Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 30. (MsgB)
All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God! Thank Him to His face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.
You did it: You changed wild lament into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about You.
God, my God, I can’t thank You enough.
Jesus said it well. In this world, we will have trouble (see John 16: 33).
Yes, my friends, there will be plenty of nights of crying our eyes out. Seasons of wild lament. Times when we must wear black mourning bands.
Sadness and pain are, indeed, an unchangeable part of this world. To deny it is to deny reality. To paste a fake plastic smile over a sad, downtrodden heart is sacrilege.
King David, in so many of his songs, refuses to cover over or brush aside the pain he experiences in his life. In Psalm 30 he chooses to define these seasons of pain as times when God gets angry. I’m not sure I fully agree with that theology, but that will have to do for now.
Flat out. Pain sucks. And, in this world, regardless of our theologies, regardless of our levels of faith in God, we will all have pain.
But, here’s the good news.
This same God who, from our limited earthly perspective, seems to allow unexplainable seasons of pain in our lives, also has the amazing ability to transform our bad into His glad! As King David puts it, our God can change our nights of tears into His days of laughter and celebration. My dark nights of lament can be transformed into His whirling, twirling days of unstoppable joy! Yours and my black armbands, traded in for God’s Hawaiian leis strung around our necks!
So here’s my challenge.
Am I willing to allow Him to do what only He can do?
Am I willing, in the night of my tears, to look heavenward, and with drops of liquid sadness still running from my eyes, say to my Creator/King, “Lord, I hurt, but I choose to believe that You can still come and transform this bad night of mine into Your glad morning.”
Somehow, I’m thinking that this must be the attitude King David had.
Not some fake name-it-claim-it, I-can-do-it-myself, put-on-a-happy-face attitude. But a gut-wrenching honesty that says to God, “Yes, Lord, I’m hurting right now, but I believe in a powerful Savior who can take my pain and transform it into Your joy.”
For His name’s sake.
My prayer: My Holy God. Here I am. Stuck in a world where pain is a normal part of life. I hate it. I despise it. I’d love to change it, but, quite honestly, I can’t. I refuse to put a plastic smile on my face during my dark night of tears, but I do choose to look heavenward and say, like David, that You are the amazing God who can step into my pain and transform it, by Your initiative, into Your joy. I believe King David experienced that. I believe I will experience that as well. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Am I honestly willing to embrace both the pain of this lifetime and God’s amazing ability to step into that pain and transform my bad into His glad? If not, why? What needs to change in me so that I can have the same hopeful heart I see in King David here in Psalm 30?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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