Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?
— Psalm 44:23–24
Music is a powerful thing. All of us know that the first few measures of a song can instantly transport us to an event that took place decades ago. Perhaps it was the song that was playing when you got your first kiss or the song you had played at your mom’s funeral service. Music can lift our spirit, and it can bring us to our knees. Music is a powerful thing.
One of the reasons music is so powerful is because music is created by someone and is usually telling a story. The most powerful songs are the ones we find ourselves in….almost as if the writer had been watching our story unfold and then put it to music. Songs that really move us do so because in some strange way they are telling our story for us. Often they tell the part of our story that we really didn’t even know how to articulate.
Psalm 44 is a song of lament. In the sermon on Sunday, we walked through this psalm and discovered the author was frustrated and angry with God. We were able to quickly recognize the author’s frustration that God was not fixing everything. The psalmist is basically calling God out for being so faithful to the preceding generations while remaining silent to the present generation. At one point, the psalmist is bold enough to tell God to wake up from his sleeping and pay attention to what was going on. The psalmist never seemed to question God’s ability and was perfectly willing to celebrate all that God had done in the past, but he was confused and hurt that God seemed disinterested and possibly even unaware of what was happening in the here and now. This song probably wasn’t sung with joy in the heart but rather with a spirit of defeat and anger.
I know few of us want to admit we have ever been mad at God or frustrated that he wasn’t answering our prayers the way we wanted. I know few of us would boldly shake our fists at God and accuse him of being asleep at the wheel. I know a good majority of us like to slap a smile on our faces and tell everyone that God is faithful. I also know that most of us have had times when we have laid down at night and wondered if it is ok to question God. We have wondered if it is ok to be mad at God. We have wondered if it is ok to tell God that we have questions and that we are frustrated.
The beautiful thing about Psalm 44 is the psalmist gives us permission to struggle. This psalm shows us that God is big enough to handle our hurts and our questions. It reminds us that God will not respond to our doubts and questions in anger but listens patiently.
We have no idea if God wound up answering the psalmist’s prayer. As best we can tell there was no immediate resolution. Have you been there? Are you there right now? If so, it’s ok to be honest with God. Be raw with him. Something tells me that there will be a day in your future when a song is sung or a story is told that will immediately draw you back to this moment and you will be able to reflect on not only the struggle but the ultimate faithfulness of God in this difficult season.