Sunday, July 15, 2007

Give Thanks to the Good LORD!

Psalm 118

One of my favorite songs, a gut-wrenching, trust-dripping, beautiful poem from a messed up sinner who won't give up on a God who won't give up on him.
"Out of my distress I called on the LORD;
the LORD answered me and set me free."

What do you do when the distress is self-inflicted? When you've made mistakes that have messed up your life?
"It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man."

What about when others are making a mess of your life, when others are ruining what is good and beautiful for you?
"I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the LORD helped me."

What of God's work in your life, God's refining work as a Father correcting and directing a son/daughter who strays, forgets, and ignores what is good and right?
"I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the LORD.
The LORD has disciplined me severely,
but he has not given me over to death."

There is something potent about opening up yourself to God and letting him redeem what is wrong with you, and letting him redeem others through what has been made right in you.
"I thank you that you have answered me,
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone."

That inspires me; I know what it is like to feel rejected, I know what it is like to be rejected. It hurts, it hurts moreso when you feel like you had something to offer, when you wanted to make something good happen - and rejection is the response. But God can take any kind of stone and make it a crucial part of his work - any kind of stone that is willing to yield to his craftsmanship and blueprint.
"This is the LORD's doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
Save us, we pray, O LORD!
O LORD, we pray, give us success!"

It is an act of faith, it is an act of worship, it is an act of defiance towards all that is wrong in the world:
"You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever."

I needed this poem, I needed these words - thoughts of despair, feelings of frustration, dulled senses about the future, uncertainties, anxieties...all have been ebbing and flowing with great strength. Where it comes from, I'm not sure - which only adds to the grief. Yet God, I will give you thanks - though it may be solemn; and I will praise you, though it may be tentative. Yet who else is like you? And for what others need from me, who else would I rely on to do what is good? Thank you for Steadfast Love that Endures Forever.

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