Where I Should Be

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Psalm 6

O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O LORD--how long? Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies' sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?

I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows old because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; for the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.

Psalm 26

Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my mind and my heart, for Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth. I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, nor will I go in with hypocrites. I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked. I will wash my hands in innocence; so I will go about Your altar, O LORD, that I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works. LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells. Do not gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men in whose hands is a sinister scheme and whose right hand is full of bribes.

But as for me, I will walk in my integrity. Redeem me and be merciful to me. My foot stands in an even place; In the congregations I will bless the LORD.


Both of these Psalms were written by David, but he is broken and lost in his shame in the one, and on top of his spiritual life and standing to bless God in the other. This is bugs me. Mostly because the first is where I am, and the second is where I'm supposed to be and thought I was.

Have you ever felt as though you can't escape the wall of shame that has been built between you and God? Even though you know the truth that you can call on Him in Jesus' name and He will hear you and answer, it seems as though your prayers never make it past the ceiling--if they even make it past your lips. You make all kinds of good mental resolutions about what you're going to do and who you're going to be for God, and then find it all comes crashing down around your ears and you didn't even see the blow coming.

Then suddenly you're left with the resounding question of "Is God even good?" And if you believe that still, then you're faced with the shame of how badly you failed Him. It gets even worse when you fight the shame. "No, I couldn't have. I know better." You've left yourself no room for mercy because your pride has already precluded it, and then the questions go around and around in your head of whether God just wanted to break you, or if He had something else to show you.

I blew it. Pretty bad. I disobeyed Him in a) allowing bitterness to begin to build in my life, b) not acknowledging Him in all of my ways (including a letter I sent to my future sister-in-law), c) ignoring His prompting that she was offering me what she knew of His love, d) holding her accountable for my bitterness, e) not showing the grace I claim that He has showed me, and f) not speaking the truth in love. Again.

I don't know how to make things better. I don't want to keep kicking God's mercy in the face by trying to make up for it myself... I just don't know how to get past the shame. I know I've been under attack--I don't want to hear about spiritual things, or listen to the name of Jesus...

But something happened this morning. I was miserable. I feel like such a failure, and like I can't pray for anyone else because of my own broken relationship with God... And then my spirit cried out, "Abba..."

Romans 8:12-17 says, "Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according tot the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes yhou a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs --heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory."

There is nothing in me except His Spirit that could have called out "Abba" to God this morning. I'd hit bottom and was digging deeper. Why? It gave me the courage to ask for His mercy... and from there, I have a hope. Some days, I can say with the writer of Psalm 26 that I have done all of these things to please and praise God. But this weekend, I think I can say with confidence what the shamed--and redeemed--writer of Psalm 6 said, "
Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; for the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer."

Scram, Satan. You lose. I am God's, and He will hear my cry for His mercy. Stop telling me I don't need it. Stop telling me I don't need Jesus. You have SO lost, and I am the righteousness of Christ.

I need to post on "faith" this week to explain some of the logic there... :-)


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