a prayer in our doubts

This morning I read a paraphrase version of psalm 109 and was struck with the honesty of the author as he related the experience of doubt. Answering questions of suffering in the context of our belief in a good God is no easy task. For example, you can follow a discussion on Ryan's blog on the very subject. Leslie Brandt, the author, expresses the challenges of the subject well in his prayer. May this be our prayer in the face of our doubts...

Oh God, I have been taught to believe
that You are God over our world.
It has been dinned into my ears
by the preachers of my youth,
by parents, teachers, and self-appointed apostles.
“God holds the reins,” they say.
“He will have the last word,” they claim.

I’ve honestly tried to believe it.
And with tongue in cheek
I’ve sounded off to others
about Your power and Your promises
Maybe they sensed my incredulity.
It may be that they just habitually accepted
or unthinkingly nodded assent
to my platitudes and pronouncements.
How can I really believe in Your omnipotence
unless I look the other way
when tragedy befalls
or close my eyes to the agony and ugliness
on all sides of me?

I cannot believe You inflict pain on Your creatures.
I realize that our suffering is most often
the consequences of our own selfishness.
But what about the babies born
with two strikes against them?
the grisly slaughter on battlefield, highways?
the destruction of thousands when the earth
shifts and breaks up under them?
the pressures and indignities
forced upon minority races?
What about this, O God?
How can I explain this to my sceptical friends
or even to myself?

Is it possibly true, O God,
that You really are not omnipotent?
that this fractured world is not
in the palm of your hand?
that Your great power is limited
in respect to this distorted planet
and its sin-ridden inhabitants?

O God, the basis of all being,
my ultimate and eternal concern,
I know that Your are not floating out there
over and beyond our ball of clay.
You are in our world.
You are amongst Your creatures,
inscrutable, indefinable,
great in majesty and splendour.
You bring beauty out of ugliness.
Out of the ashes of our sickness and suffering
You bring forth new creations.
I shall never want to define you, O God,
for I cannot worship what I comprehend.
But I pray for Your grace to stand firm
even amid my nagging doubts
and to praise You in time of adversity.
(Psalms Now)

3 comments:

Ryan said...

That's a fantastic rewrite. I'm going to go blow the dust off that book on my shelf...

David Warkentin said...

yeah, it's got some great renditions of the psalms. It's been quite helpful in my own reading. Although, you may want to leave the dust on the cover. The cover art may misrepresent the content :)

Ryan said...

Ugh. No kidding.

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