Photo from our family vacation in Jan 2019
S (Scripture): Psalm 30
When I was comfortable, I said,
“I will never stumble.”
Because it pleased you, Lord,
you made me a strong mountain.
But then you hid your presence.
I was terrified.
I cried out to you, Lord.
I begged my Lord for mercy:
“What is to be gained by my spilled blood,
by my going down into the pit?
Does dust thank you?
Does it proclaim your faithfulness?
Lord, listen and have mercy on me!
Lord, be my helper!”
You changed my mourning into dancing.
You took off my funeral clothes
and dressed me up in joy
so that my whole being
might sing praises to you and never stop.
Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
O (Observation): Does God hide Godself out of a sense of abandonment of the psalmist? Or is God nudging this follower out of the nest (so to speak)?
Is God abandoning or encouraging? Testing?
The follower is said to be comfortable and will never stumble. Perhaps in the follower’s lack of humility God allows the individual to go about their own way…without God’s help. Will the follower stumble? If so, what then?
Then, the follower senses a lack and cries out for mercy. And God makes Godself known to the follower again. And God’s renewed presence is like turning mourning into dancing.
The result: I will praise you Lord, and never assume I will never stumble.
A (Application): As my wife and I raise our three children, I can think of the many times we encourage our children. We help them see that they can ride a bike, cook a meal, wash their own clothes. We instruct and model for them how to do these tasks. Once they get a taste for it, the inevitable statement is: “I CAN DO IT BY MYSELF!”
Ok. Go for it.
Then comes the scraped knee, the burned toast, or the ruined clothes.
Then comes, “Why didn’t you tell me?” Or “Why didn’t you help?”
I can only imagine what God continually goes through: Watching over us; entering our lives; encouraging us; setting us free…only to hear, “Where were you?” “Why didn’t you help?”
Sometimes we wish to be set free in order to prove we can make it on our own. Sometimes we wish to be set free to see how far we can fly with the gifts we’ve been given. Whether our desire to be set free comes from good intentions or selfish intentions, we can have a tendency to turn on God for the mistakes we make. “Couldn’t you have prevented this, God?”
As we cry out to God, God hears and comes to us. God has the immense capacity to absorb our selfishness and anger, and turn our sadness into joy.
What is left is whether or not we wish to receive God’s mercy and grace. When we do, the joy is indescribable.
May you call out to God in times of plenty and times of want. May you receive God’s merciful gift of grace. May God turn your mourning into dancing.
P (Prayer): Lord, we are selfish…we are set free…we are in need of your presence. Amen.