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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pain Cloaked in Praise and Remembrance

I was reading through the Psalms this morning. I know the basic pattern of the Psalms, cry out and then worship, but it hit me differently this morning. Crying out gives validity to the pain - no pretending it isn't there or that it doesn't hurt. The Psalmist takes his brokenness to the only one who can see the situation from the perspective of eternity. Then, he reminds himself of the faithfulness and largeness of God and finds strength.

People all around me that I love have been hit with crisis - some small, some large - recently and my heart breaks for them. Psalm 77 caught my attention this morning. Every once in a while, I pray the Psalms. So I will pray it as I type it out and add my own words in parenthesis. Forgive me if some of them seem sassy. God understands me. Here goes . . .

I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might, I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens. (At times, so do my neighbors!)

I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord; my life was an open wound that wouldn't heal.

When friends said, "Everything will turn out all right," I didn't believe a word they said.

I remember God - and shake my head. I bow my head - then wring my hands. (I confess my wavering between faith and fear.)

I am awake all night - not a wind of sleep; I can't even say what is bothering me. (I rarely know what the real problem is.)

I go over the days one by one, I ponder the years gone by.

I strum my lute all through the night, wondering how to get my life together.

Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good? Will he never smile again? Is his love worn threadbare? Has his salvation promise burned out? Has God forgotten his manners? Has he angrily stalked off and left us?

"Just my luck," I said. "The High God goes out of business just the moment I need him."

Once again, I'll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I'll ponder all the things you've accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts.

Oh God! Your way is holy! No god is great like God! You're the God who makes things happen; you showed everyone what you can do - You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble, rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph. (I have seen you heal the sick and comfort the troubled. You have provided for me in abundance many times over.)

Ocean saw you in action, God, saw you and trembled with fear; Deep Ocean was scared to death. Clouds belched buckets of rain, Sky exploded with thunder, your arrows flashing this way and that. (You have the power to calm the storm and stop the rain. I have witnessed you breath a soft breeze into the air when I was hot and miserable and pause the wind when I needed to catch my breath.)

From Whirlwind came your thundering voice, Lightning exposed the world, Earth reeled and rocked. You strode right through Ocean, walked straight through roaring Ocean, but nobody saw you come or go. (Your power is so much bigger than I understand, your scope of understanding so far beyond my own.)

Hidden in the hands of Moses and Aaron, You led your people like a flock of sheep. (Thank you for providing me with shepherds who pray for me and support me. Thank you for being my ultimate shepherd.)