The Bible reveals these feelings are nothing new. The book of Psalms is always a good place to go when you need to hear some strong language. The guys who wrote these songs didn’t hold anything back. When they were angry, even if it was with God, they expressed their anguish and bitterness. When they were happy, the leaves in the hilltops rustled with their heartfelt praise. And when they wanted to know why, they didn’t settle for pat answers tied with a pink bow. They took all their emotions to God, because they recognized He was big enough to handle them.
Only He can fix the unfixable. Only God can comfort the soul that pushes Him away, even as it looks to Him in wretched neediness.
Two songwriters who expressed this deep pain were Asaph and David. Picture Asaph, doubled over in anguish of soul, writing:
I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
Have you ever uttered similar words? Further on, he says he feels rejected, wonders if God has given up on him. Ever been there? But if you keep on reading, Asaph turns from his feelings, which he knows to be untrustworthy, and toward the truth he knows about God.
“Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.’ Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?” (Psalm 77:10-13).
He goes on this way for the rest of the chapter and, lo and behold, his soul finds comfort.
David is another God-follower that bared his soul to God. His song voices trust. Even as he begs for God’s mercy and compassion, he constantly refers to the rock solid character of God he has come to know. He’s being hunted down by ruthless killers and afraid for his life, but his experience with God has shown him God can be trusted. Even in this dark night of the soul – one that would send most of us running in a frenzied panic, David reaches for his instrument to sing a new tune.
He begins with his desire to please God, because He is the only God, and He has proven himself faithful and gracious and true. David ends with: “you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me” (Psalm 86:17).
I love that when we open the pages of the Bible, we do not find perfect, plastic saints, but flesh and blood people who struggled with life and raging emotions just like we do. God accepted them as they were and filled them up with himself.
Today, if your soul is rejecting the comfort you so desperately need, I encourage you to pour out your heart to God. Remember who He is, or begin reading the Bible to meet Him for the first time. Then ponder all He has done for us, because He loves us. Cling to that truth no matter what your feelings tell you and wait for His comfort. It will come.