Saturday, November 7, 2015

Psalm for Discontentment

I spent the day wallowing in self-pity. There, I said it. I am in the precious place of life where God knows my fleshly bents, He knows my brand of sin, and He puts pressure there. I am, in my flesh, not in the place I want to be in life. In THIS life. So, I find myself falling into discontentment easily. Here's how it went today, courtesy of Psalm 73.

Verse 3: I envied the arrogant....when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

I looked around my house at my unfinished projects, for which I have no time. I looked at my bank accounts, which are thin. I saw my friends, who, in their 30's like me, are far surpassed me in their financial endeavors, their households.

"4 They have no struggles;
    their bodies are healthy and strong."

I find myself re-entering "normalcy" after breastfeeding. Oh yeah....fibromyalgia. I can't sleep at night anymore. I have pain unless I sleep 10 hours (which doesn't happen with 3 children). And then I still have to get up and work.

 "They are free from common human burdens;
    they are not plagued by human ills.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
    and their tongues take possession of the earth."

They find it easy to attend church and talk of their faith glibly, to pay for their children's Christian Tuition.

10 Therefore their people turn to them
    and drink up waters in abundance."

This is what the wicked are like—
    always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

Not that all my friends are "the Wicked", but, bear with me in the slight dissonance of allegory. I remain here to tell the story of my heart.

I felt like this:

"All in vain have I kept my heart clean
    and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken
    and rebuked every morning."

I do believe that God has me in the palm of His hands every morning that I awaken, but in one sense, it is not so "comforting," for sometimes it is for chastisement that His hands are upon me. And in that I find this verse resounding within me.

My instinct, like the Psalmist, is to wrestle with the standards before me. To find me a way out, to satisfy the cravings of my find contentment in this life. And it makes me tired.

But when I thought how to understand this,
    it seemed to me a wearisome task...

But then:

...until I went into the sanctuary of God;
    then I discerned their end.

As in everything, the "End", or "death" puts everything into perspective. At any time of life I can turn my thoughts here and I have nothing but the utmost fulfilling, precious, spectacular promises from my God for this next life. Crowns, glory, life eternal, joy unspeakable, and so on, have been promised me after death.

But the wicked?

Truly you set them in slippery places;
    you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
    swept away utterly by terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes,
    O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.

I forgot that this life is super-short.

When my soul was embittered,
    when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant;
    I was like a beast toward you.

How could I have forgotten? Though He discipline me severely, He is good....He made me, loves me, and holds me.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me to glory.

And AFTERWARD....  oh, the bliss! (Romans 8:18) "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

And I recount...

"Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Then the renewed perspective:

"For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
    you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you."

There, where they are, they shall perish. Here, where I am, even in this un-satisfying place, while He holds my hand...there is peace. And He has withheld no good thing from me.

"But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works"

So there. I have told of them. He is my refuge, and though I am poor, distressed, and lonely....

"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

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