THIN THREAD OF FAITH
Alpha and Omega, first and last, You are the God of all my beginnings and endings. You are worthy of my praise.
Read PSALM 22:1–31
 For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“This is one of the most eloquent statements of human anguish in all literature. Yet it concludes with a declaration of faith and praise” (Alton H. McEachern).
Psalm 22 comes from a lonely place. Enemies stalk and scorn (6,12). Energy and confidence have run dry (14,15). Only faith remains, as the thread to hold life together—and faith is being stretched terribly thin. Prayer gets no answers (2). Pressure rises, and God seems to have left town (1).
How do you lay hold of God and what do you say to God, when God isn’t there? You can do three things. First, you can tell. Let God know what’s happening. Describe it, weep over it and be honest about how much it hurts. Prayer is a place for truth, even when truth is painful. Second, you can remember. God has been present before: “our ancestors… trusted and you delivered them” (4); “from birth… you have been my God” (10). Use the past as a handle to get a grip on today. Third, you can ask: “Do not be far from me” (11,19). If God were visible, everything would look different.
When God does come into view (24), the psalmist’s eyes start to open too, into a great vision of praise, reaching and rippling outwards. What starts as “I will praise” (22) expands to “those who seek the Lord will praise him” (26). Then the circle moves out to “the nations” (27), goes down to “the dust” (29) and reaches forward to “future generations… a people yet unborn” (30,31).
So pain has turned into praise and helplessness to hope. Even when heaven seemed to be empty, faith could still say, “My God” (1), and this faith has been able to grow into a new and more confident vision. It is almost as if we have moved from Good Friday to Easter—for this is the psalm Jesus used as he hung on the Cross (Mark 15:34).
What is the psalmist’s basic struggle (1,2,6–8)? Which have you found to be worse—God’s distance or people’s mocking?
Lord, I am comforted to know that you have walked where I have walked. Encourage me in my struggles.
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