Journal Ps 76-77 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old, the years long ago. I said, ‘Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.’ Then my spirit made a diligent search: Will the Lord spurn forever and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?
Then I said, ‘I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work and meditate on your mighty deeds.’” Ps 77:4-12
Observation: How many nights have I laid in bed with thoughts banging around between my ears so that I could not go to sleep? How many times have I tossed and turned; eyes that are shut but might as well be wide open; and any attempt at prayer falls short in voiceless mumbles?
Analysis: When I read of the Psalmist this morning, I immediately identified with it.
It seems like I go in cycles…cycles that I cannot quite identify or analyze. There are times where sleep is sweet and comes easily—I truly rest and wake up the next morning refreshed and aware of the Presence.
Then there are the times of the opposite cycle: where rest is not easy nor refreshing, and it isn’t for a while that I get my mind in gear to acknowledge God. How often do I want to reset my troubles and be joyous once again? Many times. How hard is it? Sometimes very hard.
Must I go through these up and down cycles? I am sure biblically I do. Experientially? Will they happen? I don’t want to be a fatalist but, yeah, I think that they will, and I that I will.
David was attested to be “a man after God’s own heart”, and he went through the ups and downs. His emotions were all over the place—but he always came back to, “Nevertheless, I will REMEMBER! I will set my mind on Him and all that He does; I will command my heart to fall in line with His Word, with the greater reality of God and not the transient reality of this world and my light and momentary troubles…”
“Can I skip over troubles? After all, I am saved, right? A child of the King, I am supposed to have joy unspeakable all the time.” Short answer, no, I cannot skip over troubles. Jesus said, “…In the world you will have tribulation (syn: trials, suffering, pains, ordeals, troubles). But take heart: I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Troubles are not optional to my life.
So what? In the scriptures are descriptions of mighty men of God going through the same emotions that 1 do. Somehow, thinking about that is heartening…especially seeing how they deal with it biblically. Is Jesus disappointed that I struggle with stuff at times? No, He isn’t. Omniscient God, right?
I am not afraid of struggles, only afraid that I will try to deal with it too quickly and not gain a lesson. I am also afraid that when things are nice, I won’t learn and prepare for that valley plunge that will inevitably occur.
I have written above what I would do singly, appealing to the Holy Spirit alone; all by myself. I would be remiss in not remembering this is where FRIENDSHIPS are a gift of Grace; conversation, association, and confession—transparency to another without fear; being humble to another in the fear of God.
Prayer: Father, how many times do I try to solve my troubles on my own that You have seen? Independence from You is the cardinal sin of Eden. Let me declare my dependence upon You once again, repent from independence, and bow before the Cross (AGAIN) this morning…AMEN.