“What will you gain if I die, if I sink down into the grave? Can my dust praise you from the grave? Can it tell the world of your faithfulness?” Psalm 30:9
I love the writings of King David! I love his spirit, his honesty, and I love that he is unafraid to come to God with the truth of his heart condition. When hurt, when confused, he lays his deepest emotions out for the consideration of the only One who can make a difference and change his circumstances. Oh, that we were all so vulnerable and transparent with our Lord. David knew what those with frustrated prayer lives have yet to discover: Misery + Prayer = Healing.
It seems to me that sometimes, for a variety of reasons, Christians avoid open discussions about their lives with Papa God. They may ask others to pray for them, and even share intimate details of their lives with their friend, but they fall short of the total commitment it takes to lay bare one’s heart before the living God. I know in my own life there have been seasons when I have heard the voice of God whisper to me, encouraging me to read my Bible and find Him there. “Come over here,” He woes, “Pick me up. I have the answer you seek. Look and see.” When my Bible speaks to me that way and I’m in a rebellious state of soul, the last thing I want to do is pick it up. These days I rarely experience the phenomenon, but in my twenties it happened a lot. When it did, you could be sure it’d been a while since my Lord and I had embarked on any meaningful dialogue between us; at least any dialogue that focused on my failings. At times like these, I was more apt to turn up the volume on the TV, read a murder mystery out loud, go fast food cruising, or get busy cleaning the house. Any distraction would do, so long as I did not have to humble myself and pick up God’s word.
As a believer in Christ, I am not immune to stinkin’ thinkin’. Neither am I completely shielded from self-destructive tendencies. A friend and I were talking about free will the other night and we both agreed that although we don’t wish to be autonomous puppets in some dioramic world of our own making, we do have a tendency to get ourselves into deep trouble from time to time by doing things our own way. Regrettably, when I’m wallowing, I prefer to do it alone, with the lights out and a bowl of ice cream in my lap.
Sometimes, all I want to do is luxuriate in a tub of self indulgence and remain un-interrupted. How then, am I to regain a place of sanctification after experiencing one of these demoralizing lows? Today’s verse helps me find the way. Through the same brutally honest method King David used when he wrestled with the agony of his own soul, I can wrestle with mine. Here’s how it usually works: Something happens, maybe something very painful, maybe something that knocks me off my feet, spiritually speaking. I cry out to God about it, and soon I am remembering how many times he has saved me in the past. In remembering, I become grateful. Chasing after gratitude, I find my tongue once again shaping words of praise. I sing, I dance, I jump for joy at the way in which my God uniquely answered my prayers of the past and through the power of divinely energized prayer, I find hope once more.
David, speaking at the dedication of the Temple said, “His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)” How true those words remain today. Praise the Lord!