Eighth letter of the Hebrew Alephbeth
It seems that a part of life is living with a deep void within oneself, like there is always something missing...no matter how good life is at the moment. That's how I've experienced life so far, and probably one of the reasons why I listen to U2's old song over and over again: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.
Listen to what the Psalmist writes in similar fashion: I have sought your face with all my heart...I have considered my ways.... These are the words of a seeking, yearning, striving, deeply thoughful/deeply feeling man...or woman. And so who do I invite along with me in my seeking? Many people...including the LORD. I want to say like the Psalmist: you are my portion.
In a way, I'm telling myself: there may always be voids...and you will spend the rest of your life looking for what you haven't found yet...so calm down, soak up the tension of being content and restless with the voids. And soak up what the LORD will give you for the moment...even if it doesn't erase the voids.
The voids I'm talking about can range from little scheduling issues with family or work, all the way to trying to remember why my life matters and what do I want to do with my life. I feel voids of inadequacy in being a husband or father - especially in being a son and brother, and alot in being a friend...I'm just not a very good friend (sorry friends...). I feel voids in my skills and talents, in my accomplishments and knowledge. I feel voids in in not knowing what to do next with ministry opportunities and situations. I feel voids...do you?
The psalmist gives some good but difficult points on what to do with these voids: promise to obey God's word, turn my steps to his statues, obey his commands, not forget his laws. Pick one of those: turn my steps to his statues...go the way of Jesus every day...this requires deep feeling about others, deep thought about implications of actions, deep wisdom on how to spend my time, energy, and resources. The deeper I go, the more voids I feel...and all of a sudden I'm back to where I started.
And then I read what the Psalmist does: he gets up at midnight to give thanks to God for helping know what is the right thing to do...he interrupts his sleep to say a prayer of gratitude; he works hard at being friends with all those who respect and honor God...he puts up with annoying personalities, grating stories, difficult people because they have Jesus in common...wow! And he chooses to see the Earth - as polluted, desecrated, bloodsoaked, oilsoaked as it is- filled with the LORD's love. Hmmmmmm....
There are voids...life is not perfect and there is plenty of pain...but how diligent do I want to be in filling voids in such a way that I can soak up all the love God has apportioned into this beautiful, groaning Earth? And how willing am I to do the hard, wise work of soaking up the tension of content and restlessness?
"LORD, teach me your decrees."