I have done what is just and right, do not leave me to my oppressors. Psalm 119:121
This is the prayer of many today, maybe even you. Each of us will taste of a season where oppressors torment us. We will cry out, as David did, to be saved from our enemies. Sometimes, God immediately delivers but in my experience, that is the exception. Are we then to presume that God turns a deaf ear to our cries for help?
The children of Israel felt the whips of the Egyptians on their backs. They dreamed of freedom. They made sacrifices and asked God to intervene and yet centuries went by before Moses arrived to lead them out of captivity. God was faithful to answer but just not according to their desired timetable.
When God fails to bring immediate relief, the kind of relief we usually give to our children, we are tempted to call Him an uncaring Father. I remember a middle aged father who watched his child experience day after day of great distress. In laboring prayer, he confessed to me that he told God that people were kinder to their pets than God was to His children. Now that’s gut honest prayer and God understands our ‘words for the wind’. (What Job called his momentary ‘feeling’ words.)
One of the myths of Christianity, especially the western church, is that if we do everything right, suffering will escape us. When an unexpected tragedy occurs, our instinctive question can be, “Where have I sinned?” Sin is one of many reasons we suffer but not the one and only cause. No one suffered more than Jesus and He was sinless. And He gave Himself up to His oppressors at the opportune time.
So David’s prayer is allowed. David’s prayer is justified. David’s prayer is sometimes answered before the morning sunrise. But when it’s not, we, and David, must not assume that God’s justice is question. It is just delayed for reasons we can’t see. May our faith in his character and unfailing love not falter.
Many of us have suffered decades of oppression, one that has defined our story. You are sovereign and You are just. Heal our anger and grace us with faith for future justice. In Jesus name, Amen