Tag Archive: hopeless

this is a long psalm, so may just do it in two parts…

starts off with a very familiar statement: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ [verse 1]
Jesus groaning from the cross… or me, sitting and chatting with my wife on my bed last nite…

i seem to be able to relate to a lot of the groany [whiny?] stuff of this psalm which i appreciate for its raw and rough realness’ity:

‘Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?’ [verse 1]

‘My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.’ [verse 2]

‘All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. let Him deliver him, since He delights in him.” [verse 7-8]

followed by this desperate cry: ‘Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; You lay me in the dust of death.’ [verse 11-15]

i mean, that’s pretty dramatic – you lay me in the dust of death? and yet when everything around you starts looking bleak, that can be how you feel. a sneak peek into tomorrow’s well known psalm reminds us where God is, when we hit the ‘dust of death’ [or even the ‘valley of the shadow of death’] and i guess this psalm does a bit of that as well – God, it feels like you are nowhere near at the moment, but i am going to trust on the experience of the past and my faith in You and who i believe You to be and that will be enough to get me through.

i have been feeling very distant from God [well the feeling always manifests as ‘God is distant from me’, you know] for a long time now and last nite in particular just a whole bunch of stuff hit and i had a really good chat with my wife, tbV, and was able to b’lurgh a lot of it out, and then this morning i received an email from a very random source completely encouraging me for something i had been a part of in her life years ago at some camp i spoke at, and was just completely encouraged by that. huge coincidence, for sure, excepting that those kinds of coincidences just seem to happen every single time i get to that point of just wanting to throw in the towel and run far away [or more honestly probably slap someone in the head with the towel] and it’s like God swooping in to remind me that, “I’m here. I haven’t forgotten you. I certainly haven’t forsaken you.”

and so the reminder of the writer’s past connection to God: ‘Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.’ [verse 9-10]

and a reminder of the writer’s national connection to God: ‘Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One; You are the one Israel praises. In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were saved; in You they trusted and were not put to shame.’ [verse 3-5]

and lastly, the reminder that the last time that first verse was groaned, well proclaimed, from the cross, in the midst of apparent hopelessness, chaos and confusion, it didn’t turn out so badly…

we serve a faithful God. one who allows us to ask the difficult questions and be hurt and scared and confused when we need to be.

to continue to part ii…

it is fascinating to see what gets christians all passionate and excited (in a pitchfork and flaming torches mob kind of way) – i remember the whole furore around the Christmas to X-mas campaign with stickers and articles and sermons declaring ‘put the Christ back into X-mas’ [it is only mildly funny that those people would campaign so strongly about that and yet for the most part be completely sucked into the capitalistic greed-focus of the event enjoying lavish feasts and piles of un-needed gifts while people just down the road from them lived in a box and had maybe a crust of bread to ‘enjoy’ on the day]

i get it, i really do, and clearly a world that is not Jesus-following will do everything it can to suck the meaningful spiritual significance out of an event that holds no meaningful spiritual significance for them, but i would suggest it is not the Christ in Christmas that needs saving [cue angry mob] but rather the cross [angry mob mutter to themselves and slowly disperse]

because without easter, Christmas actually doesn’t mean a whole lot – a baby is born, God comes to live with us – cool and everything… but it only becomes meaningful when you watch how the story plays out in its completeness and you see the end (and the beginning) take place on the cross when Jesus is crucified – in my place for my sin taking on the punishment of death that should rightfully, legally, be mine [and of course, yours]

for God so loved the world…

and so it’s really important that we view Christmas through the lens of Easter – God could have made some other plan of redemption but He chose to come Himself – that is mindblowing and worth celebrating and sharing with the world

in a time of wide scale greed and what will be (if you include new years) drunkenness and debauchery and it’s-all-about-me’ness, it is important to realise that Jesus came with a message of love – not the hollywood feel good, have-own-needs-satisfied love – but a love that requires choice, as well as sacrifice and surrender, that uplifts others above yourself, that seeks to always hope and protect and persevere, that wipes the slate clean of previous wrongs, that looks to bring hope to the hopeless and need to the needy (oh wait, no, they already have that) um, i mean to meet the needs of the needy.

when you keep the cross in Christmas, then it truly becomes true and observable that love never fails. it makes mistakes, it gets it wrong (and horribly wrong sometimes), and it even hurts people unintentionally when doing so, but it never ever fails.

let your Christmas be about love.

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