As Christians, we sometimes face trials – moments when God seems distant and trouble or grief clouds our souls. It could be the death of a loved one, a perplexing illness, loss of one’s job. It could even be hostile attack or opposition from humans. At such times, we cry out to God for help, comfort and deliverance. And such are times when our faith in God is both threatened and strengthened.
Consider the chilling description of sorrow in Job 30:16,17. In his anguish, Job even saw God as the one tormenting him (vv. 18-22). Similar sorrow is related by the author of Psalm 43, who sees himself rejected by God and oppressed by the enemy (v.2). His torments lead him to cry out in prayer:
Send forth your light and your truth,
Let them guide me. (v. 3)
Although he was in torment for his disobedience to God, the prophet Jonah also cried from the
belly of the whale:
The engulfing waters threatened me,
The deep surrounded me (2:5)
In the end, he sees a shimmer of hope by recalling that the same God who has brought the affliction is his Saviour,
When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
And my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple (Jonah 2:7)
Indeed, for the covenant that God has established with His people so binds Him to them that they can always count on his help (Isaiah 41:10). In the midst of emotional storms and physical pain, we have His love guaranteed. So the Christian believer can respond with both Jonah and the psalmist:
Salvation comes from the Lord (Jonah 2:9)
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
For I will yet praise him,
My Saviour and my God. (Psalm 43:5)