It’s challenge time again – a passage from psalms when I am not feeling that I can praise or rejoice.
“I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” (Psalm 30:1-2)
I did, and have cried to God for help. But I am not healed. While my “foes” (that is humans who are against me) have not brought me to this point, I am here anyway.
“O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.” (Verses 3)
I am still in the pit. And it feels like a very long ways down. The challenge is, what is one to do with psalms of praise when one’s position is life is NOT where praise in appropriate. That is the overarching theme of a book I have been slowly reading. As I have moved from chapter to chapter of that book, this theme of lamenting when it is a natural and authentic response as opposed to rejoicing or being forced to use rejoicing language, has become an important one to me. Of course, one option is to not rejoice or use the psalms as fodder for rejoicing. However, I am hear at the end of the week and the only scripture passage is the psalms passage. If I am to keep to the schedule of passages that I set for myself at the beginning of the week, this is the only one and the last one to be dealt with.
“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.” (Verse 4)
But my life circumstances are not the sole determinant here. There are other people, beloved readers such as yourself, for whom the psalm passage is quite true and appropriate. And I should not deprive you of the opportunity to praise. And I am aware that in our world there is much to offer praise about.
“For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord, you had established me as a strong mountain;” (Verses 5 -7a)
And even though praise may not be the words and language that are appropriate for me right now, thanksgiving and petition are. And there is recognition and thanksgiving that whatever I may be going through, I am not going through it alone.
“you hid your face; I was dismayed.
To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?” (Verses 7b – 9)
There is also a recognition and acknowledgment in the psalms that not all of life is rosy and cheery, that that the Lord accepts lamentation and petition as readily as praise and adoration.
“Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!”
You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” (Verses 10 – 12)
It is not a hardship to anticipation joy resolution of one’s problems. After all, that is the very reason one prayers and petitions God – in the hope and faith that the Lord God will be faithful in this and all things. That we might praise in advance of God blessing and guidance should not be considered too presumptuous.
May you beloved reader praise and petition God as it seems right in your life. And may the Lord God minister to you and guide you in all that your life contains. Selah!