I have been reading, watching, praying, and listening in response to the events of last Friday. I am late in writing this in the sense that everyone has already weighed in on their feelings and thoughts.
First, I need to say that my heart has truly grieved the senseless violent taking of human life that occurred in Connecticut. It is appropriate that we maintain the category of ‘evil’ not just for this situation alone, but also for the deep darkness that resides in every human heart. Every single one of us is capable of evil, and yet the scope of this evil is quite extreme and shocking.
But my main point in writing this blog is not to cast blame, it is not to address gun control, it is not to discuss school security, and it is not to attack anyone else for their insensitive comments. (All being subjects crashing around in my head the past week.)
I would like to briefly address Psalm 77 and particularly the first 9 verses. An ancient dude named Asaph wrote some things that many churches might be tempted to censor if it were not for the fact that they are within the pages of Holy Scripture.
Asaph begins by crying out to The Lord! He is wailing, and I am pretty confident that he is fully emotionally engaged in this shouting! Some trouble has settled into Asaph’s life and he is losing sleep over it, and he is earnestly seeking God.
According to verse 3 even the memory of God causes weakness to Asaph. He is not in a place of firm faith, but a place of grave difficulty . . . One might even say He is questioning God! The question “why?” is all but directly stated in the text.
Asaph has been left speechless by tragedy. He longs to remember better days, and he is searching in his heart for the relationship he experienced with God in better times.
And in verses 7-9 he states in very raw and direct terms the nature of his concern. Has God given up? Has God left His promises unfulfilled? Has God removed His favor? Has He shut up his compassion? Has God forgotten how to be gracious?
I will leave it up to you to read the rest of the Psalm and see the conclusion of Asaph, but for my purposes in this blog I want to point out the obvious from this Psalm. Scripture gives us examples of crying out to God! And this is not a dainty sheepish request with a curtsy and a bow. This is, “God why have you not been compassionate!? Did you forget your promises!? Did you forget to be gracious!?”
The God of the Christian faith, is big enough to handle our questions! He is big enough to take in our mourning, sorrow, grief, and anger.
That we have someone to call out to . . . That we have someone to shout out to . . . That we can seek The Lord in the day of trouble . . . is a benefit of faith. Tragedy happened last Friday . . . tragedy, regardless of your faith.
But the question, “Where were you, God?”, is a question reserved for people who believe that He is there! I am free to express my displeasure with the events, I am free to mourn, and question, I am free to cry out to God.
But the bottom line is, without God, I have nobody to turn to, no place to go, no place to register my lament, and no hope that anyone will even listen.