The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?
Eastenders. Coronation Street. Emmerdale. General Hospital. The Archers.
Soap operas. I can’t stand them. Why? Well, apart from the bad lighting, poor acting, and ridiculous plots – the main reason is that they never end. There is never a conclusion. As soon as a problem is solved, another one comes along. I like happy endings, I like things to be resolved, I like redemption where bad becomes good. However, the ongoing, unresolved twists & turns of a soap opera may be closer to the experience of our lives – and this is echoed loudly in Psalm 38, which is the prayer of a desperate man. Here are a few verses:
1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.
5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. 6 I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. 7 My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. 8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.9 All my longings lie open before you, Lord: my sighing is not hidden from you. 10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes.
There are only 3 places in the psalm when David (who wrote it) asks God for something. Verse 1, verse 15, and verses 21-22. The rest of the psalm is a cry of anguish about what is happening in his life. He is guilty because of sin, he is physically sick – in pain, and he feels under attack from others. David is not having a good day – this is a low point in his life.
And there is no happy ending. But there is also no sad ending. There simply isn’t an ending at all. We hear David’s cry of anguish – and we hear his brief cries to God. That’s it. We don’t know how this turns out.
This is the reality for you and me. Things are not straightforward, they don’t finish neatly with redemption, and all the loose ends tied up. They keep going. They are painful. We don’t always know what’s coming next and how things turn out.
What this Psalm tells us is that it is OK to tell all this to God. If you are in anguish, uncertainty or pain – you can tell Him, loudly. But like David in Psalm 38, can we include a prayer that simply asks God for His help, His mercy and His intervention?
21 Lord, do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God. 22 Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Saviour.
May you know God’s presence today. Love Matt