July 15, 2014

Psalm 63

“O True God, You are my God, the One whom I trust. I seek You with every fiber of my being. In this dry and weary land with no water in sight, my soul is dry and longs for You. My body aches for You, for Your presence. I have seen You in Your sanctuary and have been awed by Your power and glory.

Your steadfast love is better than life itself, so my lips will give You all my praise. I will bless You with every breath of my life; I will lift up my hands in praise to Your name. My soul overflows with satisfaction, as when I feast on foods rich in marrow and fat; with excitement in my heart and joy on my lips, I offer You praise. Often at night I lie in bed and remember You, meditating on Your greatness till morning smiles through my window.

You have been my constant helper; therefore, I sing for joy under the protection of Your wings. My soul clings to You; Your right hand reaches down and holds me up. But as for those who try to destroy my life, they will descend into eternal shadows, deep beneath the earth. They will fall by the sword, and wild dogs will feast on their corpses. But the king will find his joy in the True God; all who make pledges and invoke His name will celebrate, while the mindless prattle of cheaters and deceivers will be silenced.”
[Psalm 63, VOICE]
When you’re stuck in the middle of a desert, one does not expect to find you writing poetry. Especially not poetry like this.

When our family and friends are far away … 
When our resources have dried up … 
When we just can’t seem to get it right …
When those who oppose us press forward …
When it seems like everything that can go wrong has …
And then something else goes wrong …
When all else is lost, where is one to turn?

I can imagine David sitting, forlorn, against a rock in the Judan countryside. His own son has run him out of town in a coup. He finds himself without food or shelter or resources, without friends, without purpose. Whatever part he may have played in his current circumstances, it sure feels like it all happened TO him. Everything used to be great! I was king, I had everything I could possibly want laid before me for the taking. I ate the best food, drank the best wine, slept in a comfortable bed, had friends … You gave it all to me, God … and now it’s all gone. Why have you let it all go away, God? Why have you removed your hand of blessing from my life?

As he mulls over his situation, he looks around and sees the dry, arid land of his exile and finds it as parched as his body and as his soul. And the words come pouring out - God, I’m just as this desert, my life is ebbing away, I long for water, for life to spring anew. 

Where are You, God?

Though the desert is void of life because it lacks life-giving water, the possibility of life is always there, hidden beneath cracked earth and dusty wind. The soil can be incredibly fertile; nobody's used it yet. There are always untapped possibilities in the desert. 

And then suddenly you’re there, a child of God the Provider.

What if you’re there to bring life to that desert on behalf of the God who Sustains?

This does not have to be the end, this is an opportunity for a new beginning. The desert is the one place where life would be most welcome, and God, time and time again, shows how desperately He longs to work with us to bring life into places where there is none. And sometimes, in bringing that life to a desert through us, God revives life in us we didn’t even know we had lost. God has been by David’s side this whole time, and can restore him once again.

Though I am mocked by the desert, says David, though my enemies seek to keep me here, my enemies will eventually self-destruct on their own, I need not exact revenge. Though my enemies take everything from me, God is all I need, and they cannot take Him from me. It is that very God who gives life, He who sustains, He who I must long for above all else. 

And so I will make something of this dry and weary land and let God use me to bring life anew.

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