Monday, March 20, 2006

Genesis 44:18-34; Psalms 77, 79; 1 Corinthians 7:25-31; Mark 5:21-43

In The Message, Psalm 77 starts out: “I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might, I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens.”

Clearly the writer is upset! And clearly he doesn’t try to hide the depths of his feelings from God. How different do you think yelling out to God is from yelling at God?

Perhaps verse 10 gives us something of an answer. “Just my luck,” I said. “The High God goes out of business just the moment I need him.” My money goes on the psalmist as not just expressing how upset he is to God, but how upset he is with God.

And yet, the psalmist still calls God “my God.” Tenuous though his grasp may be, he has not lost faith. That is made all the more plain in those two words, “He listens.”

What a beautiful thing! We can express ourselves openly and honestly to God and know that he listens. He doesn’t try to shut us up or berate us for being overly emotional or tell us to get over it. He listens.

Then something else happens. Having expressed his lament full force to God, reason returns. In verses 11 and 12 the psalmist says: “Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts.” This leads him to conclude: “O God! Your way is holy! No god is great like God!”

Whereas the writer of this psalm began greatly troubled and in despair, he ends encouraged and uplifted, reaffirming his belief that God will act on his behalf just as God has done in the past.

Friends, faith does not require us to be dishonest with God or ourselves, to hide from our doubts and questions like they are not there. What faith does do is allow us to come before God just as we really are, knowing that he won’t get upset with us for doing so. To the contrary, he listens, and offers us his comfort.

Rob Merola

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