11 You gave us up to be devoured like sheep
and have scattered us among the nations.
12 You sold your people for a pittance,
gaining nothing from their sale.
13 You have made us a reproach to our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
14 You have made us a byword among the nations;
the peoples shake their heads at us.
15 I live in disgrace all day long,
and my face is covered with shame
16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,
because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.
17 All this came upon us,
though we had not forgotten you;
we had not been false to your covenant.
18 Our hearts had not turned back;
our feet had not strayed from your path.
19 But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals;
you covered us over with deep darkness.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God have discovered it,
since he knows the secrets of the heart?
22 Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
23 Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
24 Why do you hide your face
and forget our misery and oppression?
25 We are brought down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
26 Rise up and help us;
rescue us because of your unfailing love.
Psalm 44: 11-26
These objections about suffering that skeptics make to religious thinking are themselves part of religious thinking; rather than being swept under the rug of a seamless discourse, they are the very motor of that discourse, impelling the conflicted questioning of theologians and poets (not to mention Jesus who cried, ‘my God my God why have you forsaken me?’ And every verse of the book of Job).
The liturgical practice of the church tends to make use of only the positive and nice Psalms that support the churches rather polite interpretation of scripture and reality… This is an odd inclination for passionate Bible users, given the large number of Psalms that are songs of lament, protest, and complaint about the incoherence that is experienced in the world.
The church that goes on singing happy songs in the face of reality is doing something very different from what the Bible actually does.