A WORD IN PASSING - March 2020
'Rise up. O God, and defend your cause.' Psalm 74:22a
Ever felt like praying or shouting those words? Perhaps when you've been going through a difficult time and God seems absent or to have turned His back on you? To begin with, isn't it encouraging to read these words from Psalm 74 and know you are not the only one who has felt like that. And secondly, isn't it amazing that we find such raw emotion expressed in Scriptures! But read the Psalm, and think on your own out-pouring and you will realise that his is not an expression of faithlessness. On the contrary, it's an expression of faith - albeit, faith under stress. It's an open, no holds barred expression of anguish, perplexity and questioning. But all this is within the context of a shakeable yet essentially secure faith. It's the kind of faith that somehow lives on when it seems it should have died; the kind of faith that stands even when the very foundations for faith seem to have been torn away.
It's the kind of faith that can cry out in faith, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!" Mark 15:34.
And it's the kind of faith God looks for in His people - the kind of faith that pleases Him, for it's a faith not founded upon feelings, not upon circumstances, not upon the wisdom of the world, nor anything else save God Himself; founded upon His Person, His love. And being founded upon Him it carries with it the assurance that His promises to His people will be fulfilled - even though there are times when His anger may seem to, 'smoulder against the sheep of His pasture,' Psalm 74:1.
Psalm 74, like many other Psalms, affirms the fact that God allows us to give vent to our humanity before Him; pouring out our heart to Him in times of darkness and distress, but doing so within the bounds of faith. Never slurring His character. For whatever we may feel our condition to be God is just and God is faithful and the Scriptures show us again and again how even in the darkest of times His perfrect purpose - including His perfect plan for our lives - is being fulfilled.
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