Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Cry of Anguish... and a Song of Praise?

    So I've been quiet over here for a few weeks... I try to be pretty open about my struggles and who I really am, so I'm not going to lie about why. The last few weeks, I have been almost completely apathetic in regard to my relationship with Christ, and I've been struggling with being angry with Him. A friend has been going through a very hard time, and a few weeks back I let my frustration over that friend's suffering get the better of me, and let it lead me into apathy, anger, and some darkness myself. Thus the silence on here... it feels hypocritical to write others about God when I am not in a right relationship myself.

     A couple days ago I admitted to myself where I was and started taking some steps toward pursuing Christ again. Ironically, it was the very friend I've been angry for that sent me the references I'm talking about tonight: Psalm 13 and 22.

     Psalm 13 opens with words that really spoke to me right where I have been, "How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?" I've read enough psalms not to be surprised by what came next, but it still stuck out to me... David closes the Psalm with the words, "But I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation, I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me."

     My plan was to look at 13 first and then go check out 22, so I didn't spend long thinking about that. I was going to spend more time on it when I came back... but 22 caught my eye too. Before I even started the chapter, it was clear the course the psalm would take. Under the title of Psalm 22, the NASB has printed, "A cry of anguish and a song of praise." Honestly, I didn't get any further than to breeze through the psalm to verify that yes, that is exactly what Psalm 22 is.

     My mind stopped there. A cry of anguish and a song of praise. Wait, what? How? Why? Who does that, I guess was more my question. A cry of anguish, a cry of heart-wrenching grief... followed by a song of praise. Mixing grief with praise, deep sorrow with a kind of joy... this should be something that clicked before.

     Several weeks ago, I arranged a sermon on the book of Job to keep in my back pocket if the need arose. In Job 1, after Job loses everything, he says something very strange in v. 21. "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has given away." This I understand. He poetically draws a parallel... he came into the world with nothing, he leaves the world with nothing. It was God who blessed him... it was God who know cursed him. Pretty standard stuff here... until the end. "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

     A cry of anguish... mixed with a song of praise. Raw honesty enough to admit being crushed and vulnerable, but real faith enough to see past the momentary anguish and see the sovereign and good God that presides over it. Anguish and praise... Anguish in my present situation, praise in looking past it and seeing the God who is there and who is good in it and sufficient through it.

     Anguish will come... but don't let the anguish control. In the anguish and the silence of God, praise. Blessed be the name of the Lord, in the giving and the taking. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

1 comment:

  1. Amen Taylor. Never looked at it that way before though, thanks for the insight