It’s no fun to experience “taunts” … ask any child who has been the object of mean comments on the playground! “Harassment” of all kinds is inappropriate, unfair, and destructive! Over time It can lead to compromise, uncharacteristic behaviors, or worse! The taunts Christians face are no different! New believers experience snickers, mean jokes, snide remarks, ostracism, and sometimes outright persecution. And it’s no different for someone who has been a believer for a long while and simply seeks to courageously live out and share their faith.
I read about it this morning during “coffee with the Lord”… (Psalm 42-43 which many Bible scholars believe the two psalms ought to be read together)
“As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God!’” (It’ repeated twice in this passage – 42:3, 10)
And all of this can lead to spiritual drift… to straying from the faith… and finally even to backsliding! Tragically the sweet awareness of the presence of God, once enjoyed, is forfeited and lost.
And after drift comes “nostalgia” … Remembering better days… remembering what it was like when God was very real and His presence potent and present…
“My tears have been my food day and night while ‘they’ (the ‘taunters’) say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul: How I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise – a multitude keeping festival.’” (42:3-4)
And hopefully all of that leads to a renewed longing for God’s presence…
“As a dear pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God! My soul thirsts for God – for the Living God!” (42:1-2)
And that longing for the way it once was – for renewed, sweet, fellowship with God – ought to end up expressing itself in a good, straightforward, session of self-talk (even in front of a mirror, looking yourself right in the eye if necessary)…
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God! I shall again praise Him, my Salvation and my God! (Pretty important idea – repeated three times in the two chapters – 42:5, 11 and 43:5)
The result of doing this? A renewed awareness of the sweet presence of God – even in the face of the “taunts!” “By day the Lord commands His steadfast love, and at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life! … Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God – to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God!”
Good medicine for harassed (sometimes drifting or straying) Christians, methinks!