Arguing with God
“Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not cast us off forever! Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? Rise up, come to our help. Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.” – Psalm 44
Do you ever argue with God? Do you ever call on God to be God?
Is that even okay? Can we do that? Well, lots of people in the Bible did, including whoever wrote the 44th Psalm. He called, “God, Rouse yourself!” Of God, he demanded, “Why do you sleep?” All sorts of people in the Bible argue with God, including Abraham, Moses and Jeremiah, to name a few.
I used to think that I didn’t hear much arguing with God in church because we were just too nice. It didn’t seem polite, or maybe faithful, to argue with God or challenge God.
Lately, I’ve been pondering a different theory about the general reluctance to get into it with God. Arguing with God only makes sense if God is real, living, active, up to something in the world, present and intervening—the way God is in the Bible.
Is that our God? Or is our God some kind of evolutionary concept or a human construct or our highest values, like say, truth or justice or compassion?
If God is good values or an abstract concept, arguing with God would be silly or stupid. But if there is a living God, an active God, then arguing with God might be part of a deep, bold faith. Much of our God talk, these days, turns God into a higher value, an abstraction, a distant concept.
For the Psalmist God was different. God was alive, surprising, up to something in the world. God might be sometimes hidden, sometimes revealed, but there was a living God. God is still speaking, right? So today, share the gutsy faith of the Psalmist and tell God how it really is with you. Call on God to be God for you. Do you dare? Who knows what might happen?
I confess Lord that sometimes my faith is pretty lame. I act as if you stopped acting and speaking a couple thousand years ago. Speak today, God, and give me ears to hear. Act today, Lord, and give me eyes to see. Amen.
Tony 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. You can read Tony’s “Weekly Meditation” and “What’s Tony Thinking?” at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.