That is one of my favorite books by Philip Yancy. Another good book of his is, Disappointment with God.
I was talking with someone recently about a family crisis he was going through when he made this comment, “I just need God to hear me. I need to know that God is listening. Is that too much to ask for?”
Isaiah 65:24says, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
Perhaps you’ve found yourself in the same situation. You’ve found yourself in a place where you are crying out to God, and the whole time you’re wondering, is He even listening? Does He even care? If you have been wondering if God hears you (or if you are there at this moment), you’re in good company. The Scriptures are filled with people who struggled with these exact questions. In the face of tremendous doubt, many have cried out to God, “Where are you?”
The people of God had a term for these kinds of moments: lament. Lamenting is a deep cry of the soul, one that, in the face of present struggles, remembers the past goodness of God and cries out to Him to be faithful once again. It is a passionate plea, literally a “calling out” of God — “If you are who you say you are, and if you’re the same God who has acted in the past… then where are you now?”
Time and again in the Scriptures, we come across people who cried out to God. They cried out to God because they knew that He had been faithful in the past, and that they needed Him to be faithful once again in the present. “God, where are you? I thought you were a loving God. Where’s this loving God that I thought you were?” Perhaps someone has told you that these kinds of questions were a “lack of faith.” They might not know about lamenting where we do pour our hearts out to God, yet we still remember His Goodness. (Psalm 6, 10 and 38 would be good to read.)
The reality is this: when you and I ask hard questions of God, we are standing in the path of this ancient tradition, one that is captured over and over in the Scriptures. It is in the asking of our honest, gut-wrenching questions–the ones filled with anger and frustration–that you are expressing a deep sense of faith. We cry out to God, in frustration, because we believe that He is the only One who can do something about it.
We believe, ultimately, that God is a God who hears. And it is this truth that gives us hope in the present.
Bless you if you are in a season of lament. May you find God’s goodness in a profound way!