“God, you have rejected us. You have broken down our defenses. You have been so angry with us. Please, restore us.”
If someone started off a prayer like this in the middle of a service or Life Group, how would you respond? I don’t know about you, but I would be incredibly uncomfortable. The atmosphere in the room would instantly change. I would feel the need to critique his view on God, offering some form of Christian truism about how God never leaves us, or never gives us more than we can handle. I would want him to keep to the script. What would other people think? What would God think? After all, you shouldn’t get that honest with God!
Yet… King David did. It’s exactly how he starts off his painfully honest prayer in Psalm 60.
Go check it out! Seriously… I’ll wait.
Now, little background on this psalm: David is in the midst of a battle with the Edomites, and things must have not been going very well. Picture it: his army is tired, his resources are spent, and it looks like he’s about to face defeat. Yet, David never minces words with God. He is brutally transparent with where he is at.
‘You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open; repair its breaches, for it totters. You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger.” -Psalm 60:3
In other words, David’s world feels like it’s falling apart, and he is desperate for God to do something. Has anyone ever been there? I have. Many times. Yet, how many times have we simply gone through the motions in our prayers, hiding behind our good Christian masks instead of being honest with where we are at in our walk with Christ, even if it doesn’t match our “It is well” wall art we bought at LifeWay?
Our Church family has prayed and fasted together for several weeks now, which is absolutely amazing. Already I have heard stories of the Lord’s faithfulness in the midst of our Body. He has blessed us in some big, beautiful ways! It’s great to hear those stories. However, I have also heard stories of broken, jaded brothers and sisters whose world is tottering like David’s was, and they just want God to speak to them, to show them that things are going to be ok. They are praying, they are fasting, yet they can’t see God working.
Is that you?
I’m not going to say I have an answer, but I do want to offer a piece of advice as you pray and fast: Be honest. Don’t spend another second in prayer going through the motions. Bring God your brokenness, your lost hopes, your faded dreams, and wait. God closer than you realize.
Even in the tough times, David saw hope:
“You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow.” -Psalm 60:4
God has set up banners in your life, reminding you of his faithfulness in the midst of the battle. A faithful friend. A moment of salvation. A piece of Scripture. Whatever it is, look for the things that point to the amazing truth that God has not left us, nor forsaken us. If you can’t find that “banner”, talk it over with God. Jesus can handle your honesty and your burdens. He carried yours, along with everyone else’s when he took on the cross. He was pierced for all the skeletons in our closets, all the sins we hide behind our good Christian facades. Jesus can handle our scars, just look at the holes in his hands. Look to the empty grave. Let those be your “banners”.
God ends up answering David’s prayer, by the way. As you read the rest of the Psalm, we see that God promises to defeat the Edomites and anyone else who tries to destroy God’s people, and if you’re still wondering whether or not God showed up in this story, check out 2 Samuel 8, where the actual battle is recorded:
“And David made a name for himself when he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. Then he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David’s servants. And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went.” -2 Samuel 8:13, 14
Keep praying. Keep fasting. Keep being honest. Keep pressing into God’s presence. Jesus can handle your honesty, even if it doesn’t fit the script. He’s closer than you realize, and I can promise you: He will never leave or forsake you.
-Luke DeMarco, College Minister
“So I throw all my cares before You
My doubts and fears don’t scare You
You’re bigger than I thought You were
You’re bigger than I thought
So I stop all negotiations
With the God of all creation
You’re bigger than I thought You were
You’re bigger than I thought You were”
– Sean Curran “Bigger than I Thought”