A Lenten Journey: Climbing to the Cross – Day FOUR

Psalm 30, The Grail Translation:
“Thanksgiving for recovery from sickness”
I will praise you, LORD, you have rescued me 
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, I cried to you for help 
and you, my God, have healed me.
O LORD, you have raised my soul from the dead,
restored me to life from those who sink into
         the grave.
 
Sing psalms to the LORD, you faithful ones, 
give thanks to his holy name. 
God’s anger lasts a moment; God’s favor all
       through life.
At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.
 
I said to myself in my good fortune: 
“Nothing will ever disturb me.” 
Your favor had set me on a mountain fastness,
then you hid your face and I was put to confusion.
 
To you, LORD, I cried, 
to my God I made appeal:
“What profit would my death be, my going to
     the grave?
Can dust give you praise or proclaim your truth?”

The LORD listened and had pity.
The LORD came to my help. 
For me you have changed my mourning 
     into dancing, 
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
So my soul sings psalms to you unceasingly. 
O LORD my God, I will thank you forever.
_______
There is something so real about this language,
so true to who we are as people who struggle.
We don’t have the answers we think we want.
We wrestle with the hard stuff.
We get sick, we are fearful of dying,
     we would like to blame someone for that – 
whether it’s ‘enemies,’ or God.
The psalmists all tell it like it is and I find that both
refreshing and encouraging. And sometimes, I find it puzzling.

Because this is what it feels like when life gets messy and tough.
It feels like God turns away from us;
or it feels like God rescues us.

Both of these experiences are part of what it means to live this life we’re called to, aren’t they?

And I want to rush right in here and say,
“But…
God doesn’t turn away from us. 
The Word tells us God will never leave us.”

Yet if I say that – and I do – then maybe I also have to say this other, 
much harder thing:

“God doesn’t rescue us, either. 
Except in the ultimate sense. 
We are rescued from ourselves and our sin and our brokenness because of Jesus. 
We are rescued from a life of meaninglessness and free-floating purposelessness.”
But are we rescued from the frailties and foibles of this life?       
The one we are all living here in the mess? 
Clearly, we are not.

Good people do suffer.
Faithful followers do encounter pain, grief, loss, 
sometimes even what feels like unrelenting agony.
Children die.
Wars rage.
Natural disasters wreak havoc around the globe.

And yet… 
and yet…
There is healing.
There is redemption.
There is joy in the morning.
And there are tears in the night.

The wisdom writers in the Old Testament all tumble these ideas around. And what I love about our scripture is that these authors provide a variety of answers. Perhaps that’s why we push/pull about it to this day. Some believe God is responsible for all of our suffering. Some believe God allows it. Some believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

I don’t know.

This I do know, however.
God is so much bigger than we can even begin to imagine. And if God is truth, then I guess that means that the Truth is so much bigger than we can imagine, too. (If you want a small sample of this kind of thinking, check out The Pilgrim’s words at this site.
So I think I’ll join with the psalmist and sing about it all – 
the glories of health 
and the darkness of illness and death. 
Because it’s all part of the tapestry being woven 
in this thing 
we call life.
_______
God of the Cosmos, You know how feeble this brain of mine is. How I cannot begin to wrap my thoughts around Who You are, and How You are. This much I know: Someone is in this muck with me and I believe his name is Jesus. Together, we can walk through anything. And for that, I say, ‘thank you.’ And for that, I say, ‘help me, teach me, put my feet in the right place.’ And for that, I say, ‘Amen.’
_______

Click here for day one of this series and an explanation of what it’s all about.  





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Comments

  1. Carol J. Garvin says:

    So perfectly expressed, Diana! And you’re right: “… it’s all part of the tapestry being woven in this thing we call life.” We see it all through the glass, darkly, don’t we? “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. [1 Corinthians 13:12]

  2. Thank you, Carol. This was a hard one for me to write, so I appreciate your taking the time to comment.