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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm’

Loss, pain, loneliness, hopelessness, betrayal.

Tears.  Cries.

Desperate!

Been there.  Done that.  Did not like it!

When life—the things, the people, the needs—is out of control…when I can’t make things happen the way I want…when it goes on and on…when  there is much pain and little hope…desperation takes over.

Our friend King David understood.  Hear his cry of desperation in Psalm 142:

I cry aloud to the Lord;

    I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.

I pour out before him my complaint;

    before him I tell my trouble….

Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;

    no one is concerned for me.

I have no refuge;

    no one cares for my life….

Listen to my cry,

    for I am in desperate need…

God welcomes our cries.  He knows life in this fallen world is difficult, painful, desperate.

When I am desperate, I eventually:

*Fall on my face before God, usually literally.

I pour out my desperation, I cry out to Him, I admit my hurt, my disappointment, my fear,  my frustration, my anger.  I tell him once again that my life is not the way I want it.

*Say “Thank You, Lord.”

Not for my desperation, but in my desperation.  Thus, acknowledging that I know and believe that He is God and He is good.

*Open my hands. 

Often that means literally making a fist—holding tight to my wants and desires, my hopes and fears, my pain and hopelessness—and then one by one prying my fingers open so God can take out what He wants and put in His very good for me.

*Rest in Him. 

Sometimes the release and relief are immediate.  Other times it takes time.  But the leaning into Him and experiencing His comfort and peace produce healing and hope and rest.

David recognized that only the Lord could free him from his desperate place:

I cry to you, Lord;

    I say, “You are my refuge,

    my portion in the land of the living.”

Set me free from my prison,

    that I may praise your name.

I can gain comfort and encouragement from family, friends, books, counselors….  But when I am desperate, there is truly only one place to find deliverance:  the God who loves me and promises to care for me.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;

    he delivers them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous person may have many troubles,

    but the Lord delivers him from them all… (Psalm 34:17-19)

 

What about you?  Are you desperate yet?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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How Long, Oh Lord?

Emotions.   Passions.   Sorrow.  Joy.  Loss.  Birth.

I’ve been on the road for much of past four months—Estonia, Ethiopia, California, North Carolina, South Africa, Colorado, with brief stops at home.   My body doesn’t know what time zone it is in. My stomach doesn’t know what country it is in.  Sleep doesn’t know where to find me.

And during this time of much travel, there has been great emotional upheaval.  A divorce in my very family.  Sweet time with my sisters.  A splintering among friends.  The birth of my newest grandson.  My heart and my mind struggle to absorb the wide swings of my feelings.  Such pain! Such joy!

Yet my ministry goes on.  I write.  I speak.  I meet.  I care about people.  I listen, I pray, I encourage.   My passions for full engagement of women in the cause of Christ, for prodigals to return to their Father and receive mercy, for people to know and love Jesus, for women and girls to be free from sexual abuse and trafficking continue to vie for my attention….too many passions to try to tackle.

How long, Oh Lord?

I am weary.  I think I need time to rest, to pray, to think, to listen, to grieve, to rejoice.  To trust You.

Once again, the emotions of David serve me well:

My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long? (Psalm 6:3)

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1)

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? (Psalm 13:2)

Relent, LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. (Psalm 90:13) (from Moses)

How long must your servant wait? (Psalm 119:84)

David responds:

The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;

    the Lord accepts my prayer. (Psalm 6:9)

I trust in your unfailing love;

    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

 I will sing the Lord’s praise,

    for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13:5-6)

And once again I return to the verse I have rested in over and over:

I am the Lord.  In its time I will do this swiftly. (Isaiah 60:22)

Still I plead:  May it be time.

What about you?  About what are you asking “How long?”

C2012 Judy Douglass

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Wait.  Not my favorite word, though certainly one of God’s.

I’ve been waiting for lots of things lately:  a new baby coming any day, for some finally arrived time with my sisters, for a break in my travel/ministry schedule, for resolution in some relationship situations, for peace in a great loss, for time to write….

Some waiting is joyful—I am eager for the outcome!  Other waiting is very painful, and then it is hard to keep hope alive.

King David had lots of opportunities to wait, and I have found his experiences have helped me persevere through God’s times of waiting for me.  Psalm 27 is such a story.

David’s Reality

Psalm 27:13-14: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

The setting: David is in trouble: wicked assailants, enemies, war.

His response: Ps. 27:8: I will seek the face of the Lord.

His conclusion: I can wait with hope.

Meanings:

“Still confident”: aman—believe, hold up, build up or support, render firm

“Wait”: qavah—to bind together, to expect, to look for patiently, to wait for or on or upon

“Be strong”: chazaq—fasten on, seize, bind, confirm, conquer, be courageous

“Take heart”: lev—emotions plus will and intellect—total inner being.

What David is saying:

There is trouble all around me. Enemies desire to destroy me. But I seek the Lord. And He meets me and rescues me.

Therefore I am confident that my belief/trust in God is firm. I am connected to Him. I can believe that I will see God’s goodness in the land of the living as well as in heaven.

So I can wait with hope. I can in my heart bind together the difficult present with a hopeful future (in this world) of God’s involvement and goodness. I can live in light of God.

I will therefore be strong. I will seize and fasten on God and who He is. I will take heart and will bring my emotions, intellect and will under His loving sovereignty.

I will eagerly anticipate what God will do. I will wait with hope.

And therefore I can say:

Lord, you know the pain I am experiencing because of the choices I have made, or my child has made, or the pain life has brought. You know I want to trust and have hope, but I often am filled with hurt and fear and anger and even despair and hopelessness. But I will seek You and You will meet me and rescue me.

Therefore I am confident in You. I will stay connected to You and will choose to believe that I will see your goodness in my life or the life of my loved one.

So I can/will wait with hope. I will in my heart bind together this difficult present with that hopeful future of your involvement and goodness. I choose to live in light of who You are.

I will therefore be strong and take courage. I know what You are like—You are God and You are good. I choose to seize that truth and believe You will bring my emotions into confident trust and rest in You.

I will eagerly anticipate what You will do. I will wait with hope.

Amen.

What about you?  What are you waiting and hoping for?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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The past few weeks have brought story after story of heartbreak and pain for many of my friends and family. Brokenness, loss,  relapse, destructive choices have caused heavy hearts, fear, even despair.

In my years of walking the heights and depths of prodigal wilderness, God’s Word has been a refuge, a haven, a place of courage and hope.  These are some the passages that have infused my heart and mind with peace and gratitude in even the darkest days.  May they do the same for you.

Jeremiah 24:6,7:  My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land.  I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them.  I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord.  They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Jeremiah 31:16,17:  This is what the Lord says:  Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded.  They will return from the land of the enemy.  So there is hope for your descendants.  Your children will return to their own land.

Isaiah 54:13:  All your children will be taught by the lord, and great will be their peace.

Isaiah 59:21:  As for me, this is my covenant with them.  My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of descendants from this time on and forever, says the Lord.

Job 42:12:  The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.

Philippians 1:6:  Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Romans 2:4:  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.

A blessing for you from Psalm 20:  May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.  May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.  May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.  May the Lord grant all your requests.

Psalm 21:6:  Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

Deuteronomy 31:8:   The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.

Colossians 3:12-13:  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

James 1:5:  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,  who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Hebrews 4:16:  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I Thessalonians 5:18:  In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 34:5-7:  For those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.  This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.  The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Psalm 34:18-19:  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.

Isaiah 60:22:  I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.

What about you?  How has God encouraged you in a wilderness journey?

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