For a time, I worked as a Christian film critic. That’s right, a critic of Christian films. Selah.
100% of the feedback I got from my editor was that my reviews were too negative, pointing out glaring plot holes and places where the story, dialogue, set design, overall reason for being made (besides the ever-reliable homeschooling parent’s money), didn’t make any sense.
One film outright changed scripture to censor inappropriate themes. An entire book about a prophet and his prostitute wife was reduced to a prophet and his wife, who meant well but had seductive eyes.
“Positive reviews boost sales, Arvin. Tell us what you loved about the movie.” And you know what, my editor was right. If you want someone to buy your product, positive reviews are a big help.
And then I open up to the Psalms, where time and time again, David declares God has forgotten him. Psalms 13, 22, 42, 77 and so many more seem to call God out for being unfaithful.
I wonder if God and David had the same conversation I had with my editor.
“Look, bro, I’m trying to put together a book about me. Your stuff is supposed to be right in the middle. But can you please lay off on the stuff about me forgetting and forsaking you? It doesn’t bode well.”
Positive reviews boost sales, David. Tell us what you love about God.
But God seems to have phoned it in when it came to reviewing David’s work before the final drafts were approved. Either that or…
he wanted that stuff in there? David’s thoughts about feeling forgotten and lonely, surrounded by certain failure and the end of every dream God had engendered are recorded on purpose?
Well, perhaps God was cool with it because he wanted to use David as an example of what one shouldn’t do?
Acts 13:22. “I find David to be a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.”
“Everything” includes writing about how he feels forgotten and forsaken, lonely and sure to lose unless God rescues him.
I’ve wasted a lot of time feeling guilty over feeling forgotten.
When I lost jobs I never should have had in the first place (Christian film critic, for example), or realized relationships I’d poured all of myself into were actually butchered with holes, or when projects I started and worked at tirelessly were cancelled because someone somewhere decided they didn’t believe in me, I blamed myself.
If you really were who you tell everyone you are, you wouldn’t feel forgotten and forsaken. You must be forgettable. You must be forsakable.
But if you keep reading, the Psalms that start out with David feeling forgotten tend to end with another affirmation of God’s unfailing love.
The journey to God’s heart may be narrow, but that’s probably because that’s all it needs to be. It’s so much less travelled than flights to fame and attention, who always seem delayed and overbooked. Flying private always seems to cost you more.
Highways and side streets can often be busy and loaded with traffic.
But if you make your way to an airport, you’ll notice there aren’t any coffee shops or billboards next to runways. If you didn’t know better, you’d think a compound made of basic buildings, giant fields, and barbed-wire fences was a prison.
And if you don’t know better, you might mistake feeling forsaken with being forsakable.
You might see others’ lives operating like the 405 or 101—packed tight with people and attention and advertising dollars—and think your giant, empty field of a life, with no traffic or billboards, wasn’t intended to do anything great.
You might feel like your obscurity is evidence that you belong in the prison you’ve interpreted your life to be.
If God was intentional in leaving David’s feelings in the Psalms, he may simply be disguising his runway in your life as a prison other people avoid.
I’m asking you to be encouraged. Pay attention to the second half of those Psalms. The fact that you’re the only one on your plane or walking through your plain doesn’t mean you’re not going somewhere worthwhile.