In Jeremiah 15:18, Jeremiah, hurt and angry, prays to God:
Why is my pain unceasing,
my wound incurable,
refusing to be healed?
Will you be to me like a deceitful brook,
like waters that fail? (ESV)
Jeremiah has a lot of nerve. He seems to be implying that God would deceive him.
The important thing is that Jeremiah is not complaining about God; he is complaining in an honest way to God. Eugene Peterson points out:
"God is not a problem to be solved. What we find is Jeremiah praying: addressing God, listening to God. Prayer is the act in which we approach God as a living person, a thou to whom we speak, not an it that we talk about." (p. 98) - Peterson, Eugene H. Run with the Horses (Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press) 1983.
I have thankfully never had to deal with extreme pain or depression as part of my walk with God. I know, however, that there are Christians who must deal with such burdens.
I do not know, but I rather suspect that the prayers of such saints as these are not always polite requests for healing. It may well be that they hurl the full range of human emotions up to God. Peterson states further:
Our anger can be a measure of our faith. Believers argue with God; skeptics argue with each other (page 103).
That is all well and good; but whoever won an argument with God?
Thankfully, we do not have to go very far to find God's affirming and encouraging response to Jeremiah and to us:
If you return, I will restore you,
and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
you shall be as my mouth.
They shall turn to you,
but you shall not turn to them.
And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you,
declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 15:19-20).
God is with us. Let us never doubt it, no matter how difficult and incomprehensible our lives may appear to be.
Our understanding of God's response is even richer when we read Romans 8:6:
To set the mind on the flesh is death,
but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Life and peace. I like the sound of that!
After all this, we may still be bewildered as to how to pray:
For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26).
We must surely realize that God loves us when we realize that he will do our groaning for us-in a way too deep for words.
Blessings and friendship through the Spirit of God,