“Here me, O God, as I voice my complaint.”
“Never question God,” people warn. “Faith doesn’t ask ‘Why?’ Faith accepts,” we are told. Some Christians shudder when I share those times in my life when I have shaken my fist at God. Yet here the psalmist voices his complaint to God about the suffering which comes at the hands of the enemy. The faithful prophet Jeremiah found himself hated by the very people to whom God sent him to declare the message of God. This was not what he expected in his ministry. He complained to God. “O LORD, you deceived me” (Jeremiah 20:7). Wow Jeremiah, how can you accuse God of deceiving you?
Sometimes the enemy is so strong, so threatening. The hardship and suffering are so heavy. We don’t understand. “God has a plan” doesn’t satisfy. Our hurt, our doubt, our complaint, has to be heard. God needs to know. Like Jeremiah we feel deceived. Faith in Christ and faithful living were to bring blessing. Where is the blessing? Where O God? Hear my complaint! And God tells us through the psalmist and Jeremiah, “Come to me with the honesty of your heart.”
Jeremiah’s ministry was never what he had envisioned. The people refused to hear his God-sent message. He suffered at the hands of the very people to whom God sent him. The disappointment and the suffering never ceased. Yet, with the same breath with which he complained, in the same prayer, Jeremiah trusted God. “But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior” (Jeremiah 21:11). In his prayer of complaint the psalmist also held to his trust in God. When the intensity of the loss and of the disappointment caused me to express my complaint to God with a clenched fist raised to the heavens, I remembered the cross and the empty tomb. And with the same breath with which I complained, I praised God. I expressed my trust in him with my fist opened and raised in faith toward the Lord who is with me like a mighty warrior.
“Let the righteous rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him!”