*Hilary was living at home with three small children. Her husband had just been made redundant and she worked shifts as a carer. The house they were living in was privately rented and had severe damp problems affecting the family’s health. The landlord had been making excuses for two years now and it had got to the point that it dominated Hilary’s mind. When she went to church, Hilary found it almost impossible to join in the praise when everybody else seemed so happy. Hilary kept asking herself, ‘Does God really want me to suffer in silence?’
One third of all psalms are laments, that tell the Lord about a difficult situation, ask him for help and praise him for help. In times of difficulty God can seem remote. In Psalm 10 David says, ‘Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?’ v1 David describes the motivations of oppressors. They reject God,vv4,11 are arrogant and fixed on their own evil schemes,v2 boastful and greedy, v3 and despising of their enemies and the poor. ‘As for all his foes, he puffs at them.’v5
The oppressor’s actions betray him. He seeks to exploit the weak, laying traps for them,v8 always watching out for new victims, ‘He lurks that he may seize the poor,’v9 The consequence is, ‘the helpless are crushed.’v10 He then boasts to himself, ‘God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.’v11 We can see from Psalm 10 such oppression is not limited to individuals such as Hilary’s landlord but applies to many organisations, political parties, businesses and even countries.
No wonder then that David cries, ‘Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;’ and ‘Break the arm of the wicked evil doer.’vv12,15 But, ‘God is not deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.’Galatians6.7 In the end David’s final trust is in God’s eternal kingship and his desire to hear the afflicted, strengthen them, do justice and grant them peace.vv17,18
Does then God want us to suffer in silence? Definitely not, he wants to hear us in our troubles and church should be a safe place for us to say it out loud.
*Hilary is a representative figure.