27 September 2009

Psalm 102. ("Prayer of The Afflicted.")

In April of this year, I was reading through Psalms in my brand-new Bible (given to me by my mother-in-law as a baptism gift). Many of these psalms made me think deeply about just how much each and every one of us struggle, in one way or another. Our sermon that morning had been on "self-control" (as well as faithfulness and gentleness), and as Bobby spoke, I remember feeling my eyes well up with all-too-familiar, knowing tears.

It's important to remember, as we learned, that we do not have to be controlled by the "works of the flesh" (whether that be addictive substances, overpriced gourmet delicacies, the latest "
à la mode" purchase, and so on); rather, we can make decisions ultimately controlled by the Spirit (Romans 8:5-11). There is only one faith, and that is the faith we have in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:5, Galatians 3:26), not a man-made faith. No material goods (ironic term, no?) --food, drugs, alcohol, lavish clothing, latest-and-greatest tech toys-- come close to His indescribable love. But how do we put all that aside? It's not easy, and certainly not without challenge. All we can do is read and personally interpret His Word, using it as a "blueprint," so to speak (Galatians 5:6).

Now, okay, this sounds a bit laughable, but I have likened God's word to a Garmin GPS (Proverbs 8:27, KJ21). Whether we have completely detoured from the "right" path or perhaps just need a little reassurance, it's up to
us to choose to set aside our "mortal" fears, concerns, ego, and/or pride.
In the meantime, He waits and watches, hoping you'll catch the "oddly coincidental signs" of His love. (There are other parallels I've drawn between God's Word and a GPS navigation system- but, uh, I'll save my humour for another time. Heehee.)

Our identity is in Christ Alone (Galatians 3:26-29), and from Psalm 102, we see that He can and will heal the wounded, the sick, the hurt... all through His unconditional love and our nonstop (albeit, imperfect!) attempts to stay faithful in Him.

So! I'm truly interested in knowing:
What are
your thoughts (on this post, on Psalm 102, on faith, etc)?

Psalm 102*
("Prayer of the afflicted while faint, pour[ing their] lament before the LORD.")

1-2God, listen! Listen to my prayer,
listen to the pain in my cries.
Don't turn your back on me
just when I need you so desperately.
Pay attention! This is a cry for help!
And hurry—this can't wait!

3-11I'm wasting away to nothing,
I'm burning up with fever.
I'm a ghost of my former self,
half-consumed already by terminal illness.
My jaws ache from gritting my teeth;
I'm nothing but skin and bones.
I'm like a buzzard in the desert,
a crow perched on the rubble.
Insomniac, I twitter away,
mournful as a sparrow in the gutter.
All day long my enemies taunt me,
while others just curse.
They bring in meals—casseroles of ashes!
I draw drink from a barrel of my tears.
And all because of your furious anger;
you swept me up and threw me out.
There's nothing left of me—
a withered weed, swept clean from the path.

12-17Yet you,
God, are sovereign still,
always and ever sovereign.

You'll get up from your throne and help Zion—
it's time for compassionate help.

Oh, how your servants love this city's rubble
and weep with compassion over its dust!
The godless nations will sit up and take notice
—see your glory, worship your name—
God rebuilds Zion,
when he shows up in all his glory,
When he attends to the prayer of the wretched.
He won't dismiss their prayer.

18-22Write this down for the next generation
so people not yet born will praise
God looked out from his high holy place;
from heaven he surveyed the earth.
He listened to the groans of the doomed,
he opened the doors of their death cells."
Write it so the story can be told in Zion,
God's praise will be sung in Jerusalem's streets
And wherever people gather together
along with their rulers to worship him.

God sovereignly brought me to my knees,
he cut me down in my prime.
"Oh, don't," I prayed, "please don't let me die.
You have more years than you know what to do with!
You laid earth's foundations a long time ago,
and handcrafted the very heavens;
You'll still be around when they're long gone,
threadbare and discarded like an old suit of clothes.
You'll throw them away like a worn-out coat,
but year after year you're as good as new.
Your servants' children will have a good place to live
and their children will be at home with you.

*I have used bold text to denote verses that particularly spoke to me.
(Translation taken from "The Message")

1 comment:

  1. lily, i love the way you write, and i love the message version of this psalm! your parallel between the Word and GPS is awesome, and i'd love to hear more about that!

    psalm 102 is one of my favorites, and one that i read OFTEN! i tend to forget, in the midst of my struggles, that God hasn't gone anywhere and it's really i who has strayed from Him...


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