This is the second post in a series of three posts back to back, and you can go here for the first one.
Many think the book of Job is the oldest text in Bible. You want to know what the entire story is about? This difficult question: “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”
That’s right. All those slit-eyed skeptics, smoking their pipes and posing the “gotcha” question, “If God is good, why is there cancer?” are asking nothing new. You could almost say that question is central to the spiritual life, and that the entire Bible exists to answer it.
The question is fair, though, and the answer is not so simple. It is not something that can be spoken. It has to be experienced. And one of the best ways to experience it is to wrestle with God in the prayers of the Psalms.
God’s Prayer Book for You
The Psalms make up what is the largest book in the Bible. It is prayer after prayer of praise, lament, sorrow, joy, doubt, and fear. It is every emotion under the sun brought to God.
In it’s structure, just like the Lord’s Prayer, it teaches us how to talk to God. It shows us in every line the boundaries of a relationship with him, and believe me, they are broad and wide.
There is room for you to feel like God has forgotten you, has hid himself from you, or has forsaken you. These prayers help us work through these feelings and come to the other side with a stronger faith in him. They give us a healthy and spiritually rich language with which to understand our pain and bring it to the Father.
Most of the Psalms wherein the Psalmist is working through a trial begin with tears and end with joy, but that is not always the case. Sometimes the Psalmist is left waiting and hoping.
This is where the conversation can begin. When you don’t know what to pray or how to pray in the middle of your own storm, let God give you the words to say.
In the next post, I’ll explore practicing gratitude.