Psalm 74:1 (ESV)
O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
Is it wrong to pray “God why have you cast us off forever?” when you know that He has not, but it is the way that you feel? Is it wrong to pray from the heart that one feels abandoned and hurt and left to one’s own resources?
It’s wrong to pray it if the attitude is one of knowing better than God, or if one is accusing God of making a mistake or of being less than faithful to His own promises. But it is not wrong if one asks about what God is doing from the viewpoint of wanting to know how the circumstances of life fit in with what we are told about God’s love and compassion for His children. It is not wrong to ask it if one is questioning the cause behind the hard providences of God. Perhaps the sense of desertion is because of sin. Perhaps it is because of one’s holiness and the sense of being a square peg in a round hole that will sometimes bring. Perhaps it is the faithfulness to Christ that we are promised will result in persecution. Perhaps it is simply a matter of a God sent trial to develop us to be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4). Wouldn’t hurt to know would it?
Psalm 74 seems to be the cries of a man who sees the destruction of the temple and the country and does not understand how this fits in with the promises that God has made. It may be a prophetic vision of that terrible event or an eyewitness account. In any case, the author recognizes that God is at work in what the enemy is doing (verse 1) but he does not seem to know why God is doing it. This is real faith. Things are going very badly. He does not deny that God is the one in control of all that is going on, including the horrors that he is witnessing.
This is a far cry from the attempts of many believers today to seek to get God off the hook and say that He had nothing to do with the calamities that befall the world. God is God and He does not need me to vindicate Him. Of course God is at work in the horrors we see and hear about on a daily basis. If He is not, then the world truly is without any purpose at all and we should all just do whatever we desire, because a God who cannot stop a tornado or a war or an argument with a neighbour can hardly save a soul from death.
I do not like much that is going on in the world. I hate the cruelty and abuse and selfishness that breeds all kinds of atrocities. So does God. But He is in control of them and He uses them for the accomplishing of His eternal purposes which are beyond the ability of any human being to fully understand. So, I may cry, “Why are these things happening?” But I may not cry out that God is less than what the Word claims Him to be. We do not sit in judgement upon the Almighty. We trust or we rebel. In mercy He allows us to call out to Him in our perplexity. But He is not obligated to reply and He is not obligated to check with us to see how He should be acting.