Psalm 30: A Different Reading

Imagine that for a long time you believed that after you died, you ceased to exist. The only value you had was those who remembered you but someday the earth would die. The sun would burn out. The universe would collapse. And all life would cease. And this terrified you. So you worked too much, drank too much, smoked too much and got into the wrong relationships (if you didn’t love them, who would?).  And it left you feeling empty and hollow and broken… and then you found God. You actually learned that Jesus came not just for a special group of pious people but for you. And Jesus loved your fallen, broken, empty, dark shell so much He filled it up with the Spirit. That’s kind of my story. And if you read Psalm 30, you can kind of feel how much I love God.

Psalm 30

I will exalt you, O Lord,

for you lifted me out of the depths

and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

O Lord my God, I called to you for help

and you healed me.

O Lord, you brought me up from the grave,

you spared me from going down into the pit.

 

Sing to the Lord, you saints of his;

praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,

but his favor lasts a lifetime;

weeping may remain for a night,

but rejoicing comes in the morning.

 

When I felt secure, I said,

“I will never be shaken.”

O Lord, when you favor me,

you made my mountain stand firm;

but when you hid your face,

I was dismayed.

 

To you, O Lord, I called;

to the Lord I cried for mercy;

“What gain is there in my destruction,

in my going down into the pit?

Will the dust praise you?

Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me;

Oh Lord, be my help.

 

You turned my wailing into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.

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All This Evil?

I used to think all this evil was evidence of God either being non-existent or not all good. It took a long time but I don’t feel that way anymore. In order for us to have the freedom to choose to love God, and to show our love through our love of our neighbors (and we are all neighbors), I suppose we must conversely have the option to not love God, to not love our neighbor. The end result is the darkness that we are seeing in the world: human trafficking, genocide, working poor, etc. It is all tragically heartbreaking, an end result of choices we are making and actions we are perpetuating against another.

This does comfort me more than the old belief of an absent or uncaring God. Despite all of the ways we fail I know that I have a good God that loves all of us and that through Him we can restore these things. But we have to choose hard things sometimes. In the US, the land that tells people think “me me me,” and, “consume,” we’ll have to be counterculture. Just like Jesus was.