Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 44. (MsgB)
Get up, God! Are You going to sleep all day? Wake up! Don’t You care what happens to us? Why do You bury Your face in the pillow? Why pretend things are just fine with us?
And here we are—flat on our faces in the dirt, held down with a boot on our necks.
Get up and come to our rescue. If You love us so much, help us!
As a pastoral shepherd, working alongside hurting people who are going through troubling times, sometimes you get the very difficult assignment of trying to explain why a loving God allows such awful stuff to happen in the lives of those who love Him.
At times, quite honestly, it feels like you’re covering for a good friend who just left you out to dry!
You hem. You haw. You stutter. You pause. You look for a silver lining, but only find grey.
And, at the end of the conversation, you finally take a deep breath and say, “You know something here, my friend? I don’t know why all this crap is hitting the fan in your life. I wish I could explain it, but in all truthfulness, I can’t.”
And maybe that’s why I love Psalm 44 the way I do.
It starts out on a cheery note.
You’re my King, O God—command victories for Jacob!
With Your help we’ll wipe out our enemies, in Your name we’ll stomp them to dust.
I don’t trust in weapons; my sword won’t save me—
But it’s You, You who saved us from the enemy; You made those who hate us lose face.
All day we parade God’s praise—we thank You by name over and over.
But by the end, the sons of Korah, who composed this little ditty, are singing the blues; wondering where and when God took a left turn while they took a right.
And so it is with a Bible that is much more honest about God than any holy book should be!
What other religious books, for example, do you know that actually allows itself to get so gut honest about this God we’re all supposed to be serving? What other writings are out there that paint such an accurate picture of real life with a real God? Quite honestly, if I were going to write a book that was meant to encourage folks to follow me, I’d for sure hide the questionable stuff, gloss over the hard stuff, and ignore completely the unexplainable stuff, wouldn’t you?
But not the Bible.
Here, in our hands, is a reliable book about a reliable God who created us and loves us to pieces. And yet, it is also gut honest about the fact that there will be seasons of life down here on planet earth when nothing, absolutely nothing, will make sense. Times when no explanation satisfies. Times when no quick religious answer can adequately address the heavy-duty questions of life.
While, on one hand, I hate this about my God. That He would allow times when I feel so distant from Him that it seems like I’m forsaken. Yet, on the other hand, I truly appreciate His honesty. You see, down here on earth, we are all separated from heaven. Even on our best days, this is still not heaven. Never has been. Never will be. So, fasten your seat belts, folks, this is going to be a bumpy ride at times. And there will be, in our existence down here, seasons when it seems to us that God’s little red wagon has lost all its wheels.
And through it all, like the sons of Korah, we turn our eyes toward heaven and say, “Oy Vey, what’s the deal, God?” And that, quite honestly, works much better in God’s economy than some smooth-talking religious car-salesman approach that says you and I will never have any trouble with God’s automobile down here on this road called life.
So, like it or not. This is truth. There will be times in this life, when the best thing you and I can do is sit down with the sons of Korah (Psalm 44) and sing a chorus or two of the blues to God. Anybody care to join me?
“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, trouble I’ve seen…”
My prayer: God, this just ain’t fair, is it? I don’t like the fact that it seems as though You’ve held me hostage, leaving me to make it through my problems while you sleep on a soft pillow in heaven. I choose to believe today, Lord, that while I feel this way, there might be a deeper truth that You have for me as I sing my blues toward heaven. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: The temptation when I feel alone and deserted by God is to reject Him and go on my own way, attempting to fix my problems on my own. What might it look like to fully accept my feelings of rejection as being real, but still believe in a deeper truth from the Scriptures that tell me my God will never leave me or forsake me, even though it doesn’t feel like that at all?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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