Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? –Psalm 44:23 NIV
A man checked into a hotel room and was told to be as quiet as possible because the guest in the next room was a light sleeper. As he pulled off his shoes, he accidentally dropped one on the floor, making a loud thunk! He carefully slipped off the other shoe and crawled into bed. An hour later, he was awakened by someone pounding on the wall and a shout from the light sleeper next door: “For heavens sake, drop the other shoe!”
Have you ever waited for the other shoe to drop? “Trouble comes in threes,” you’ve heard, and you’ve already been slammed with two. “What else could go wrong?” you ask, but don’t really want to know. So you spend your days and nights anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop.
A Facebook friend, suffering from shingles and enduring cortisone shots, said that she “felt the question hovering over me, looking for a place to land.”
Been there? Done that? Haven’t we all.
In times like these, we wonder where God is. We’ve prayed and prayed and prayed, yet not even a whisper of an answer comes from heaven. Not even a “Wait.” God is silent, and we don’t know why.
Psalm 44 addresses this scenario. The psalmist goes from feeling blessed to abandoned, and he doesn’t think it’s fair.
While in the context of this psalm, he’s speaking for the nation of Israel, we, as individuals, can identify with the situation and his feelings: “You blessed us” (vv. 1–8). “You abandoned us” (vv. 9–16). “It isn’t fair because we didn’t do anything wrong” (vv. 17–22).
Like the psalmist, we have a choice. We can stay in our pit of self-pity, feeling betrayed, rejected, and abandoned, or we can accept God’s sovereignty and, like the psalmist, still pray, “Help me!” (vv. 23–26).
My Facebook friend chose not to wait for the other shoe to drop, but “to live by faith not fear.”
When read this psalm in my Quiet Time Bible one morning, I was challenged to “ask God to help you to understand His ways and grant you His peace when you are waiting for His voice.”
How can I ask Him for understanding, when my finite mind cannot wrap around God and His ways? As A. W. Tozer wrote, “God in His person and attributes fills heaven and earth exactly as the ocean fills a bucket which is submerged in its depths.”
But, even though I cannot even begin to understand—am I supposed to?—I trust that He has a plan and a purpose for my pain. I do not pray for patience as I wait for His answer. Instead, I pray for strength for the wait and His grace to sustain me as I wait.
He hears. He will answer. Of that I have no doubt—even when the other shoe drops.
In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice. In the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation (Psalm 5:3). Thank You for the hope I have in You. Blessed assurance! Amen.
Read and reflect on Psalm 44.