A Crisis Of Faith
A daily devotion for October 25th
1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands
and my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned;
I mused, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart mused and my spirit inquired:
7 "Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"
10 Then I thought, "To this I will appeal:
the years of the right hand of the Most High."
And I say,It is my grief that the right hand of the Most High has changed. (Psalm 77:10 RSV)
Here is a man who is really trying to be honest. He says,
I have analyzed my situation: I tried prayer all night long. In the past I have been given help, but no help has come now. God has made my heart to sing in the past, but it is empty, barren, and cheerless now. Why is this? I have thought about it: I searched my own life, my own heart, and these questions have come to me, and I cannot answer them. My conclusion must be that I have misjudged God. I have thought that God was changeless, that He would always respond every time I came to Him, but He has not. Therefore, I am driven to the irresistible conclusion that He is like a man, and you cannot count on Him.
This psalmist is facing the possibility of losing his faith. All that he once rested on, which has been such a comfort to him, which has strengthened him and given him character and power among men, seems to be nothing but a crumbling foundation that is disappearing fast. Soon he must lose all that he has held onto in the past. This is the
day of [his] trouble and his present distress. Is that not the hidden problem with many of us? I have lost track of the times people have called me up and said,
I just don't know what to do. I've tried prayer, I've tried reading my Bible, I've tried to think through, but nothing seems to help. I don't know what to do. What's happening to me?
Apparent unresponsiveness from God is not unusual. All of God's saints have experienced this from time to time. This is part of the standard program God has for disciplining and training His own.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13a). The faithfulness of God is deliberately put into contrast with the statement,
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man because every one of us tends to suffer from the feeling that what is happening to us is unique. But many have experienced similar temptations if they are seeking to live the life of faith.
The prophet Isaiah declares the reason this is true. Isaiah reveals what God says.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways (Isaiah 55:8). That is, God says,
My reason is above yours. You understand so little of life compared to what I see in it. My thoughts are not your thoughts; therefore, you can expect there will come times when you will not understand but will be perplexed. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts; as the heavens are above the earth, so much greater is His vision of what reality is. If we are limited then to the tiny section of life that we can grasp with our puny understanding, it is only to be expected that there will come times when we do not understand what God is doing. So do not be troubled by these times of perplexity. They are normal experiences coming to all in the life of faith.
Our Father, I am so grateful that the things Your Word talks about are not remote from my experience, that You are the God who is interested in life. When I cannot understand, teach me to trust in You.
Life Application: When we lessen our trust in God, the object of our faith, our faith is weakened. Have we grasped the need to re-focus on God's character revealed in Christ Jesus?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.