faith, Life

In the Middle

I cry aloud to God,
    aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
    in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
    my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
    when I meditate, my spirit faints.

Psalm 77:1-3 (ESV)

When you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to praise. It’s hard to worship. It’s hard to read and study the Bible. It’s hard to be thankful when life is hard. When trust is broken, it’s hard to pray for those who broke it. When that loved one is battling cancer, it’s hard to have joy. When a traumatic event occurs, it’s hard to say, “Bless the Lord.”

When you didn’t get to say goodbye, it’s….hard.


How do you “be” a Christian when you’re mad at God? What do you do if He didn’t answer your prayers the way you wanted? What happens when the outcome you stood in faith for and believed in, crumbles beneath your feet?

You hold my eyelids open;
    I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
    the years long ago.
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
    let me meditate in my heart.”
    Then my spirit made a diligent search:
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
    and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
    Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
    Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” 

Psalm 77:4-9 (ESV)


Pain can become a never-ending season if we let it. It’s okay to feel pain. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be frustrated. It’s okay to not feel okay.

A small fraction of Christian might take umbrage with that last statement, but show me anyone in the Bible who had a perfect life that was trouble-free. You can’t. They don’t exist.

God knew this. He provided words and stories of comfort, instruction, correction and warnings for us throughout the Scriptures. But, admittedly, I’ve found it hard to reach for my Bible when overcome by my emotions.

What I have learned through many years of walking in emotional pain is that it often comes out in various ways. I’ve heard it in how I talk or communicate with those around me. I’ve seen it in how I respond to situations that don’t even involve me. I’ve felt it in relationships that I thought were going along okay, when in actuality they were hitting rock bottom.

Looking back on it now, even in my darkest moments, I believe God was with me.

Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
    to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

Psalm 77:10 (ESV)


Understanding those actions and behavior in me has helped me to understand others.

I see and hear their pain and anger. I feel their pain and grief. I empathize with their frustration and helplessness. I’ve walked the valleys of loneliness and depression. I’ve fallen to depths of despair.

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.
Your way, O God, is holy.
    What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
    you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people,
    the children of Jacob and Joseph. 

Psalm 77:11-15 (ESV)

How I came out of the things I came out of, I’m not sure I’ll ever fully comprehend it this side of heaven. God’s grace? Yes. God’s light? Yes. God’s love? Yes.

Or maybe, just maybe, someone was praying for me.


Maybe someone was praying for me to receive God’s grace. Maybe someone was praying for God’s light to shine in my darkness. Maybe someone was praying for me to feel God’s love.

Maybe another person prayed for my restoration. Maybe another person prayed for hope to return to me. And still another person could have been praying for God to comfort me. Or that God’s Holy Spirit would calm my fears. Or that God would remove the blinders from my eyes.

Some may call it fate or destiny. Some may even call it predetermined. I know what brought me out of darkness. I know what brought me through to the other side. It was the love, mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. He may have used people (vessels) to get me there, but He did it for me.

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2 (NIV)

How do you praise God when you’re in the middle of it? How do you even find God when you’re in the middle of it?

Remember what He has done. Remember how He gave strength when weakness was the feeling of the day. Remember when He protected when the storm rolled in…

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

Psalm 62:5-8

Remember the times when He did answer prayers in the way that we expected (because it aligned with His word and His will). Remember how He restored joy or He restored that broken relationship.

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
    abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
    listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
    because you answer me.

Psalm 86, 1-7 (NIV)


 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 (NLT)

Remember. Take heart. Jesus has overcome this world and all that it has to offer, including death, fear, famine, war, discord, unrest, chaos, suffering, persecution, pestilence, rejection, brokenness. He has overcome.

Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5b (NASB 1995)


In the middle of it, remember His word. Remember His grace. Remember His mercy. Remember His love.

And if you’re not in the middle of it now, pray. Pray for those who are in the middle of it this very minute. Like those, who I believe, prayed for me, pray for those you know who are afraid, struggling, challenged, grieving, running away, lost, confused, and rejecting the Lord. Pray for healing of emotions. Pray for healing of mind, body and soul. Pray that their spirits would be renewed through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit wherever they go.

Pray that they would encounter His presence when they wake up. Pray they would encounter Him when they sleep. Pray that the shout of joy would come in their morning. Pray that wherever they go that they would see and know that He is with them. Pray that they would recognize how much God loves them. Pray that God would heal the memories. Pray that God would fill the voids in their heart.

Ask God to help them remember, even in the middle of it.


Knees Down, Prayers Up