Who am I before God?

Today I had the honor and gift of being able to sit in the comfort of my home while listening to some awesome Bible preaching and teaching.  My Church set up the Resurgence Conference for free online streaming.  I was giddy this morning for what I would learn.  I was overwhelmed at the sight of so many Jesus loving individuals packed into my church …singing ….praying ….learning …living …and worshipping together.  It was an awesome sight to see the pews packed.  It actually brought tears to my eyes …because I want to see that every Sunday.  And today was a Tuesday.  A day generally not packed full of church goers.  I was in awe of my God blessing me with a sight I always want to see.  It truly was amazing!

What I took away from today amazes me more.  It isn’t something I have really thought of.  All the Pastors who spoke today touched on it spoke into this feeling inside of me, but it was brought home by Pastor Greg Laurie.  Is who I am when I am all alone with God the same person I am when I am around others?  The answer is no.  I am not the same person I am around my family that I am around my Community Group.  I am not the same person I am around my Community Group that I am every Sunday at my Church.  I am not any of those people when I am with only my husband.  And I am still not that person in any of those situations then when I am alone with just God.  I’m just not.  Oh sure I could give you a list of reasons and excuses to “sanatize” my choices.  But I am not going to.

As Pastor Crawford Loritts spoke of today I need to move away from that dissection and set my feet to the path of what I am going to do about it.  How can the awesome and redeeming power of the Gospel shine it’s light through me if I keep putting Yahweh’s lamp beneath a bucket?  So I am going to start with today.  By God’s sense of time this is the beginning of my Wednesday.  And I was blessed with spending the beginning of my Wednesday listening to the teaching and preaching of my Pastor Mark and Pastor Crawford a second time through with my husband.  It was a good start to my day and I find myself at peace with what the dawn will bring me.  And trust me when I say that very rarely is the case.

So who am I when I am alone with God?  At first I thought it was that I am more confident when I am alone with God than when I am around other people.  Because I often feel a mile behind everyone else, completely out of place, and the only platypus among a flock of swans.  I’m not even the same species.  So as I allowed myself to sink into this self-professed confidence before the LORD I quickly come to realize I am not all that confident.  I question myself before and around others, and even when it is just me and no one else can witness my pride …it isn’t displayed in confidence.  It is displayed in second guessing myself, doubting myself, condemning myself, beating myself up …and staying completely focused on myself rather than focusing on the very real and obvious fact that I am an infant in my faith before a timeless LORD who knew all of my sin before He laid the foundations of the world.  That’s intimidating.  It is also so completely loving and humbling that He went ahead and made me anyway just the way I am.  I can’t really wrap my mind around it.

If the last paragraph didn’t give the answer away I’ll say it plainly.  When I am alone before God I am a mess.  I realize that in most of my online social media stuffs that I am involved with I always mention that I am broken, but I don’t think I act that part out.  I keep it hidden because it makes me vulnerable and real and imperfect.  Granted I know everyone knows I am not perfect …but this is a whole other level of imperfection.  I am broken because I am a sinner …yes …but the shattered pieces of me go much deeper than what I allow anyone to really see on any sort of consistent level.  I know we are all broken from the start, when we are being knit in our mother’s womb.  I know that, and I don’t want to try and play the ‘who is more broken’ game with anyone.  I am just saying, and letting you know that my soul … my very core …is shattered to countless pieces in Jesus’ dust pan.  I know I have only allowed Him the briefest moments of times to begin gluing my pieces back together.  I know that every day that passes more of His glue will bind me together with the stickiness of the Holy Ghost.  Just run with that analogy, bypass its flaws.

I am in pain.  In an obvious way physically.  I have told some about the constant level and degree of pain that I live in.  When doctors ask about a pain level between 1 and 10 …I live normally at a 7.  When I sleep it jumps up to an 8 due to the fact I am asleep.  So generally I don’t sleep well.  It isn’t restive.  Every moment of every day I am in pain.  It isn’t a discomfort.  It isn’t bothersome or annoying.  It isn’t mild.  It is burning, stabbing, real pain.  And if you look at me it is doubtful you will see that pain.  It might show up briefly in a wince, but generally people don’t realize how much I hurt.  I don’t want you to know.  I go to great, exhaustive lengths so you don’t know.  I hurt.  All the time.  Even when I am smiling, laughing, singing, and lifting my hands to worship LORD …I am in pain.

The fact I am in pain is not the problem.  It is just how can you see the redeeming power of God for this pain, through this pain, and because of this pain … if you don’t even know I am in pain in the first place?  Hiding this thorn isn’t allowing the light of the Gospel to shine through those gaps and cracks.  Don’t worry I am not about to start whining around everyone, nor am I going to constantly complain.  I just know I need to start exploring the ways of shining the light of Christ through the lens of this agony rather than covering it up.  I know I will need to pray about this a lot, and actually talk with the LORD about this …rather than just at Him because of it.  He had the solution in an eternity before today.

My physical pain was the easy answer.  It is the low hanging fruit.  A piece higher up has to do with intimacy.  Oh I tell people I suck at it because I have absolutely no idea what it looks like and I have never really had living examples of it around me.  The part that people don’t know is that I still have PTSD.  The LORD has redeemed some shallower areas of this, but I haven’t really begun to explore the deeper side of the PTSD pool.  I’ll hug people hello, because that is a greeting.  But a strange man, or a man I am only acquainted with, better not come up to me and touch my arm.  If that happens no one will know it…..but inside I am freaking out.  And it doesn’t always have to be a man.  Touch, in general, I am not very good at.  Being married has exposed this problem in so many ways.

It is so obvious when it is between me and God that when I go out of town with my mom …and we share a bed to sleep in …I will sleep on the edge, corner of that bed so as not to touch her in my sleep.  I get on the verge of anxiety attacks if while we are laying there and the outsides of our arms touch very lightly.  Comfort be damned.  And that’s my mom.  I don’t think anyone realizes that every Sunday at my Church is a miracle of God because if it were any other space, any other place, I would be uncomfortable and looking for my way out.  And I would never go back, much less volunteer eagerly and willingly to associate with random people.  Every Sunday is a miracle in my bucket sheltered world that I can go to Church for hours, being around strangers, and feel at ease and protected while I am in God’s house.  I am in God’s house with God’s people enjoying God’s company learning God’s word.  If you take God out of that I would never go back a second time.  Trust me on this.  But how would you know this.  How can I portray that in a way that isn’t all about me, but about all of His light shining through those shattered parts of me?  And I don’t have an answer for that.  I will pray about that.  I know the LORD has the answer already.

So I am in physical pain, in PTSD to the point where I close my eyes if a commercial or image comes up involving tidy whites.  What else?  I hunger for His word, I hear His commanding voice, and I tend to ignore Him.  I won’t do this in front of others.  Before others I keep up appearances.  I listen to God, I do what He tells me to do, and I portray a somewhat sedated, rebellious, obedience.  Before other’s I choose Him.  But when it is just me and God hanging out …most of the time I will choose myself.  When I am alone with God I sit there in complete disbelief …confused …horrified shocked awe …at how shattered I have become.  I am overwhelmed by my mess.  I am at a loss over the loss the LORD and I look at in the parts of me that have become nothing more than a fine powder …dust.  And yeah, some of that is my sin …but some of that is just bits of me.  Bits of me I lost.  Core elements of me that just don’t work any more ….and so I don’t know how to function as me any more.  I know that the LORD has it all and that I am a new creation …but how does that new created me work, function, and exist?

I sometimes think I knew the answer, or answers, so I try to forge ahead.  And as a lot of my friends have babies and toddlers …my actions remind me of the baby who tries to craw for the first time…but still can’t figure out how to get their knees beneath them.  I would like to say I am a toddler learning how to run …but more often than not I am the babe who still needs to learn how to support and control my own head.  Because I don’t do that very well.  I don’t take every thought captive to the LORD.  I don’t pray on my knees as often as I should.  I don’t read my Bible as often as I should.  I don’t focus on all things that are true, good, and holy from the LORD.  I fill my head with crap, false gospels preached in TV series, or movies, or games, or books, or ect….and if I don’t control my head how can I possibly guard my heart?

Before God I am broken.  The puppet strings of the world have been cut …but that is still the habitual way, the normative way, I know how to move.  I exist beside the LORD looking at the shattered mess of me in horror ….and I don’t know what to do.  I know Jesus is where I need to start.  Jesus is my start, my middle, my end, my energy, my reason, my salvation, my joy, my motivation, my prize, my portion, and my support.  Just to name a few.  Before others I know I put on the front and face of this is who I am, this is my personality, this is where I am from, and this is what I do.  When it is just God and me …I feel less defined and more like a blob.  I am undefined as I set myself to the task of knowing deep in my core …in the spaces inbetween all the shattered pieces of me …who the LORD says I am and how He defines me.  I am learning those truths in the Bible, in the teaching of the Gospel, in the testimonies of the people around me …and I know it is true in my head.  I need it to sink and cement itself in the empty spaces between the pieces of me.  I need to sit, and think on it.  I need to take the time to sit with Jesus at His feet to chew on His words.

I don’t know if any of this makes any sense.  I hope I’m not writing in circles, because I am good at that.  I just wanted to get these thoughts down.  Because good men of God spoke into my life today.  The LORD spoke to me through them.  He made me who I am before Him …and I need to allow His glory, His light, His redemptive power, and His grace to shine through my mess.  He doesn’t want me to sweep it all under a rug or the bucket just because others come around.  That doesn’t glorify God.  It glorifies me.  I’m broken.  I’m a mess.  Jesus is the neat and perfect one.  And only Yahweh can shine light through the murkiness of His followers.  It doesn’t make logical sense.  It seems foolish and folly.  But the world in its wisdom does not know God.  We can’t shine a light through dirt and murkiness.  That is a miracle.  Only the power of the LORD can do that.  Because He is that awesome.  And only HE is that good!

Advertisements

Eternal Manna

Last night I was feeling the tempting, and sinful pull of my various distractions.  I was feeling frustrated and despondent.  I wanted to sleep, but I knew I wouldn’t.  I didn’t want to take a sleeping pill.  I want to get out of the rut of depending on sleeping pills to sleep.  So my mind was coming up with all sorts of ways to ‘pass the time’ until I felt tired.  The passing of time is mostly just me escaping my life until my life is suitable and agreeable again … i.e. until I can go to sleep.  In the middle of one of my distractions I wasn’t feeling any better, any more sleepy and tired.  So I closed my eyes and prayed for help.  And in that moment I realized I just wanted Jesus.  So I went to the book of John and began to read.  Jesus helped soothe my mind by chapter 5 and I slept beautifully, soundly.

So when I got up this morning I felt well rested.  Rather than get up immediately I just spent some time talking with God.  I opened up the book of John to read chapter 6.  There is a section in this chapter that I have always struggled with.  So I can easily imagine the struggles the people who heard Jesus say these things had.  But as I read the passage this morning the Holy Spirit opened my heart and my mind … and I finally got it.  I finally understood what Jesus was saying.  So I want to write it down, to remember.  Who knows, it might help others who have struggled with this same passage.  Or you could completely disagree with me and the Holy Spirit can be working some other thoughts in your heart and mind.  Either way, considering the words of Jesus is never time ill spent.  So here is the handful of verses in John 6:25-59

                “When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”

Jesus answered them. “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.  For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of god?”

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?  Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world

They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believe in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”  They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

Jesus answered hem, “Do not grumble among yourselves.  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.  And I will raise him up on the last day.  It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’  Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.  I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man gives us his flesh to eat?”

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died.  Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Now I did not grow up as a devote Jew, but I still know that cannibalism is bad.  But the crowd of Jewish people who heard this had Scripture to guide them.  There are several places in the Old Testament where God gives commands not do eat the flesh of man.  God also gives a command never to eat meat that still has life’s blood in it.  That’s not to say we can’t eat rare steaks.  But we can’t eat meat that still has living blood in it, like eating the meat off of a living animal.  The Lord expressly forbids the drinking of blood, or the consumption of life’s blood in any way.  So if I, a dumb gentile, has stumbled through this teaching of Jesus …how much more did the Jews there stumble?  The disciples themselves say that this is a hard word to understand.

Then the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the beginning of John’s book.  John calls Jesus the Word of God.  Jesus is the living, breathing, incarnate Word of God.  Jesus himself says the only reason He lives is because of the Father.  Jesus emphatically and repeatedly says He is here to do the will of the Father.  His actions, His words, and His life are nothing more than the reflected will of God.  Which brings me back to Genesis, where the Lord says we are created in His image, to be His image bearers.  God the Father does not have a human form or body.  He is wholly spirit.  And if Jesus perfectly reflects that, He is not teaching about flesh and worldly things.  He is teaching about spirit things.

So how, and why, do I spiritually feed on Jesus’ flesh?  Jesus knew He was going to go to the cross.  He knew he would be beaten, scourged, and crucified.  His body, His flesh, would atone for every sin that everything and everyone has ever committed against God since the beginning of time until the end of time.  John the baptizer calls Jesus God’s atoning Lamb.  Jesus is a burnt offering to the LORD.  The perfect sacrifice.  Jesus repeatedly says this is the reason He came.  This is the very reason for His flesh.  This is the very reason He took on human form.  The only reason Jesus needed to have flesh for us to feast on is to atone for our trespasses.  So when he taught, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”  He was not telling me to actually eat his flesh, He was telling me to spiritually feast on the only reason He had flesh.  I am to spiritually consume, daily, His perfect atoning sacrifice on the cross.  I will get to why I know He tells me to do this daily in a moment.  I want to talk through the drinking of His blood.

The Old Testament was taught to the Jews from birth.  They knew that the Lord required blood as the payment of sin.  God said in the garden of Eden that sin would lead to death.  And God repeatedly teaches that life is in the blood.  So the only way to cover the death created by our sin is to cover it in life, to cover it with blood.  The life in the blood would wash away the stain of death.  And as I mentioned above Jesus is the perfect, sinless, spotless sacrifice.  Therefore His blood is perfect and everlasting.  Jesus calls himself the living sacrifice, which means He lives through His sacrifice.  His blood will never stop flowing, because only death can stop blood from flowing.  Jesus’ blood covers my sin.  I must continually wash myself with His blood.  The body of Christ covers my body on the outside, my flesh, in His righteousness.  The blood of Christ covers me inside, for my own blood is inside me.  His skin is my skin.  His blood is my blood.  I cannot live without either my skin or my blood.  I cannot hope to live eternally without Jesus’ skin and Jesus’ blood.

So why daily?  Because Jesus teaches me this by comparing Himself to manna.  When God brought Israel out of the land of Egypt, across the Red Sea, they had no food to eat.  They feared they would starve to death.  So they cried out to the Lord and God provided.  God gives them manna from heaven.  It dusts everything around them.  The Jews were to gather it to make bread.  Good commands them to only gather as much as they need for the day.  When a few of the Jews try to gather more than what they needed that day …the manna rotted.  God was teaching the Jews how to depend on Him daily for the very basic necessity of food.  The Lord will provide.  Yet all those Jews who ate this life giving bread in the wilderness still died.  None of them are still walking around today.  That’s because the manna was a gift of bread and life.  It was not an everlasting gift of bread that would lead to an everlasting gift of life.  Manna would rot after only a day.  The Jews could not depend on manna to live.  They needed to depend on the LORD.

That is why Jesus taught, “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died.  Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Manna was never living.  It was a powder like substance that could be molded by human hands and turned into bread.  Eternal things are of God.  We cannot create eternal things.  We cannot alter, mold, or shape eternal things.  We are not little gods.  Jesus is saying that the Father is living, eternal, undying.  Jesus lives as the Father lives because the Father is in Him and He is in the Father.  Jesus is eternal.  Jesus died, but He did not stay dead.  That is why we do not know where He was buried.  Jesus isn’t there any more.  Jesus is the true manna from heaven, the ever living, ever eternal manna.  And just as the Jews at the manna to live in the wilderness … I must daily consume Jesus’ atonement for me in the wilderness of this world.

I know this might be a ‘no duh’ moment for some of you.  While these are things I have known, I have never really connected them to this very hard word.  I couldn’t see past the cannibalism I thought Jesus was calling these people to do.  This was one of those passages where I thought Jesus to be a little mean by giving such a hard word to the people.  But these were supposed to be godly Jews, who went to Synagogue every week.  They were to memorize the Old Testament.  These should have been things they knew.  They just didn’t have proper teachers.  Then there is the fact that Jesus is the perfect teacher.  He does not wish me to be a parrot of facts.  He does not want me to simply remember that  1+1 = 2.   He wants me to know why, and how that addition works so that I can apply the same idea to  2+2 to come up with the answer of 4.

So this was my ah-ha moment.  I no longer stumble over this piece of Scripture.  For that I am eternally grateful that the Holy Spirit took the time to teach me this morning.  And I find myself content, and at peace.  In this moment I feel completely loved by the LORD (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost).  And I am so grateful that They take the time to come spend a morning with me for a little Bible study.  I am no one doing nothing in the middle of nowhere.  But to God I am His daughter, and Jesus has time for all His children, and there is never a place the Holy Spirit cannot go or find.  Which makes me perfectly special to the LORD.  And that is a miracle I would like to never get over.

My LORD, my Master

I’ve sold myself to people – men and women – for a fleshly price

I’ve sold myself to ideas – for the cost of acceptance

I’ve sold myself for pleasure; I’ve sold myself for pain

I set my purchase price, I picked my owners, I determined the time

I sought, I found, I decided

But not with You

You thought of me before I existed

You sought me – the first time that’s ever happened for me

You bought me two thousand years ago

When You suffered I was in Your heart

From the first drop of blood You branded me YOUR possession

I am not Your convert, I am not Your servant

You purchased me with Your suffering

Just as Paul is, just as James is, I am Your slave

You are my Master

I get that now

You alone are worthy of my worship, and abject adoration

I am on my knees, fall on my face, because You bought me with Your love through Your blood

I don’t worship You for heaven

If hell must be my head – I will still worship You

Because YOU alone are worthy my LORD0

And my heart aches with Your awesomeness and glory

My mind reels with the purchased price

I am Your reward, Your treasure, because YOU wanted me

In You I can stand, but because of You I am on my knees

I love You seems so pale and faded, but YOU can make it great bright and brilliant

My LORD, my Savior, My God

Never cease seeking me, I beg of you, and I will try not to stray

Just call my knee, and give me the strength I plead to always answer

“Here I am”

My personal Psalm

In the dark I have withered

Unknowingly lost I have wasted away

I did not know I was blind as I feasted on Gahanna

Unafraid I lived boldly against you

Unchecked, I challenged Your people, and threw down the weak

As a worm ridden guide I led many down my rut into Your justified, wrathful fire

I’d shamefully claim ignorance, but I knew of You from a young age

I deserved Your hell richly, and I spat in Your face as I drove the nails in

In horror I shudder to think of the piddlily amount I would have taken, 30 would seem like so much

But You would not settle for my rebellion

My denials fell on open ears as You came near

I flinch to think of how many scars on Your heart belong to my teeth and nails as You drew me into Your arms

In my wretched terror You whispered three words to me

“You are mine”

In a moment You shattered me like a long forgotten window beneath a wrecking ball

And then everything changed . . .

 

For the first time I opened my eyes and saw the brilliant promises of Your rainbow

With the eyes of a babe I looked on the cross and wept tears drawn up through my soul

And You did not leave me

Instead you picked up my broken body from the sludge of my debauchery

You carried me from the dark as my muscles were non-existent as I had never used them before

Not even to inch my way from my own cancerous slime

You washed the feet of Your disciples but You bathed all of me with Your tears through Your blood

Each day You mend my destruction, teaching me how myself truly works

Like an infant I am unable to walk, though You are teaching me first to crawl

Through each breath You teach me to depend on You – even when I attempt to crawl away to temptation

But You do not leave me

Your Spirit richly plagues me to thirst after Your word, which strengthens me day by day

I think I might stand one day, but Your unimaginable love keeps me on my knees

Despite these words and my heart I know I will still fall

I will still wander and stray

But You do not leave me

The depth of worldly loss is wholly known to me, but the ocean of ALL I gain in YOU LORD still finds me in the shallows

I am in no hurry to get to the deep end

For every drop of Your all-consuming water drenches me in cherished love for You

I know I will still lean toward the beach

But You do not leave me

My toes feel an edge beneath me and before me

I fear an abyss I know does not exist in the ocean of Your love

Despite the fear of the path You put me on You still do not leave me

So in You LORD is my hope

You are my redemption

You slay all my monsters and free me from my demons

You show me a new mirror to see myself in

You bathe me in a new love to exist inside

As each new fear arises through every beat of my heart You take it away and replace it with peace

So in You I hope, in You I rejoice, in You I sing, in You I dance, in You I worship, in You I kneel, in You I pray, in You I fall on my face

In You I am shielded and clothed before You

“Thank You” are the only small words I have, but You know my heart

And You still do not leave me

Thank you for loving all of me, for never giving up on me, for calling me

Daughter

I love you, so much

Abba, Father

Heavenly Daddy

Amen

Thirsting

Psalm 42
Yearning for God in the Midst of Distresses
(1)”As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
(2) My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
(3) My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
‘Where is your God?’
(4) When I remember these things
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
(5) Why are you cast down, O my Soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
(6) O my God, my soul is cast down within me,
Therefore I will remember You from the land of Jordan,
And from the heights of Hermon
From the Hill Mizar.
(7) Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
(8) The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.
(9) I will say to God my Rock,
‘Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’
(10) As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
‘Where is your God?’
(11) Why are you cast down, O my Soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
Today’s mediation from Our Daily Bread is about this Psalm. Which is an amazing piece of work if you look and take it deep inside you. It is, obviously, a psalm of thirsting for the Lord; of thirsting for something beyond what this world can physically offer us.

The first line in this psalm struck me with surprise. No one talks like that any more. I have noted a downward trend on the level of passion in this culture. When was the last time you spoke to the people in your church about hungering for God on this level and at this depth? I will admit that even though I feel this sort of hunger I am embarrassed about always expressing it. There are times in church when I want to stand up and shout, to praise Christ Jesus for something my Pastor or my Sunday School Teacher just told me, taught me, or shared with me.

MY SOUL THIRSTS FOR GOD, FOR THE LIVING GOD!! WHEN SHALL I COME AND APPEAR BEFORE GOD?!?! Drink those words in. Think about them. They are true inside me. I do thirst for God. I do desire Him and His grace. I yearn for His love and counsel. I want so desperately to be like Jesus, to love as He loved, and to be the sort of person someone says ……HOLY COW! Now THAT is a Godly woman! But what is keeping me back? Is God hiding from me? Is Jesus playing a really serious game of Hide and Seek with me? No. He isn’t hiding from me. He isn’t eluding me. I just don’t always act on my needs. I can’t rightly explain why I don’t. I somehow always manage to convince myself that something is more important in my life. Something takes priority. When will I finally get over myself and come and appear before the very living God I so need and desire?

While I hunger and thirst for God I feast on my tears. I feed on the fears and doubts unbelievers, and sometimes believers, thrust on me. I have been kicked and beaten many times by others, and by myself, when I am in a dark place …my mind filled with the mocking words…Where is your God now?! Where was your God when you got cancer?! Where was your God when you were raped?! God is the one who broke your ankle! …..Each of these things has been thrown in my face like some all powerful weapon. As if these statements hold any meaning or weight behind the blows they swing at my heart and my head.

So what did I do? Where did I go? Did I give up? Did I turn my heart into a hardened heart? No. I did the exact thing this Psalm tells me to do. What was true thousands of years ago is still true in the believers heart today! When the sinful come and knock at my door….I go to God’s house to rest. When unbelievers scream at me I put on the headsets of the Lord and sing His praises. I go to Church every Sunday because yes it is commanded of me…but also to feed on the Lord with others who share my hunger. When I can’t go to Church I think about my Church. I think about the people in my Church. I think about those who are saved with me. I open my Bible and I scream back……MY GOD IS HERE!! HE IS IN MY HANDS. HE IS IN MY HEART! HE IS ALL AROUND US!! HE IS EVEN IN YOU!

Even though I know that I can come back to verse 5. Why do I allow myself to feel such pain, such worry, such doubt? Even though I can scream those words at the top of my lungs; even though I can dance them in my heart and before anyone who can watch through the laughter at my dancing skills…..i can still find myself coming back to verse 5 at times. So I ask myself……soul, heart, why are you suffering? Why are you so sad? Don’t give up. Don’t be disheartened for I shall praise Him in this storm. I shall worship Him. I will seek His help to get us out of this mess. And I will seek out my peace in the shelter of Christ’s arms.

I will seek Christ out and I will remember all He has done for me. I will remember that I lived through my rape and found myself stronger and blessed in ways I could never imagine because of it. I can help other women who have been abused. I will remember that my cancer brought me into new lives that helped lead me to my salvation, and I survived a nasty disease with nothing to show for it but a scar and a lifetime of tiny purple pills. I will remember that through the pain of this nerve condition I am still walking today. God has given me a great new direction with my life if I but submit to His will! I will remember He NEVER gave up on me in the darkest hours of my life. He loved me then, even when I scorned and mocked Him and His children. He loves me now.

And He will cover me, thrum through me, and inculcate my very being with His love, wisdom, strength, and protection. Again I am in awe of the passion in verse 7. The call Christ has over my soul is deep. His love and mercy covers me from head to toe. No part of me is left expose to this world and the evil that lives within it. There is nothing in this world that can hurt me, not really. Any pain I feel in this life is fleeting, it will end when my life ends. But when my life ends I will begin a new life for the rest of existence with God. In the end I am going to heaven. God has marked me as His. He has protected me and kept me for His own. No amount of mockery, pain, or persecution can change that. It is done. I was done when Christ died for my sins.

And I will remember that. You should remember that. No matter what dark place you are in, remember that. God has already won. I am already saved. My ticket is bought and paid for. And whether the laughter comes from the unbeliever or the believer…there is no reason for me to keep the thirst for my Savior in a toned down version. There is no reason for me to keep it a secret.

I am thirsty for the love of Christ and the mercy of God. Like one who wanders in a forgotten desert. And I am not ashamed. For my Living God is mighty. His Kung Fu is STRONG!