Saturday, March 3, 2012
Oh, I am Restless
Give ear to my prayer, O God,
and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
Attend to me, and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
because of the noise of the enemy,
because of the oppression of the wicked.
For they drop trouble upon me,
and in anger they bear a grudge against me.
My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
and horror overwhelms me.
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away;
I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah
I would hurry to find a shelter
from the raging wind and tempest.”
Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues;
for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go around it
on its walls,
and iniquity and trouble are within it;
ruin is in its midst;
oppression and fraud
do not depart from its marketplace.
For it is not an enemy who taunts me—
then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—
then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend.
We used to take sweet counsel together;
within God's house we walked in the throng.
Let death steal over them;
let them go down to Sheol alive;
for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.
But I call to God,
and the LORD will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
I utter my complaint and moan,
and he hears my voice.
He redeems my soul in safety
from the battle that I wage,
for many are arrayed against me.
God will give ear and humble them,
he who is enthroned from of old, Selah
because they do not change
and do not fear God.
My companion stretched out his hand against his friends;
he violated his covenant.
His speech was smooth as butter,
yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
yet they were drawn swords.
Cast your burden on the LORD,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.
But you, O God, will cast them down
into the pit of destruction;
men of blood and treachery
shall not live out half their days.
But I will trust in you. Psalm 55
This morning, waking early, I was a mass of pain, nothing moved without complaining and the gray sky matched my gray attitude. It was an old testament kind of day, a David and Goliath, staring down the seemingly impossible kind of day that only praying the psalms can get me through. David's psalms are the ancient faithful blues, the laying it all on the line, whining and crying to God, letting the real self hang out for all to see and hear. We are made by a loving Creator who gets our bad days and our good, and listens to our songs on celebration and our sad laments on days likes these.
We are people blessed to know God through thick and thin, the source of love who does not fold the tents when things get bad. God does not walk away from the whining and crying, the battles big and small, communal and personal alike. God is in the midst of us no matter which side of the bed we wake up on, no matter hoe fearful or sour our dispositions, now matter how cowardly or tough we claim to be. In our weakness and in our strength, God's work is with us, healing and restoring, smiling at our tenderness, and helping us move beyond the fear and failure that binds us too tight. God sits with us at the blues cafe, the pity party and in the shadows where we huddle for fear of falling anymore.
Today I ask us all to let God in. Pray the whining psalms with David, cry in agony with Peter, live completely in our need, this day. For God is near, and God is in the midst of us, with more holy medicine, more healing ceremony, and with a heart that listens to the needs of our restless and struggling souls.