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Has God Gone Out of Business?

Posted: 11/1/19 at 5:00pm. Column by Ed Jordan.

Have you ever been up against a wall, and after much pleading and prayer, your circumstances didn’t seem to change?

The psalmist in Psalm 77, attributed as Asaph, felt that way in the first ten verses, lamenting that God didn’t seem to be listening to his cry for help.

You can hear the biting satire in verse 10 (The Message), when he sums up his complaint to God: “Just my luck,” I said. “The High God goes out of business just the moment I need Him.” 

I am sure you know the feeling, because most of us have had something that is way beyond our control, and the response to our prayers seems to be silence.

So in the silence, we shift into the accusative mode, blaming God for not changing the situation. We rarely reflect on ourselves, or on our own neglect of God as part of the cause for the silence, so as to return to God as part of the solution.

Life is tough on the best of days. We all get older, not always wiser—and certainly we are not some god whose power can change events. We expect God to run to our aid, even though we haven’t spoken to him for months or years until a crisis occurs.

Life is tough on the best of days.

On the other hand, there are times when bad and evil things happen to the best of us. Jesus, who was God incarnate (something we are not, and never will be), suffered the epitome of evil—assault after assault. He was betrayed, entrapped, maligned, spat upon, whipped, stripped, mocked, and hung publically on a cross as a criminal.

Has it gotten that bad for you? Not likely.

Yet every one of our sufferings seem unjust to us. Many are unjust; but many, perhaps we will recognize, are the consequences of our own rebellion towards God.

The psalmist writing Psalm 77 is not trying to justify himself, nor indeed to blame God for his dilemma. He is merely frustrated and upset about not hearing back from God.  

But in verse 11-14 the Psalmist’s attitude and actions change. Read what these verses describe that he did to change his perspective and his life in Psalm 77:11-14 (The Message):  “Once again I’ll go over what God has done,  lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things You’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at Your acts. Oh God! Your way is holy! No god is great like God! You’re the God who makes things happen; You showed everyone what You can do— “

Asaph lays out some very lucid steps to take to get yourself out of the doldrums of life. Take a sheet of paper and write down all the things that God has done for you, both spiritually and physically (you might need a whole notebook to record them all).

Instead of focusing on what God hasn’t done, focus on the miracles that he has done in the world and in your life.

Next, ponder each of those events and how they have impacted your life. Reflect on all the things God has accomplished, and consider how God’s activities were always motivated by his love for you.

Thirdly, consider what other “god” has done anything comparable to what the God of the Bible has done for you. The truth is, there is no other real God, except the one revealed in the Bible. There are conceptions and wannabes, but there is only one true and living God. God is unique; there are no other divine options open to us.

So perhaps we should praise God and thank him for all he has done and continues to do in our lives instead of pouting and complaining. Just think what your life would be like without all the things that you listed that God has done for you.

We all have bad days, and things that happen that we wish we could change. But our life without God would be infinitely worse.

God has not gone out of business. He can do today whatever he decides to do. Whether or not your situation changes, God remains committed to you and me. He tells us in Hebrews 13:5 (The Message): “Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have, since God has assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you.”

When you can’t see the hand of God in your life, start writing down your blessings. You will once again see God actively involved in your life. You are still breathing, and that in itself is a miracle of God.

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.