Friday, January 25, 2013

Wait for the Lord

In  my   last (first?) 2 posts  on  “Beginnings & Endings” I’ve said “I am not completely sure where this is going”. 

 I do have a general picture in my mind  and, by that  “hazy” map today was to be  Part 3  on the topic of  loss and our reaction to it.

But sometimes the Spirit  sets an idea before you and so  I’m  taking (as my friend Roger  calls it)  a “curbside stop” triggered by a posting in Facebook made by my cousin Wilma.

Wilma wrote the following 

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18. What is our part in all of this.  Just get rid of the facade (emphasis mine) as near as I can see. Is that David's secret? Before us and before God he railed and he praised, he cried and he sang - often, it seems, in the same breath. He threw off 'the veil'. To us he is known as 'the man after God's own heart'.

Recently , I read or heard  a statement caught my attention  because  it spoke to situations that I had been faced with during the  events I’ve mentioned in the “beginnings and endings” posts.
It went something like this (with my apologies because I can't remember the source)
So often Christians (think they) know the right words to say when faced with difficult times and the words  come out our mouths but in our hearts we are feeling something very different.

My response to Wilma’s post    affirms that it is more important to “speak from our heart” than it is to say   the “right” words (and to be clear I’m talking about expressing our own honest emotional response to our own pain or loss – NOT giving license to say the judgemental or selfish things that sometimes spring from our hearts when we are faced with someone else’s pain – cf. James 3:1-12).
I wrote

“Wednesday night we were sharing scripture, songs and prayer as we remembered two families who had lost loved ones on Tuesday and I made that same point using Psalm 27. God wants honesty from broken hearts not the right words from "righteous" people.

As I read Psalm 27,  I hear David proclaiming his trust in God while at the same time expressing fear that God will  abandon  him in his time of greatest need . 
 In the following  “adaption”  of Psalm 27,  I have substituted  some  more modern  “trials and battles” for the  “physical” enemies and “real” battles  that David wrote about. I pray that this substitution makes it more real to us today without hampering the honest genuine poetic expression of the wavering between fear and faith that I hear throughout the original Psalm and especially  in verses  4, 9 and 14. 

         Psalm 27 (ESV-Adapted)
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though problems overwhelm  me,
my heart shall not fear;
though turmoil surrounds  me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my  turmoil  and pain all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
10 For those closest to me have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my problems.
12 Give me not up to the agony of my hurts and pains;
even if  lies are told about me
and they cut into my heart.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
When we  are deeply wounded by the  realities of this life, when we are  hurt beyond imagination, when we  are heart broken,   we can (and need to)  be honest with God  about our fear and our pain and maybe even doubt that we will ever feel God’s love and grace again. We can do that   and still be confident -  as David was  that he would  (once again)“ look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”
Our call is to “Wait for the Lord to bring healing not to  pretend or try to “force”  it  by saying the right words.
If you are hurting or heart-broken today,  may God’s richest blessings touch you and shorten the wait  until your soul is restored (or has been reconciled)  and you are abiding in the joy, peace and comfort that only He can give
God Bless

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