Journal Ps 69; 118 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high! I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.
When the humble see it, they will be glad—You who seek God, let your hearts revive!! For the Lord hears the need and does not despise his own people who are prisoner.” Ps 69:29-33
Observation: One of the realities of the Psalmist is his candor. He is not afraid, nor does it look like he is creating a false narrative of his own experiences to make a point of God’s saving love towards man…
Analysis: I will say it again: I think God’s point of the Psalms towards those who believe is to give man an example to be transparent and operate in candor; that is, don’t fall into the narrative that I always should have a “positive” confession and avoid saying negative things about my life.
Much of the Psalms fall into this type of rhythm, like the above: “I am afflicted and in pain…” The Psalmist makes no bones about what he is feeling, what he is experiencing. Does this statement involve physical pain as well as emotional pain? It could: there is no reason to eliminate one (like physical) in favor of the other.
Am I crushed in spirit? Since there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:9), probably all men throughout all time and time to come will experience such crushing.
Therefore, the Psalmist is committed to be honorable and transparent—he will communicate his agony no matter how small or large it is, and he will not protect his pride but is determined to be humble in approaching the Most High: “I hurt, O God, I am in agony in my heart; I am in distress for my own seem to dislike and hate me without cause…”
I think that most people have issues in expressing themselves like this; I know I do. Guessing, I think that there is a thought that saying the above out loud is somehow shameful; “God knows my heart, there is nothing gained by saying it out loud—especially in front of others…” (Perhaps this is the fallacy of the “unspoken” or “silent” prayer in the midst of a church gathering; is it pandering or subtly enforcing an attitude of pride? Just thinking with my fingers…)
After the good confession of personal affliction and the emotion involved, there comes the objective FACTS of the Gospel: “But You are good to me, you are my Salvation!! You will (present and future tense) set me on High…) I am writing the word Fact instead of Truth because in context they are interchangeable BUT in today’s parlance Truth is malleable; it means whatever (again in today’s parlance) we want it to mean depending on the POV one has.
This is why the objective Facts of the Gospel are to be embedded in our hearts and mind; every point, every doctrine and precept, everything—and is why the Facts of the Gospel should be pursued to be a reflexive response to the infidelity of the World.
Be faithful to expose and unveil your heart to God. He sees it anyway, but that is not the point. Like Adam and Eve covered themselves in the Garden, they did it out of equal parts pride (I don’t want You to see me exposed) and shame (My covering is because I love myself more than I love You, O God).
Prayer: Father, help me to navigate my shame. I am confused and feel like I am adrift. Heal my wife; give me a renewed sense of purpose in You. Restore our relationship with my family and our children. Gift us with the relationship with our grandchildren we so long for.
Make me faithful in writing again.
Ricky Two Shoes