God Likes Big “BUTs” and Cannot Lie…

Read: Psalm 22

Recognize

Trouble will come! It may seem that if something bad can happen then it most likely will. Life is filled with pitfalls of pain- loss of health, loss of jobs, loss of love, loss of control, loss of hope, loss of direction, and loss of passion. The pressures of life will push us down and cause us to wonder, where is God and what is He up to?

David felt these pressures of life and cried out to God. He asked God

Why have you forsaken me? (1)

Why are you so far from my deliverance…? (1)

Why do you not answer? (2)

David charged God of forsaking him, being far away, and not answering him. David cried out and was restless because what he sought from God seemed lost, hidden, and silent. David did not stop there BUT pressed on to find God beyond all the confusion and quiet. What we see in this psalm is an example of the “waw adversative,” where the psalmist shifts gears from pity and pain to hope and help. The “waw” is used as the Hebrew word for “but” and contrasts the previous thoughts to the following thoughts.
Look through Psalm 22 and point out all the “buts.” (or “yet”)

As you look at all the “buts” what thoughts are contrasted?

How does David see God? (3-5, 9, 19-21)

How does David see himself? (6-8, 12-18)

When we realize these things about the LORD, how should we respond? (23-31)

Jesus experienced and cried out these things as well. Much of Psalm 22 is prophesying what will happen to Jesus at his crucifixion. Jesus entered our pain and frustration.

See:

Psalm 22:1 Matthew 27:46; Galatians 3:13

Psalm 22:7-8 Matthew 27:39-44

Psalm 22:15 John 19:28

Psalm 22:16 Crucifixion

Psalm 22:17 John 19:36

Psalm 22:18 John 19:24

Jesus endured awful circumstances for the greater good of our salvation. In the moment, the pain seems more real than God’s love and the loneliness seems stronger than God’s presence. The Heavenly Father seems to have abandon us and shut us out from all the blessing, comfort, and peace we desire. So we cry out! Jesus was able to see past the momentary affliction to the glorious end (Hebrews 12:2) and Paul exhorts us to see these afflictions producing “incomparable weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). God desires that we cry out to Him and also see His eternal perspective when we are at the end of our own. This why we can say life is (insert bad things) BUT God is (insert God’s character or promises).
Thankfully, we can have “buts!”

Although life is crazy- God is in control.

Although life is lonely- God is there.

Although life is sad- God cares.

Although life is painful- God brings healing.

We all need big buts in our thinking.


React

When life is difficult and God seems far away or life is out of your control, remember your “buts.”

Look at Psalm 22:24, 26. How do these verses give you hope?

Think of ways you can remind yourself of God’s promises of His love, healing, restoration, and presence.

Cry out to God all of your hurts, fears, pain, and resentment. Then look back over this psalm and remind yourself of God’s promises and His heart. Just because you are in the thick of pain right now, it does not mean you will be there forever.

Consider why God may be allowing you to experience the things you are going through. What is God developing in you through all this pain? Just as a good (painful) workout develops strong muscles, life’s struggles can develop spiritual strength and increase one’s faith.


Remember

Write out some of the “buts” in Psalm 22 on note cards and look over them to remind yourself of who God is and what He desires for you.

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