David himself wrote this anguished prayer request that showed up in our lectionary devotional reading today:
Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more! Psalm 39:13
Can I be reading that right? David actually had a moment where he thought the best thing would be for God to leave him alone?
The experience of finding out God’s ways are not our ways can be uncomfortable. Unpleasant to our senses and confusing to our understanding. Foolish, even. And indefensible, at least by our own expectations. St. Teresa once complained of her treatment. Jesus told her, “Teresa, that’s how I treat my friends.” Teresa responded, “No wonder you have so few friends.”
It makes inviting people to give their lives to Jesus a more difficult sell. Apparently the only way to resolve the dilemma is to stop trying to explain it and, instead, look at something else. What that might be was suggested by a devotional we also read today from John Piper.
The great turn from despair to hope in Psalm 77 comes with these words: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds” (Psalms 77:11–12)
David wrote that one, too. We do have a choice what thoughts we allow to stay in our minds.