Provoking God

Provoking God

Do you know how to provoke a response? My wife does. If she’s talking and I’m not listening, she turns toward the wall and says, “Why thank you, Wall. It’s so enjoyable to converse with you today. I delight in these one-way conversations.” She’s provoking a response.

We find good company in Psalm 77. Someone is provoking God to respond to their dark, desperate situation. It begins with an emotive gush:

I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might, I yell at the top of my lungs. I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord; my life was an open wound that wouldn’t heal. When friends said, ‘Everything will turn out all right,’ I didn’t believe a word they said.” (The Message)

What’s the problem? We don’t know. That’s what I like about these lament psalms – they are fill-in-the-blank-prayers. I can insert my own trouble. And we have plenty, don’t we?

  • Loss of people we love
  • A cutback at work
  • Shrinking 401C
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Moving to a town you hate
  • A kid going bad
  • A business going under
  • A deep loneliness
  • A painful memory that camps on the front door of our consciousness
  • A marriage getting uglier by the day
  • A checkbook bleeding red
  • A relationship that ended when we didn’t want it to

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