involved in Canada with ministries to women for over 35 years, serving for 10 years as President of Women Alive. A writer and international speaker, Margaret has a passion to see women fulfill their God-given calling. In October 2011, she founded a new ministry organization, Women Together, that will engage professional Canadian women to come along side women in developing countries with skills development, leadership training, spiritual encouragement and support.