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.

Write Your Own Psalm

They told me when I was younger that as I grew older I would love reading the Psalms more and more. They were right! The Psalms capture the heart, emotions, struggles, frustrations, and realities of the life of a follower of God. God doesn’t work as we would like Him to most times. Therefore we need to voice and vent our feelings of frustration and aggravation.

God desires to hear from us! He desires that we relate to Him even if we are miffed. He is God and He can handle it. In conversation with God, hopefully our eyes will be opened to His great love for us and a better appreciation of His holiness. His ways are not only different and higher than our ways but far better than we can imagine. Like the Psalmists of old, we can write psalms too. Although we will not be writing Scripture, we will be recalling and living out the Scriptures. We can express our hurts and hopes, frustrations and failures, questions and quibbles, passions and praises to our God.

The main thing is, no matter what you are going through, that you go to God. Many times we shy away from God because of how we feel, thinking that God doesn’t care or understand or that He will condemn us. What we must remember is that God came to us in Jesus, so that should prove that He does care, does understand, and does not want to condemn us.

So find that journal or back of a napkin or whatever electronic devices that you use to write… slow down, go to God, and invite Him into your situation.

1. Begin by being honest about where you are at in life and how you feel about it. 
Write it down…
Ex.
I hate my job and I want to quit!

My friends have turned on me and I want them to feel the hurt that I feel.

I wish I wasn’t a screw up.

Or for those living the good life…
I am so happy that I met this wonderful person!

I love my new job and new house!

2. Share your questions, hurts, frustrations to God.
This is where you release all that is within you to God. Read some Psalms to see how the Psalmists did this. God wants to hear your heart so that He can bring the healing, truth, and change that you need. You need to be honest so that this can happen.

3. Now throw in some imagery to make it come alive… (Imagery- word pictures of what it is like)

Ex.
Working each day is like drowning deeper and deeper in a cesspool of depression.

My friends are ravenous wolves they tear me apart.

I’m as useless as a roll of soggy toilet paper.

This step is important because it helps us think through what we are really feeling. We have so many emotions and reactions that may be difficult to put into words but they may be captured in images. This helps us to see where we are and to be honest and energizing in how we communicate it. What we are experiencing in life is real and intense and God wants to meet us there.

4. Remember God’s character and promises.

After expressing what is on your heart, this is the most important part because we invite God into the situation. We invite God into our lives to be God. He may not be or do what we would like. He may not change the situation or circumstances but we allow Him to be who He is and do what He do. We allow Him to rule and reign as our living and loving God and Heavenly Father.

The Psalmists did this as they wrote by remembering the promises and character of God revealed in the Law.

Exodus 34:6-7
Isaiah 40:28-31; 55:8-9

As you read the Scriptures write down verses that describe what God is like. These truths you need to remember and add to your daily psalming.

5. Ask God to show up and work in this.

This is where we seek God in our circumstances. This is where we wait and trust. These are our prayers based on the truth, promises, and character of God. This is where God turns our hurts to hope and healing. This is where our minds and hearts begin to see God’s perspective on our lives.

God is working and moving in your life.
When you write it out…
You slow down
You face up to reality
You invite God into your situation