How long will the enemy mock you, God? Will the foe revile your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? (Ps. 74:10–11)
Some historical events are inherently evil. But some things start out looking great and end up horribly, while other things appear terrible and work out to be blessings in the end. Gerald G. May shares in Dark Night of the Soul that he was diagnosed with cancer, but the experience brought him closer to God and loved ones. The chemo, which felt awful, brought him a complete cure. Later, he learned that the chemo may have led to heart disease, which left him waiting for a transplant. “At some point I gave up trying to decide what’s ultimately good or bad. . . . I don’t have to look for spiritual lessons in every trouble that comes along.”
The psalmist begged God to defend the oppressed and to fight for his own honor. Interestingly, the psalmist did not question God’s ability to destroy the enemy; he questioned God’s timing.
May and the psalmist articulated a tension we all share. Why doesn’t God do something about the unfairness we see in our lives and in the world? As the psalmist put it, “Why do you hold back your right hand?” The psalmist painted a picture of a God who is patient with us and our inability to understand what is good and what is bad for us. It is a picture of a God who is waiting to set the world right again.
Admit the tension you feel between disappointment and confidence in God’s timing.
Andrea Summers is a teacher, pastor, writer, advocate, and campus pastor/dean of spiritual formation at Indiana Wesleyan University.
© 2021 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.