Monthly Archives: February 2017

psalm 22 (pt. 3)

psalm-22-pt3
Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet — I can count all my bones — they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
(v. 12-18)
I don’t know if you’ve ever been encompassed by many bulls, but I have been surrounded by many chickens before and it was terrifying. Like, straight up panic-attack-sprint-back-to-the-house-scared. And I don’t sprint for many things. So I feel like I can relate to David on a deeper level here.
But for serious.
I love that David was able to put words to his distress. That he was able to be raw and honest with himself and his Creator; that he trusted God enough to come undone.
Too often I think we (at least, I do) shove all of the hard stuff down. When we start to realize that trouble is near and there is none to help (v. 11), we draw back instead of stepping forward. We say things like, “Oh, yeah, ya know, this season is a little tough right now, but I’ll be okay. It’s not that big of a deal.” Or, “Well, there are people all over the world with worse problems than me. I’ll be fine. We don’t need to talk about it.”
The danger comes when we approach God with that demeanor.
“Hey Lord, yeah, I’m doin fine. Thanks for waking me up this morning and giving us Chick-Fil-A. Everything else is fine. I just need to keep my head down and work through this season and everything will be great.”
I think we rob ourselves of redemption and restoration when we do that.
When we put on the front that life isn’t really that hard and we don’t need anyone – including God Himself – we are missing the chance to be cared for and loved by the only true Lover of our souls.
I love that David sets the tone – that we have the freedom to say, “You know what God, I am dried up and poured out. My heart feels like wax and I don’t know how to move forward. There is nothing and no one that can save me. I need You to show up or I’m going to die.”
What beauty that when we are hanging on by a thread, we are in the best position we could ever be – trusting in the One who fully saves and redeems, and always comes through.
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holy ground

holy-ground

There’s something holy and sacred about being asked to hold part of someone else’s story. Whether it is being asked to pray for a certain situation or relationship, or having someone share wonderful, life changing news, there is so much beauty in being invited in to another’s life.

Having experienced this invitation, I feel terribly inadequate in carrying the title of “friend” in other’s lives. To be honored in such a way that a person trusts me with their story – man…I just don’t know that I have the words.

I can’t just ignore it – I’m standing on holy ground. I’ve been invited into sacred space with another image bearer of the Most High God.

It’s really easy for me to sit in a day like today – Valentine’s Day – when my social media feed is flooded with posts of husbands and wives doting over one another and girls posting all about how their boyfriend is the best boyfriend in the whole-wide-world*, and feel oh so sorry for myself. To look at what they have and get really lonely, dwelling on what I don’t. Longing for someone to share a BOGO at Qdoba with, just because we kissed each other.

It’s easy to forget what I do have – to let the singular voice of ‘not-yet-married’ drown out the many voices of ‘you-are-so-loved.’

What I do have is this: people that invite me into their lives in ways that I don’t even have language to express. People that weep with me. People that rejoice with me. People that allow me rejoice with them; not only allow me, but ask me to! Man! What a freaking honor!!

It’s like they are eating their most favorite dish in the entire world and, without hesitation, they slide their plate over to me with the last bite on the fork and say, “Here, I want you to have this. I want you to share in the joy that is mine.”

I think too often we blow past the sacred space others invite us in to because we are afraid of what it calls us to. We are afraid that we’ll have to do something with it. And, guess what, we will. We’ll be called to open up our own lives, which risks hurt and heartache.

It’s much easier to keep people at a distance, never admitting our need for one another. But it’s also much less beautiful.

I would rather walk away from a conversation, my heart bursting with joy and love and, well, holiness I think, than never know the depth of connection I can have with another person.

The risk is worth it.
The friends are worth it.
The sacred connection we get to experience is worth it.
Every. Time.

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I’m not going to be sad or bummed or lonely because I’m single.
Instead, I’m going to be ever so grateful for the ways in which God fills the sacred space in my heart – with Himself and with those that allow me to call them friend.

*can we talk about this for a second? Not everyone can have the best boyfriend in the entire world. They don’t all tie for first place. Some of them are kinda crappy.

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psalm 22 (pt.2)

psalm-22-pt2

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let Him deliver him; let Him rescue him, for he delights in Him!”
Yet you are He who took me from the womb; You made me trust You at my mother’s breasts.
On You was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb You have been my God.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.

v. 6-11

[SO MANY PRONOUNS!]

For Christmas I received Tim Keller’s The Songs of Jesus. I highly recommend it. I mean, highly.

It just so happened that the last few days of the readings are lining up with psalm 22.

In my first pass at this psalm, last week, as I read the entire thing I couldn’t help but think of Jesus. I couldn’t help but see David’s words being reflective of what Jesus went through, even though David was writing them many a years prior to Christ’s sufferings.

This morning, as I caught up on the past couple days with Keller, he noted that this psalm in particular is a look inside what Jesus may have been feeling emotionally. That we may see a glimpse of his heart in suffering on our behalf as David writes out his words in the 31 verses of this psalm.

Now, before you scream, “Heretic!” at me, please know that I am fully aware that David was a man and Jesus is, well, Jesus. Fully God and fully human. One, a man full of sin and rebellion toward a holy, loving, righteous God. The other, Savior of mankind. Righteousness Himself.
I understand that Jesus is unable to sin.

But I also understand that Jesus was able to feel – because, well, he was fully human.

And us humans are good at the feelings.

As I read the 6 verses highlighted above, I can’t help but feel alongside David this tension of, “What the heck is happening to me? Aren’t You supposed to rescue me?” vs. “You are holy. You have not changed. You have brought me into Yourself and You will be near. You are my helper.”

Man. What a place to be.
What a God to allow us to wag our finger in doubt and questioning.
What a God to draw us in, to make us trust in Him.

When there is none to help, He is there.
When those around me mock me, He lifts my head.
When I am despised by people, I am called His beloved.

What a beautiful picture of the already-not-yet we have in these few verses. And what a wonderful God we are drawn into, that we are allowed to see a glimpse of His agony on our behalf and in that, can see the great love with which He has loved us!

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psalm 22 (pt.1)

psalm-22-pt1

I typically read through/write about an entire psalm, but this week I just can’t even you guys. There’s some stuff I need to sit with.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted; the trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

v.1-5

Why have You forsaken me?
Why have You not relieved me from this pain?
Do you even hear me?
Do you even care?

I ask God questions like this quite a bit. And I’m comforted to know I’m not the only one. Even the man they say was THE MAN after God’s own heart (that’s David, btw) questioned God.

He doubted for a hot second.
He wondered if God really was THE GOD He says He is.

I don’t get it.
I don’t fully understand how it can often feel as if God just doesn’t give a rip about my groaning. That I continually cry out and find no relief from the Great Healer.

It seems as if rest is illusive and the Lord is somehow using hard seasons of life to teach me some mean lesson.

If I were God, I would have given me what I wanted by now, because dangit I deserve it! I’ve been through enough! I’ve learned my lesson!

But then….

I am reminded that He has not changed.
He has not moved.
He is still holy and enthroned on high.

He has delivered those that have trusted in Him.

I’m so thankful the True God that loves me allows me to doubt Him for a hot second. That He welcomes the why-have-you-forsaken-me’s and the why-are-you-so-far’s.

So that’s what I’m going to sit with tonight.

I’m going to bang on His door and let myself in.
I’m going to have a chat with Him about the state of my heart.
But while I’m doing it, I’m going to remember that He is still God, He is still good, and He still loves me.

That the gift of redemption and complete restoration through Jesus Christ is still mine.

 

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