He Hasn’t Changed

For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
Psalms 22:24 ESV

You know what I love about this passage? David pens the above words in the midst of trouble. As with many of David’s psalms, when you read all of Psalm 22, you will also see David begin by lamenting and wondering “why,” yet by the end he is praising God for God’s faithfulness. Even more importantly, he ends with praises even when he still does not know the answer or cannot see a resolution to his initial struggle.

Psalm 22 begins with this heart wrenching question and declaration:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
Psalms 22:1‭-‬2 ESV

I’m sure we’ve all been in a place like this before; some of you reading this may be there now. Death has come to the one you love. Cancer has been ravaging your once healthy body.  Your bank account is all but empty, yet the bills keep coming. Or maybe the paychecks have ceased because of a job loss. Whatever circumstances you may find yourself in today, I’m pretty sure you’ve either asked or wanted to ask “Why?” at some point. Why did she have to die? Why did he have to get sick? Why can’t I seem to make ends meet? Why, why, why.

Well, first of all, let this psalm encourage you in this:  you are not alone.  We’ve all been there. David was there often.  Yes, a man after God’s own heart often found himself surrounded by the enemy and struggling through a difficult place. Even our Savior was there.  Seriously.  I’m not sure if you recognized it as you first read it, but the above cry also came from our Savior and Lord as He hung on the cross (Matthew 27:46).   Yes, even the Savior of the world, the very Son of God, cried out for understanding as He suffered for the sake of sin.

But here is what we also must remember: sometimes God’s goodness is greater shown through the struggle and the sacrifice than through the calm and the blessings.

No, I am in no way saying God causes sickness, disease, or disaster.  God does not author evil.  What I am saying is that at times, God’s light is easier seen when all else is dark.  A light shines brighter in the dark than it does in the light.

In addition to showing us we all have struggles, this psalm also reminds us it is okay to ask God those tough questions; He can handle it. Again, even Jesus asked why. The key to keeping the faith as you ask why, however, is found in your heart. David didn’t ask why because He doubted God.  David didn’t ask why because He thought God caused the problems. David asked why because He believed. He believed in God’s goodness, so he asked God why he wasn’t seeing it.  David often pointed out God’s past faithfulness as he asked God to meet his current need.  David knew God was and is faithful.  He knew God would always answer.  Nevertheless, and most importantly, David also knew that God’s ways were not easily understood.

David knew another important key to the life of faith: regardless of where we are and what we are going through, praise is imperative.

Yes, we must never stop praising the Lord.  Read with me the verses that immediately follow David’s laments and questions:

  I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

Even in the battle–even with the unanswered questions–David still praised. For David knew an important God doesn’t change even though our circumstances do. God is still God even when we don’t understand–especially when we don’t understand.

For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.

God sees you, my friend. God hears your every cry. And He is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Never. So whatever struggles you are facing today. Whatever diagnosis plagues your household. Remember. Remember that it’s okay to wonder, it’s okay to ask, and it’s definitely okay to believe. Actually, it is imperative you believe. Believe you will see God’s goodness in the land of the living. Believe God will prosper you. Believe God is more than able to meet your every need and heal your every disease. But also believe that even if you don’t see–even if you still struggle–even if you are still sick–God is with you, God loves you, and God will never let you go. I repeat: God will never let you go.

For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.

 

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