READ: Psalm 22
BACKGROUND: Psalm 22 was written by King David in the midst of great anguish as he was under attack from enemy nations. He was desperate for the Lord’s delivery. Throughout this Psalm, David mixes his complaints with his praises – sharing his present sufferings, but recognizing that God is still God and worthy of praise. The words of this Psalm written about David’s suffering parallel the experience that Jesus would have as He endured the cross. This Psalm describes the pain of undeserved attack. Psalm 22 is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament.
THINK: Last month a 91 year old woman in Guatemala received an answer to a prayer she had prayed faithfully for five straight years. This frail woman is missing a leg and has been asking God to provide her with a wheelchair since she was 86. A friend of mine partners with an organization in Guatemala that provides refurbished wheelchairs to disabled individuals while sharing the good news of Jesus. He was there to help fit a wheelchair for this elderly woman as tears streamed from her and her son’s faces. Their prayers had been answered.
It’s hard for me to even imagine having the faith to continue praying for five years when the chances of getting a wheelchair in her circumstances are so unlikely. I can imagine this woman praying prayers similar to that of David – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (vs. 1) Yet in the midst of her desperation, like David, she must have kept faith that “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,” (vs. 24) and so she continued to pray.
When our heart’s happiness is bound up in God Himself, we will feel desperate in the moments when He feels far. I believe each of us will experience seasons where God seems distant. For the sake of transparency, I’ll tell you that I’m going through a season now where God feels distant. There are prayers I’ve prayed for the revival of my heart, my church, my city for years and I have yet to see God move in the ways I’m hoping and praying He will. There is only one thing I can do – continue to pour my heart out to him, knowing He is the only one mighty to save.
Our faith cannot be based on our emotions. It must be based on the truth of who God is and that never changes. David’s emotions led him to believe that God had abandoned Him, but thankfully he knew the truth of who God was and that kept Him grounded through his sadness, fear, anger, and confusion. Had the elderly Guatemalan woman based her faith on her feelings or even her logic, she would have quit praying long ago, but she knew God is who He says He is and so she continued to seek Him – and He provided – as He always does. Not always how we expect, but we can trust that He’ll be faithful to those who seek Him.
Matthew Henry said it this way, “However it be, yet God is good, and he is mine; though he slay me, yet I trust in him; though he do not answer me immediately, I will continue praying and waiting; though he be silent, I will not be silent.”
ASK: Do I base my trust in God on my feelings, emotions, and circumstances or do I trust Him because I know His Word is true? What prayers have I given up praying because it seems God isn’t listening? Do I have the faith to continue asking God to move in my life even though it may take longer than I hope or expect?
Written by: Cari Widdel