I crawled into bed and pulled the covers over my head. It was my favorite hiding place, even at 35. Pain seared my heart, tears poured from my eyes, and the sadness welled up in my soul. “Are you there God?” I whispered aloud. “Do you even care about me? I mean really care- About ME, not just me as a tool in Your Kingdom?”
Immediately I heard her: the shaming voice of my inner perfect girl, who is always better than me and shaking her head at me in disapproval. “What is wrong with you? You SHOULDN’T ask these questions of God. So many of your friends are suffering much greater things-you SHOULD be grateful. You SHOULD have faith. Yours isn’t even “as small as a mustard seed.” You’re a brat. The guilt surrounded me and even my warm, comfy blankets couldn’t keep it out.
Are you like me: a questioner, a doubter, and a skeptic? We are not alone. David, “the man after God’s own heart” questioned God and His motives too.
Psalm 43 is short, but shows David's inner struggle with doubt. Because of his hard circumstances, he questions God's actions and motives. "Why have You rejected me? Why do I go about mourning?" (v.2)
I totally relate. In the midst of hard circumstances, my crying out to God is usually a question of whether He really cares for me or not. It comforts me to see David, the chosen king and Jesus’ ancestor, crying out to God with questions.
However, David doesn't just wallow in self-pity and in the mire of questioning God's motives. God allows him to honestly question what he does not understand, but God does not let him stay there. In verse 3, it's almost as if we can visibly see the Holy Spirit moving David's heart toward truth.
"Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God."
Here, we see David's desire to know the TRUTH about God's character and motives-his desire to move beyond the questions. He knows that Truth will lead Him to God and that when he understands the true character of God, it will create in him a thankful heart.
This is the on-going struggle of faith. We have seasons of questioning and seasons of certainty. What I gather from this Psalm is that questioning God is not the sin. What matters is how we respond to the Truth He reveals.
Even more important, I see the abundant grace of God in the Psalm. God is so much bigger than our questions. Whether our questions come from a place of intellectual doubt or a place of deep pain, He can handle it. He is God. He is not going to stomp off to a corner, pout, and ignore us because He's offended by our questions.
Instead, He gently corrects us and leads us in Truth. This may not happen in the timing we prefer. We may have to sit in our doubt for a while-but not forever. God’s slow process of revealing Himself is part of the process of sanctification. Pain and doubt are often part of that process too. Therefore, sanctification frees us from the guilt and “shoulds” about our doubt and faith.
For Your Reflection:
1. What are some questions I ask God in hard circumstances? What are some doubts I struggle with?
2. Am I afraid to voice these questions to God? Why?
3. How am I seeking out truth in the face of doubt? How can I respond to this truth in a way that honors God, but is still honest?