“Why have you abandoned us, O God? Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs…They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your name.” Psalm 74, v. 1, 4, 7
The message of Psalm 74 is a difficult one. It is a message about faith in crisis and keeping our faith in times of trial. Its message seems appropriate for the times in which we are living. Division, divisiveness, intolerance, racial and political violence, a pandemic, hopelessness. At times it does feel as if God’s sanctuary has been burned to the ground. God can seem very far away at times such as these, and our prayers can seem to vanish into the ether. Yet we need to turn to God precisely when he feels far away.
None of us will avoid difficult times, but the message of Psalm 74 is that we can use these times to draw closer to God. When we get to where we can begin to know the mind of God and his infinite wisdom, we can begin to make sense of things. No matter what we face or how little we understand, we trust God in it all. When our focus returns to God our spirit is elevated, and we trust that there will ultimately be a place with no pain, trials or hardship.