Thursday, January 12, 2023

To Be Human


Happy Thursday.

We've almost made it.  When you didn't think you could.  You did.

This morning I sat down with my coffee and a To Do list a mile long, and I opened my laptop.  In the back of mind, I thought, "My devotion I'm working through is on its last day.  What am I going to read next?  I'm not in a valley - there's no subject weighing on my mind - I don't really feel the Spirit.  What am I going to do?"

I pushed the thought aside and clicked on the last day of my daily devotional study and started reading.  Here is what I read:

"In our most private moments, we want to scream words we don’t use around our Bible friends at the unfairness of it all. But then there are more hopeful moments… where we want to turn up the praise music, lift up honest prayers, and declare that God is good."

Hmmm...that did strike a note with me today and took me back to a memory from a few weeks ago.  A situation and conversation I had with my oldest son, Tony.

You know, normally I journal my own, personal journey - mostly for my own memory's sake.  But this morning - the Lord took me to my children.  Actually, my children centered around my prayers starting last night.  So, I guess this morning was just a continuation...and I guess my children needed me to cover them in prayer.  Maybe this was God's gentle nudging to my Mama's heart...

I continued to read the words quoted above and as I did, I was reminded of a conversation I had a few weeks ago.  My part of the conversation started out like this, "...your Mother is about to get un-churchy.  I'm about to say something to you that isn't churchlike so get ready."  And off I went, giving my advice that didn't sound churchy and was laced with a few choice cuss words.  

I don't regret it.

Sometimes, real conversations require harsh words to convey the rawness of your emotions at the time.  In this conversation with a struggling son, I had to use "words we don't use around our Bible friends."  And that's okay.  The situation warranted it.

If you read Psalm 40, you will see that David - one of the pillars our faith and a main character in our Bible - struggled with situations that were hurtful and hard...and human.

In verses 11 through 17, we see David hurting and crying out to God for help: 

"Hoping doesn’t mean we ignore reality. No; hoping means we acknowledge reality in the very same breath that we acknowledge God’s sovereignty.

Our hope can’t be tied to whether or not a circumstance or another person changes. Our hope must be tied to the unchanging promise of God. We hope for the good we know God will ultimately bring from our situation, whether the good turns out to match our desires or not. And sometimes that takes a while. The process will most likely require us to be persevering. Patient. Maybe even longsuffering."

David praises God one minute, and in the next breath, he is crying out to Him for help and direction.  Now, I'm not saying that David used words like maybe you and I would, but he is certainly someone we can look to - that we know God loved deeply and yet, God still permitted him to sink to a low that was full of despair and hopelessness.  A point in his life where he just didn't have any answers or saw any hope.

Now, I'm not comparing David's life or death situation with my son's, but what I am saying is that in our human situations, we can cry out to God with our hurts and our questions.  We can pray and ask God to change the person we are struggling with, but ultimately, we must lay our struggles at the base of the Cross. And after we lay those questions at the Cross, we will need to circle back to having our hope tied to GOD and not the person or situation we are struggling with.  God gives us the promise of HOPE, not a person.

Laying your burdens at the Cross may or may not bring you the answer you desire, but that doesn't mean God isn't listening or even crafting out your valley to orchestrate a greater good and purpose.

I can't understand the decisions my son makes in regards to a person he is struggling with.  I can only give my advice and send him back out into the world.  I know only God can give him the hope and peace he needs and seeks.  Not the person he is struggling with.

I want the promised blessing of Psalm 40:4: “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust.” I forget that this kind of trusting in God is often forged in the crucible of longsuffering. God isn’t picking on me. God is picking me to personally live out one of His promises.

It’s a high honor. But it doesn’t always feel that way. I’ve got to walk through the low places of the process before I’m perfectly equipped to live the promise."

We all want the promises and blessings of God.  But keep in mind, like it is written above - sometimes, you will have to go through hard times to receive God's blessings.  I pray that is the situation with my son - that these times of young adulthood he is struggling through will eventually make him a man of determination, character, and maturity in his 30s and 40s.

Youth is hard.

I wish I had, in my 20s, the same maturity and eyes of faith I do now.  Sometimes, God takes a long time in crafting us, and as Parents, it's hard to watch the young people in our lives struggle.  We can see the crafting and answers of God from the outside, but we can't do the crafting and answering ourselves.  Only God can do these things, and the timing we have for our children's lives may be vastly different than God's.

Psalm 40, verse 1 says, "I waited patiently for the Lord."  A few verses later, the Scripture reads, "He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock..."

My devotion this morning says that the word “set” in the original Hebrew is qum.  Qum means arise or take a stand.

So while we are waiting patiently (an ongoing and active state) for God to take us through our struggles and valleys, we read He will lift us up and out of our situation to SET us on the rock.

Did you read that like I did?  Let's read it one more time - set us on the rock.

He will set us on a rock.  He "drew me up" and "set my feet upon a rock."

Keep that in mind.  And I will too, as I continue to counsel, talk to, and pray for my son.  It is okay to be frustrated and not understand when people in our lives cause us grief or frustration - struggles.  God is taking you through this period to bring you to a greater place of answers and glory.

He is listening. So keep crying out to Him.  Keep pleading your case, asking your questions.  It's okay to talk to Him, argue with Him, and question Him.  Our patriarchal Fathers did in the Old Testament.  If they could do those things, then we can too.  Don't be afraid to plead your case before God and lay your life before the Cross.

Remember and commit to your heart - Psalm 40.  Our hope isn't tied to a person.  It is tied to a Holy God.  As David wrote, "He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock..."

We live through our "pit of destructions" for greater good.  We may never see the end result or even understand it, but Psalm 40 is still there - God will "set" your feet on the rock.  He has promised!

Hold fast my friends.  Pray for your loved ones.  Pray for your children.  Pray this Psalm over them and yourself.

Isn't it so wonderful that no matter how long we have been a Christian or how many times we have read the Bible, God can still take a single sentence of Scripture and make it new to us?

This is what I love about the Bible.  It is thousands of years old and yet, it still speaks to us today!

Do your homework this Thursday morning - Read Psalm 40.  It will change your life.

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