May I Appeal?

Bible Reading:
Psalms of the Troubled Soul Psalm 70; 71; 77; 83; 86

Sometimes, though he already knows our hearts, we hesitate to tell God when we're angry or disappointed in his seeming lack of interest, compassion or fairness. The psalmists, David and Asaph, weren't afraid to express their grief and doubt to the Lord. We can hear them wrestling with God, tossing their thoughts back and forth, trying to align their feelings of disillusionment, frustration and abandonment with their faith and knowledge of God.

When Asaph was torn with doubt and despair, he considered the history of the Israelites and appealed to God's past record. "Then I thought, 'To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High'..." (77:10-12ff). As he recounted the times God had delivered, protected and lovingly led his people, Asaph was reassured that God would again prove faithful.

While Asaph appealed to God's past record, David considered what he knew about God and appealed to God's character. "You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. So look me in the eye and show kindness, give your servant the strength to go on, save your dear, dear child! Make a show of how much you love me…. Gently and powerfully put me back on my feet" (86:15-17 NIV/Msg). "You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay" (70:5). "You are my rock and my fortress. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go" (71:3). "You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy" (86:5-6).

David desired to learn more about God through his suffering (86:11). Understanding God more fully enabled David to praise and trust him more freely (71:5-6, 14-15). God's character, combined with his past record, gave David confidence that God would again restore and comfort him (71:17, 20-21).

An idea is presented in the book, Growing Kids God's Way, which allows a child to appeal to his/her parents when he feels he has been treated wrongfully or unfairly. Within given boundaries, when the child says, "May I appeal?" his viewpoint is to be given respectful consideration. After the facts are calmly deliberated, the child's predicament may or may not be altered accordingly.

Perhaps we should try the same approach with God when we question his mercy and compassion. We would present our viewpoint, not for the sake of arguing but for the sake of resolution and mutual understanding, expressing to God how we feel about his involvement in our circumstances, and respectfully say, "May I appeal?" As we appeal to his past record, we would remind God (and ourselves) of all the times he has protected and delivered us in the past, and ask him to be faithful once again. As we appeal to his character, we would think about all the characteristics we know about God, and ask him to be true to his character in dealing with this situation. We would ask God to teach us what he wants us to learn through this trial and to help us know him better because of it. Then we would sit quietly, meditating on God's truths, waiting for him to make it clear what he desires from us. While we wait, hoping always for God's best, we would praise God and tell of all his wonderful deeds.