When I became a Christian, I thought it was the answer to all life’s questions. That it would solve all my problems, and make me happy. I see Christians all the time acting like Jesus has solved everything, like there’s no problems any more and Jesus has fixed everything.
You see, the problem believing this is that it’s not quite true. Since I’ve become a Christian, my parents marriage broke up, my Mum died, and my Dad has developed Parkinson’s, and still hasn’t been healed of it. And I’ve had all sorts of other issues.
If knowing Jesus is meant to make you happy and solve all your problems, it’s just not working out.
Thing is, I should have known this going in. There’s a book in the Bible which actually tells us this. It’s a book of poems and songs, many written in the midst of suffering.
David, the great king of Israel, being chased down by Saul, hiding in a cave. Safe to say things weren’t going well for him. He’d been chosen as God’s anointed king, and yet was stuck in a cave being chased down by Saul and his men.
Yet, somehow, in the midst of it. David seems to keep faith in God. He keeps on trusting. In Psalm 142 he talks about how he cries out to God in the midst of his troubles, with his enemies all around him. Pleading for God to save him. He’s not happy. He’s not got all his problems solved. God promise to him isn’t yet fulfilled and there seems no hope of it.
And yet, he cries out to God.
We’ve all been in our caves. We’ve all had moments where we feel the world is collapsing around us, where darkness is closing in, where there is no hope. And when this is happening, many of us cry out to God too. The question ‘why’ often comes up too.
Psalms reminds us that it doesn’t always go according to plan. It reminds us that although God might have a destiny for us, it doesn’t always work out smoothly. It’s a book which shows us a relationship with God has it’s rough edges. And it proves to us knowing Jesus is never a guarantee we will always be happy, things always work out for us, and every problem will be solved.
All it is, is a promise we are never alone when life happens. A commitment that God will not abandon us, if only we allow Him into our lives. An opportunity to walk through the minefield of life in partnership with the one who created life itself.
And this won’t make us happy all the time. It doesn’t mean we’ll have every problem solved or question answered. In fact, like any relationship, there will be disagreements, there will be times we don’t get on (or rather, we don’t get on with God), and frustrations and disappointments.
But the way of grace, the way of forgiveness, the way of compassion, of loving others above ourselves, of non-violence, peace and justice, is still the best way to live. And deep down, those who’ve met with God know this. And we know that God is ultimately loving, faithful and good, even when we aren’t.
Life won’t ever be smooth. But we don’t have to be alone through the journey – and Psalms shows us we don’t have to be.
And that even in the midst of darkness, there is hope.