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
We live in a culture that teaches us that bad experiences are to be avoided, not dealt with. We’re taught to spend a lot of time working, and then when we’re not working we need to distract ourselves from the reality of life by either having fun or finding some other way to be busy doing work that isn’t “work-related”. Optimism and positivity are core values in America and they’ve bled into our faith to the point where my Sunday school teachers actually taught me that the goal of faith is to praise God no matter what, to never have a bad feeling, to believe that every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.
I think praise is very important. I think faith is important. I think trusting in God in hard times is important. But I don’t think we should use these spiritual terms as distractions from the life that’s in front of us. We do that, you know, we use spiritual language as a distraction from reality. The Psalms don’t do that. They refuse. They believe God is powerful and can do something, but they’re not afraid to accuse him of being asleep while asking him to wake up.
If you think God is asleep, don’t pretend otherwise. Ask him to wake up.