"Lord, why do you stand aside, why hide from us now the times are hard? The poor [are] devoured by the pride of the wicked, [they are] caught in the wiles the other has devised." - Psalm 10:1
Who can believe in God in a world where there is so much innocent suffering, in a world where injustice is a vivid, ugly reality?
A wonderful man is addled by Alzheimers, an eight-year-old is dying of cancer, there's yet another outbreak of gun violence, and arrogant creeps rake in the dough or profit on war. Really, who can believe in God?
Sometimes, it seems, we imagine we're the first generation to ask such questions, the first people ever to see how much awfulness there is and conclude, "I just can't buy it; who can believe in God? Not me, not any longer."
Truth is, people have been dealing with these challenges to faith for forever. Check out Job or Jeremiah or today's Psalm, Psalm 10. And that's just for starters.
One of the really startling things, in fact, is that often it is the people of the deepest faith in a living and loving God who are also the people who ask the hardest questions about suffering and injustice, and take the biggest risks to challenge what's wrong.
It takes no great courage - especially if our own lives are comfortable and secure - to declare ourselves too enlightened - given all the suffering and injustice - for faith in God.
Faith worth its salt mean facing - and acting against - evil and injustice while yet daring to trust in the living God. Courage is facing that which challenges meaning and yet affirming that life has moral meaning and living that faith daily.
Thank you, Lord, that you keep believing in us, given all the evidence to the contrary. Amen.
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com by clicking on Weekly Reading.