We Have Enough Faith -- We Need to Use What We Have
Dreaming and Living

The Unveiled Face of God

This is called, "A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD."

Surely, many here have had days when the cry sounded something like this, first to be heart, and then to be answered:

" Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!"

(Psalm 102:1-2 ESV)

"Do not hide ..."

How do you know that an invisible God who rarely manifests His presence directly and obviously in your life is really hearing and answering? Sometimes it is in the subtleties; often it is in the coincidences; frequently it is in the irrational peace or the unexplained strength and faith that arises in our hearts as we trust and follow.

So often, it is in joy and in the joyful reality of community that becomes the presence of God to us.

We experience God's presence as we brutally pour out our hearts to God in the full range of human emotion, despair, and frustration:

" For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my flesh.
I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake;
I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
All the day my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread
and mingle tears with my drink,
because of your indignation and anger;
for you have taken me up and thrown me down.
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass."

(Psalm 102:3-11 ESV)

You know through hope and you know through the acting on feeble faith. This God who regards and hears the prayers of the destitute will not despise your prayers:

"But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
you are remembered throughout all generations.
You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.
For your servants hold her stones dear
and have pity on her dust.
Nations will fear the name of the LORD,
and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
For the LORD builds up Zion;
he appears in his glory;
he regards the prayer of the destitute
and does not despise their prayer."

(Psalm 102:12-17 ESV)

This God manifests Himself and, in due season, manifests Himself to you. He appears in His glory, even if only in glimpses and hints, even if only in flashing moments of self-disclosure, He lets you know.

Furthermore, He reveals Himself in worship as one who attends to our prayers and in the words of those who record His deeds and share together, in community, their experiences of grace:

" Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD:
that he looked down from his holy height;
from heaven the LORD looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die,
that they may declare in Zion the name of the LORD,
and in Jerusalem his praise,
when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the LORD."

(Psalm 102:18-22 ESV)

It is our witness of one another of His witness to each of us.

Comparing our notes, we realize that there really are no coincidences.

" He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
“O my God,” I say, “take me not away
in the midst of my days—
you whose years endure
throughout all generations!”"

(Psalm 102:23-24 ESV)

He has His ways of bring us to the place where we can experience His grace in healing ways, but they sometimes seem like the breaking of our strength in the middle of our lives. We are moving toward a grand goal and suddenly, we are interrupted.

Perhaps our interruptions are necessary for refocus - at least sometimes ....

But in the meantime, go ahead and register your complaint to God.

Our struggles with faith land on faith. Believers' doubts, fears, and frustrations are real, but they are differentiated from the ordinary because they land on faith. They settle on solid ground. They come to rest where they have always rested in that confidence that simply will not go away, that stubborn trust in the one who upholds all things including our own feeble lives:

" Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
their offspring shall be established before you."

(Psalm 102:25-28 ESV)