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When Faith is a Clusterf*ck

A day or two ago I flipped open my Bible to the middle and read a few of the Psalms.

On these pages, I watched the highest joy and the deepest despair collide like waves.

This is how it is, with the Psalms, sometimes.

Look. Here’s Psalm 21:

You’ve given me exactly what I wanted
You didn’t hold back.
You filled my arms with gifts;
You gave me a right royal welcome.
I wanted a good life; you gave it to me,
And then made it a long life as a bonus
You pile blessings on me;
You make me glad when you smile.

then turn the page and read Psalm 22:

God, God . . . my God!
Why have you forsaken me?
Doubled up with pain, I call to God
all the day long. No answer. Nothing.
I keep at it all night, tossing and turning.

I flipped back and read them again, thinking there must be some mistake. This isn’t how the story is supposed to go.

How is it that in one chapter the Psalmist is celebrating overwhelming good, and the very next chapter is a raw scream of pain toward a God who has seemingly abandoned him?

Where did he go wrong?


A day or two ago I felt on top of the world.

Despite the early nightfall outside my windows, my heart was full of light and joy and hope and love.

Yesterday evening, I sat in my empty house and wondered what is even the point of existing, and how are humans ever supposed to be happy?

This is how it is, with me sometimes.

Where did I go wrong?


When I look back at my own psalms, scribbled into notebooks and whispered into the wind and scattered across the internet, over and over I see joy and despair colliding like waves.

And so today I am grateful, for these words that of uneasy faith written so long ago. I am grateful to know that I am not alone.

I’m grateful to know that for even the legendary heroes of the Bible, sometimes the chapters are all in the wrong order, and despair follows way too close on the heels of joy.

And I’m grateful for a God that whispers to me, “Sometimes faith is a clusterfuck, and that’s ok.”

published November 24, 2015

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