Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Psalm 42 (draft 2)

[I think this is a lot better than the original]

As the deer pants for the water
so my soul yearns after you

I remember hearing a sermon on that passage when I was in middle school. The preacher was explaining the word yearn; how in Hebrew, that word had a slightly sexual tone to it. Well, I was 13, that passage really connected with me. Psalm 42 has been one of my favorites ever since.

These things I remember
and I pour out my soul within me
For I used to go along with the congregation
and lead them up to the house of God

It was around that time I first started reading the New Testament. Reading it for the first time, I could hear the excitement in Paul's voice and saw myself on the shore of Galilee listening to Jesus. I used a crayon for a highlighter, and that bible is filled with blue, red, and green scribbles. Those days I raised my hands high in church and sang loud and off key. These days I remember those crayons with a sigh.

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
and why are you disturbed within me?
Hope in God, For I shall again praise Him
For the help of his presence.

I try and remind myself of the promises I have read. I try and sing my insecurities away. But my stomach (or soul, I never took anatomy in college) is suspicious of these attempts. The storm remains.
I remember a story where Jesus and his friends were all on a boat, in the middle of a crazy-bad storm. They were freaked out. Jesus was asleep in the back. They woke Him up, and He told the storm to shut up, and it did.
Sometimes I wonder if God's alarm clock is broke.

Deep calls to deep
at the sound of your waterfalls
All your breakers and waves
have rolled over me

Not all the pictures of life with God are peaceful. It's not all green pastures and still waters. Jonah got swallowed up by a whale because his shipmates thought they were all going to be killed by a storm. On one of his missionary trips, Paul was shipwrecked by a storm.
This storm has soaked me to the bone. There's no drying out. I'm sunk, shivering and waiting.

I will say to God my rock
Why have you forgotten me?

I don't get it. I pray and pray and pray. And He stands aloof, unseen and distant. Am I speaking the wrong language? Am I too quiet? If I stood on a mountain and shouted could He hear me better?
No. My God hears me, but I don't hear Him.

Why are you in despair, O my Soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him

I do some of my best thinking in the bath: no interruptions and plenty of time to ponder. It's a good time to reflect on the promises of God, and the good times. When I take bathes, I listen to my favorite album and remember when God spoke to me with a crayon in my hand. I will remember Him and hope, as much as my stomach will let me, because I know He is faithful.

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