Over and over, the Psalmist asks, “Why is my soul cast down? I feel useless, forsaken. There’s such a restlessness inside me. Why, Lord? Why do I feel so helpless in my affliction?” (See Psalm 42:11 and Psalm 43:5.) These questions speak for multitudes who have loved and served God.
Take godly Elijah, for example. We see him under a juniper tree, begging God to kill him. He’s so downcast, he’s to the point of giving up his own life. We also find righteous Jeremiah cast down in despair. The prophet cries, “Lord, you’ve deceived me. You told me to prophesy all these things but none of them has come to pass. I’ve done nothing but seek you all my life. And this is how I’m repaid? Now I’ll no longer mention your name.”
Each of these servants is under a temporary attack of unbelief. But the Lord understood their condition in times of confusion and doubt. And after a period, he always pointed them to their way out. In the midst of their afflictions the Holy Spirit turned on the light for them.
Consider Jeremiah’s testimony: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jeremiah 15:16). “The word of the Lord came to [Elijah]” (1Kings 19:9). At some point, each of these servants remembered God’s Word. And it became the joy and rejoicing of their lives, pulling them out of the pit.
The truth is, the whole time these people were struggling, the Lord was sitting by, waiting. He heard their cries, their anguish. And after a certain time had passed, he told them, “You’ve had your time of grief and doubt. Now I want you to trust me. Will you go back to my Word? Will you lay hold of my promise to you? If you do, my Word will see you through.”