Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday ~ My doubts, Pt. 2 : When God Let Me Down

 Psalms 18

The cords of death encompassed me;
    the torrents of destruction assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me;
    the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the Lord;
    to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
    and my cry to him reached his ears.

Then the earth reeled and rocked;
    the foundations also of the mountains trembled
    and quaked, because he was angry.
Smoke went up from his nostrils,
    and devouring fire from his mouth;
    glowing coals flamed forth from him.
He bowed the heavens and came down;
     thick darkness was under his feet.
 He rode on a cherub and flew;
    he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
    thick clouds dark with water.
Out of the brightness before him
     hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.

The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
    and the Most High uttered his voice,
    hailstones and coals of fire.
And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
    he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
    and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
    at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

I don’t know how I never noticed it before, but consistently throughout the Bible when the Lord comes to the aid of His people, He comes surrounded by bad stuff. The children of Israel were just as flesh and blood as you or I; they couldn’t see what tomorrow held. All they could see was blood, locust, and frogs. They didn’t know that a few days more, and they’d be marching out of Egypt “prepared for battle.”  Three months later, God came to them on the Mountain of Sinai, but He didn’t come with angels singing and flashes of bright light. The mountain was a blazing inferno, smoke blackening the sky, thunder and lighting crashing all around. It must have been terrifying. They didn’t get to see God up in the mountain. In Psalms 18, King David cries out for God’s deliverance. Notice how the Lord comes to His rescue? An earthquake. Smoke and devouring fire. Darkness. Thick, impenetrable black clouds. Hailstones and burning coals falling from the sky. In a word: catastrophe. Imagine yourself surrounded by such chaos. Imagine the fear you would feel.

Imagine how you’d question God. “I asked for your help! Now things are just worse!” None of these Old Testament examples could see beyond the moment they lived in, just like us. But we know what happened. The children of Israel did march out of Egypt free as a flock of birds. The Lord did come to Moses on Mt. Sinai and He gave them all the 10 Commandments. And King David? “He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me” – the verse just following the ones above.

As AW Tozer says, “It gets darkest just before it gets light.” I don’t know why the Lord chooses darkness as His chariot, but I do know that “darkness is as light with God.” Darkness isn’t an obstruction to God; He sees through it just as clearly as He sees through light.

God rides the darkness like Mary Poppins rides the chimney smoke of London. When you feel like God’s not hearing you, remember that the children of Israel only saw a worsened condition, too, only that very worsened condition was their deliverance. The darkness and fire on Mt. Sinai was the arriving presence of God. The earthquake and thunder around King David was the Lord coming to save Him from his enemy.

When the person you love and pray for takes another step into sin…it might be the Lord’s means of deliverance.

When you pray for answers, but only get more questions and darkness seems to choke you…it might be the darkness that the Lord comes in on.

When you’re the only one left standing (or single), and you don’t know how you can do it any longer…when it’s worse, it might be the rumble of God’s approach

As I’ve been learning this over the past few weeks, it’s given me hope. It’s unlocked areas of my doubts, aiding me in seeing where our Invisible God is in the midst of bad stuff around us. It gives me the “oomph” to still rejoice when yet another burden seems added to my shoulder. This could be the deliverance. It helps me to stay in faith as I myself pray for the prodigals in my life. It helps me see where God might have been when I myself was the prodigal child.

Now, when I see people bowing down under the weight of adversity or despair over a wandering loved one, I want to say “Remember Psalms 18!” With so much sadness, despair, sin and heart-breakings around us, Psalms 18 is a chapter to cling to and refuse to let go.

We all have things in our lives right now where the circumstance looks bleak. We need to hear from God. We need Him to move. But we've prayed, yet nothing changes. Or the trouble is multiplied.

When nothing happens in response to prayer or things just get worse, it means He’s coming. Through this realization and understanding of how God works, I am learning slowly to see that maybe God didn't let me down after all. When He didn't seem to come to my rescue, but all my depression and internal darkness got worse, it was in that darkness that the Lord refined me. The Lord was the Refining Fire. I didn't see my Champion God come in and take away all my trouble, but I now can see that He did major works in me, pivotal, altering, life-changing works, that have made me a whole new creation. He came to my aid, but He came as the Refiner. He did come to my aid, but it was surrounded by a darkness so thick I couldn't see Him. Just like the children of Israel couldn't see God on Mt. Sinai. Yet He had arrived for my help. Maybe I can trust Him all the way after all. Building trust in someone takes a long time. Even in God. I'm so thankful He doesn't condemn me, but rather is helping me to see where He's been in my darkest moment. He's helping me to build up my trust in Him. He's good like that.

Does this mean I'll never doubt God again? No. Everybody doubts, everybody questions, everybody struggles with their faith. It's what motivates us to search and prod for answers. But each little truth, like this one, helps us pull ourselves up by God's bootstrap and keeping trusting.

P.S. And open up your itunes and buy "Better Than I" by John Bucchino & David Campbell. For real.


  1. Psalm 18: one of my favorite chapters. =) Never fails to move me.

  2. Firstly...I totally know where you are. It's funny how we get so angry and upset at God...and then he shows us up with something amazing. BTW -- That song, "Better than I" has been one of my fav's since that movie came out!!!!.....I used to think Joseph was hot. LOL

    Keep your chin up! :)

    1. Hehe, I'm pretty sure I thought the same thing, too! :)


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