"Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You." Ps 143:8
I love the Psalms for many reasons, but mostly because of its raw humanity.
The struggle, the poetry, the prayer, the tension: it’s all there.
It’s not so much a theological book, but a relational one: How do we relate to God? What can we share with him? What do we do with our pain and where do we take it? What kind of expression does God bring out in us and we bring out in him?
These are crazy, uncertain times to say the least. And no matter what side of any number of fights you’re on - even if you’re on different sides of different ones, can’t decide, are avoiding sides, or are not interested at all - the tension within us is common. It provides some solidarity.
What are we to do with all this pain and all these questions?
We tell the story.
We ask the questions.
We keep on going.
We trust (as hard as that they may be).
One of the keys in these times, I humbly think, is openness. The minute we stop learning is the minute we’ve taken ourselves out of helpful, progressive conversation. I’m finding more and more that my practice is to shake my fists at the heavens, pour out my frustrations and despair, and then open my heart to something beyond them.
Psalm 143:1-8 (TPT):
"Lord, you must hear my prayer,
for you are faithful to your promises.
Answer my cry, O righteous God!
Don’t bring me into your courtroom for judgment,
for there is no one who is righteous before you!
My enemies have chased and caught me
and crushed my life into dust.
Now I’m living in the darkness of death’s shadow.
My inner being is in depression
and my heart is heavy, dazed with despair.
I remember the glorious miracles of days gone by,
and I often think of all the wonders of old.
Now I’m reaching out to you,
thirsting for you like the dry, cracked ground thirsts for rain.
(Pause in his presence.)
Lord, come quickly and answer me,
for my depression deepens and I’m about to give up.
Don’t leave me now or I’ll die!
Let the dawning day bring me revelation of your tender, unfailing love.
Give me light for my path and teach me, for I trust in you!”
I have my opinions and my beliefs, as you do. And they are strong and deliberate. But I’m learning to let them hang loosely, too. A paradox of sorts: holding onto them tightly, but not so much so that I lose sight of others in the ideas themselves. It’s the tension between, “I know I’m right, but I’m open to learning that there’s more I might be wrong about, or that I just don’t know yet.”