Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . The Psalms

I've been reading through the Psalms lately, which is my go-to place in the Bible when I've finished up another book and am not sure where I want to head next. I know they're a go-to for many other people too, and the one I read today hammered home why.

David (and the other psalmists too, I'm sure, though I've been in his lately) is so real in the psalms. You can feel his heartache. You can hear the tremor of pain in his voice. You can smell the incense he sends wafting up in prayer. But more, you can taste the hope on his tongue.

Here's a bit from Psalm 41, which I just read. (starting at verse 9)

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me.

But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up,
That I may repay them.
By this I know that You are well pleased with me,
Because my enemy does not triumph over me.
As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,
And set me before Your face forever.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.

This is but one of many examples of what appeals to me about these songs. David had real, honest-to-goodness problems he's dealing with here. A best friend that has turned against him. People trying to sully his name. In the verses above these, he says how his enemies want him to die and his name be blotted out forever--which gave me a big "Ha!" since he's one of the most well-known men of all times!

David isn't afraid to let loose those negative feelings, to cry out to God with the hurt and pain he feels. He utters words that could be considered whining, complaining, and bellyaching. I mean, yeah, sure, people were actually trying to kill him, LOL, but just looking at the words above--who hasn't been in a position where a friend has turned against him? Who hasn't felt as though his heart has been totally crushed by it?

It's okay to share those feelings with God. He knows, He's been there, and He cares. Go ahead, pour out all your aching complaints to Him! He won't call you a whiner. ;-)

But what I love about this psalmist is that he always, always, always goes back to the hope that's to be found in the Lord. Always. He knew that no matter how bleak things seemed, God had his back. God blazed the path before him. God protected his flank. Sometimes the battle probably looked pretty dire, with the enemy closing in, but David knew that victory didn't lie in telling his adversaries off--it lay in embracing the Lord.

He upholds our integrity. He sets us before His face. Who cares what the backstabbers are doing when the glory of the Lord's before us?

I'm an eternal optimist, forever hopeful that good will come from bad. This is why I kept writing, writing, writing even when I kept getting rejection after rejection. I have twenty finished manuscripts in my computer. Twenty. Trust me, I came across some nay-sayers over the years. I heard from people who said it should only take so many years, or so many finished books . . . I even heard that the industry was in lockdown, and I simply wouldn't sell, not because I wasn't good enough, but because it just wasn't going to happen.

But I hope in the Lord, trusting in him. And now I have a new contract that should be arriving any day, as well as a small company of our own that's suddenly growing in amazing ways. Have I "made it"? Um . . . do you ever? LOL. But it's reassurance that I am indeed on the right path. Right where He wants me to be.

God is good. He has set me before His face. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and amen.

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