Thursday, February 16

How Long, Oh Lord?

How long, O Lord?
What a range of emotions! As I’ve been praying my way through the book of Psalms, I have been struck by how many different emotions the Psalmists express—and not just the pretty ones like love, worship, adoration or even sorrow. Rage, jealousy, anger, bitterness, despair, loneliness, hopelessness, loss of faith, fear, anxiety, envy, sarcasm, complaining . . .
I don’t usually feel comfortable with these negative emotions. Somehow, I feel that a godly person shouldn’t have those kinds of feelings. Yet there they are . . . in the Bible. And not being condemned as models of wickedness, either. Some of the godliest people who have ever lived wrote those words. Scripture records them as a prayer book for us—as model prayers!
Their audacity shocks me: they’re so bold that they say all these things to God. Sometimes about God. Sometimes about others (they seem like such uncharitable thoughts). Sometimes even against God.
But . . . God didn’t strike them down with lightning.
Am I supposed to pray this way? Lord, I don’t know how! I would barely know how to start. Are you sure it’s okay? I mean, I’m not questioning whether you’re great enough to handle all my worst emotions in their rawest form . . . am I?
I’ll try if you’ll lead me . . .
Why, God? Why?

Oh, God, you know I have tried to be faithful to you.
I have put my life in your hands.
I seek first your Kingdom and your righteousness.

But . . .

Can I make it much longer?
Why do I have to wait for you?
Why don’t I feel your presence?
Why don’t I feel your love?

Show me your paths, Oh, Lord.
Teach me your ways.

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