Listen to the entire message here.
The following is an excerpt.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?
This man felt that God had abandoned him. He had prayed for God to help him, but it seemed that God was so far from helping him. But it seemed that God was so far from helping him. “Why aren’t You helping me? Why aren’t You rescuing me? Why aren’t You changing things?” He says, “ O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you hear not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” He says, “I am persistent in my prayer, I am passionate in my prayer, I groan, I cry, I call out day and night. I know in my head that God answers prayer.”
He had seen it on the bumper sticker of his neighbor’s ox cart. It was right there on the wall of his friend’s house in cross-stitch – ‘God answers prayer!’ We do the same thing, “God, I’m praying! There’s no answer. Would you just at least let me know that you are listening? Give me some indication. I’d like to know that an answer is coming, that help is on the way.”
But God is silent. That is hard, isn’t it? We feel that we can’t bear it; we want to overcome it; we desire to get through it. We want to please God in it and we are calling out to God for help but it just doesn’t seem to be there. Nothing changes, no one answers.
Now what? Some people respond this way. “God has abandoned me, so I just give up. I just can’t go on.” They drop out, drift away. “I just don’t have the heart to carry on, I can’t pull myself together enough to go forward.”
Some people respond, “God has abandoned me, so I’ll just quit. I’ve served, I’ve been faithful, I’ve witnessed and this is how He is treating me? Fine, I quit.”
Another response is, “God has abandoned me, so I’m finished with Him. I’ll show God! I’ll go do what I want. Goodbye church, goodbye Christian life. I’ve been wanting to try some of this stuff anyway.
But, when someone who is a believer thinks like that, there is something, a voice, an awareness that sounds and speaks through all of that confusion and discouragement.
Let me try to illustrate it this way. Let’s say you are in your car driving down the road and you want to listen to some music and you turn on the radio and push “seek” because you are looking for something to listen to – something light that you can enjoy. After hitting the button a few times, you land on a classical music station. Something catches your ear. There is a pleasant sound. There is an enjoyable harmony and melody playing and it attracts you, so you stay there. Pretty soon you are getting caught up in it. There is a little bounce to it and you start looking around to make sure no one is looking and you start directing the music. It just feels good; there is something about it that lifts you up. Then as classical music sometimes does, it enters a part of the song where things change. It’s like the instruments go off in their own directions. Pretty soon it sounds like the instruments and the sounds they are making are fighting against each other. It becomes dissonant. It clashes and there is conflict. It produces unrest and you reach for the button ready to move on. Then, all of a sudden, something else comes through. You almost feel it before you hear it. Those huge, massive, deep basses begin with it, then the mellow cellos pick it up and the rich violas and the bright, joyous violins and the perky flutes join in. Then all those instruments start to modulate and somehow come back together and resolve and you start to hear that melody again and it captures you again. Maybe that is what it is supposed to do – to make you appreciate and enjoy it when it finally comes back together.
I think David’s life is like that. Everything is chaotic and seems to be in conflict with itself and life doesn’t make sense. “How is this ever going to be resolved. How will my life ever be comfortable again?” Then something that David knew was right and true started to sound in his soul. “But You are holy” (v. 3). He remembers what he knows to be true about God.
Holy is “set apart.” It means to be way above, totally different. I think he is saying this – and these are my words, “You are infinitely superior to me and supreme over me.” Then, the simple response to that is, “You can do anything You want.” By ‘can’ I don’t mean have my permission, I mean ‘you have the right.” If you are holy, if you are completely separate from me and superior to me and supreme over me, then You can do anything as God that you want or not do whatever you choose not to do. You have the supreme, sovereign right to do that.
Then I think it means “pure.” To be holy is to be pure. “You are pure, You are flawless in Your character, in Your purposes and in Your acts. Therefore, whatever You do is right and good, or whatever You choose not to do is also right and good. You are infinitely superior to me, You are supreme over me, You can do anything You want. You are pure and flawless, so whatever You do is right and good.”
You see, he redirected his concentration from what was happening around him, what he was seeing, what he was feeling, how it affected him, how it burdened him, what threatened him – which is our natural way of viewing life. “How are you?” The response is based on how you view life at that moment – what is happening to you and how it makes you feel. “What are your prayer requests today?” The response is usually what is bothering you or what is burdening you. That is natural and not necessarily wrong. But here he shifts his concentration from that to what he could not see and what he could not feel but what he knew to be true about God … “but You are holy.”
One thought on “Abandoned by God?”
Your car radio analogy is as absurd as any I’ve come to expect from Calvary Baptist.
Most people don’t turn their back on God simply for your overly simplified unanswered prayer. They’ve usually been treated unjustly by their church, whom they’ve been faithful and tithed regularly. Something they were told was filled with the spirit but turned out to be filled with horse manure and contempt.