Today is a day of celebration but what if you don't feel like celebrating? Today is a day of worship but what do you do if you don't feel like worshiping? While everyone around you seem so happy and positive you feel separated and slowly dying inside. God has not been your friend. He has not protected you. He has not delivered you. The path in front of you seems dark, lonely and you don't want to walk it. Perhaps you can relate to the psalmist:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. (Psalm 22:1-2)
It is not that you deny his existence but more like you doubt his love for you. Perhaps he loves everyone else but considering what you have been facing, he doesn't seem to care. Maybe it's your own fault. Maybe you sinned so much or so big that you have moved beyond his love. Perhaps his grace was intended for something so grave as what you did. At least those are the thoughts going through your head right now. He has turned his back on you.
If this is how you are feeling let me tell you, you are in a lot of danger. You are listening to the whispering lies of the enemy; the enemy who wants to separate you from God so he can totally destroy you. The fact is that nothing in all of creation loves you more than our Father. He is feeling your pain right now. His desire is for you to hear his comforting voice and to feel his protective embrace. His grace is more than sufficient to cover all your sins, doubts and fears but he needs your trust. It starts by you remembering what he has done in the past:
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the praise of Israel.
In you our fathers put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. (Psalm 22:3-5)
We could look way back in the history of mankind or we could simply look back to our recent past, your recent past. List the many blessings and rescues God has performed for you in your short life-time. Yes, there is the cross but along with the cross he has given us all good things. List them. Remind yourself of his goodness to you. Don't allow this current crisis to veil everything he has done in the past.
Now, let's bring it to the present. Let's consider your crisis:
But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by men and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads:
“He trusts in the LORD;
let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” (Psalm 22:6-8)
Things don't look so good but maybe they are looking a little better than a few minutes ago. Now let's make this personal. Don't keep God at a distance. Get as close as you can to him and ask yourself what kind of relationship you have with him. Who is God to you? Is he a God who keeps his distance or is he up close and personal? Is he responsible for you or are you on your own?
Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you
even at my mother’s breast.
From birth I was cast upon you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near and there is no one to help. (Psalm 22:9-11)
Yes, now you are getting it. Remember the promises he has made to you through Jesus. He told you that he would never leave you. He promised to provide for you. He promised strength so you could carry on. He promised to rescue you and to keep you from shame. He promised you ever sin would be blotted out. He promised that his grace is sufficient. He told you to trust him and he would take care of the rest. He told you that the battle is his and the victory will be yours. He told you that it will require faith produced by love. Do you love him above everything else? Then you should also be trusting him in this moment. Look to the future and proclaim your faith:
I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the congregation I will praise you.
You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
For he has not despised or disdained
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. (Psalm 22:22-24)
Great and mighty is our God and his wisdom is far beyond our understanding. But so is his peace that he pours out on us even when peace makes no sense for our situation. He has told us time and again to trust him, always trust. Trust is more precious when we see no possibility of our situation being worked out. But I ask you, is being discouraged, depressed and filled with worry or fear going to improve your situation. Not at all. So throw it all on the Lord and discover why the proverb tells us:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)