23 Wake up! Why are you sleeping, Lord?
Get up! Don’t reject us forever!
24 Why are you hiding your face,
forgetting our suffering and oppression?
25 Look: we’re going down to the dust;
our stomachs are flat on the ground!
26 Stand up! Help us!
Save us for the sake of your faithful love.
Psalm 44:23-26, CEB
Yesterday I wrote that the Psalms sometimes stand in tension with Thessalonians because they show us that it’s okay to not always be grateful. (I have a friend who thinks I’m very immature for believing this. To each his own.) I’m not against gratitude, for the record, I’m just very much in favor of dealing in reality. If we’re struggling with gratitude, let’s tell God we’re struggling with gratitude rather than lying to him and saying we’re grateful. Doesn’t that make good sense? Isn’t honesty with God always the best policy? That’s the policy in the Psalms, and that’s good enough for me. I believe that in the long run it’s going to be harder on the man I’ve been writing about the past few days if I tell him he just needs to be thankful, rather than to encourage him to view his faith as a long journey and not a moment in time.
When I’m spending time in prayer, and I’m thinking, “I need to express gratitude even though it’s the opposite of what I feel,” then I just won’t pray. However, if I think to myself, “I just need to be honest with God about where I am,” then I’ll find great peace as I sit before God in prayer, totally exposed.
The key to handling difficult conversations well is not to problem-solve with Bible quotes, it’s about listening to another person and sitting with them wherever they are as a way of showing them they’re not alone.