Tumbling in the Sand
“Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail.” – Jeremiah 15: 18
So, this is Jeremiah talking to God. Can you imagine calling God a deceitful brook? A liar? A failure? I’m not exactly sure that I can … but then again, I know I have felt times when it seemed like God had completely disappeared. I know I have spent times in serious amounts of pain wondering why God wasn’t fixing it or at least shortening the minutes, hours, days of suffering. I know that I have spent times by hospital beds of people dying far too young. I know when I listen to the stories of the famine in Somalia these days, of children dying while their parents look on, helpless to stop it, I find myself thinking about how wrong this all is, wondering where justice is, why this is happening, and why isn’t God doing something to stop it…
Perhaps you’ve felt similarly?
Maybe it would do us some good in those times to take a cue from Jeremiah, to be honest with God, to say exactly what we think. I think that it is probably better than trying to lie to ourselves about how we feel, which tends to lead eventually to the very deadening of our feeling toward God, and the very deadening of our faith. I also wonder if Jeremiah hadn’t been so honest with God if he would have been able to hear God’s promise spoken back: “I am with you to save you and deliver you.” I wonder if sometimes—when we are afraid to speak the truth to God, when we are afraid that our doubt and anger at God are somehow bad and we have to cover them up somehow—we get so preoccupied with covering it all up that we no longer can hear the whisper of God speaking in our broken places, promising healing, drawing near to us, delivering us, and loving us even when we don’t notice at all.