Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Real Deal With Psalm 35

"Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent.  
Do not be far from me, Lord." - Psalm 35:22

I'm having a really hard time with Psalm 35

Have you read it? 
I mean, really read it? 
It's pretty raw. 
David - who wrote it - is dealing with a lot of anger and a lot of hurt and he's not holding back anything from God. 
And it's just raw emotion jumping off the page.

So, I was reading this Psalm last week (we're reading through the book of Psalms with our church right now), and I was at the beach with Mark for a little soul restoration. And I do mean AT the beach, as in ON the beach - just soaking in the greatness and splendor and majesty that is GOD displayed all around me, and I've spent the first couple of days just having my flip-flops blessed off by Psalm 33 and Psalm 34 and now I run into THIS. Psalm 35.

David is pouring his heart and mind and soul out to God - riding the roller coaster of his emotions until he's just flat out done in. 
Not exactly light beach reading folks. 
In fact, I realize pretty quickly that I'm having a hard time with it because I didn't quite see how the David I knew (you know, the "man after God's own heart) squared with the David I was seeing in these verses. (the fit-pitching, toddler-like David)
Anyway, I said to Mark "I'm having a hard time with this Psalm." 
So he, ever the steady-eddy that brings me back to what's real, says to me "Think about all the times you've been hurt by someone who's accused you of things you haven't done, or blamed you for something that you didn't cause, or just hated you for no reason. You've been there, we all have and I'm sure you remember those times. How did you act?" 

And that's when it dawned on me, I was having a hard time with Psalm 35 because I'd lived it - many times - and thought I'd moved past the point of getting my "mad" on towards God. 
You know, or maybe you don't, but it's the feeling that I'd grown enough spiritually that I didn't shake my fists at God anymore when my circumstances didn't match my expectations. The attitude that I accepted my situations as "God's will" and to calmly look for the lessons in them. 

You know what happens when we think we've learned a spiritual lesson? 
God decides to teach it to us again. 
And this time, I looked at things like anger, despair, betrayal, abandonment, revenge, paranoia, self-pity, self-righteousness and more and I saw a picture of myself and my very HUMAN emotions crying out to the only one who can heal our emotional wounds.  

As I read through the verses penned in the depths of David's raw emotion, I get a very vivid picture of the many times I've felt wronged, betrayed, hurt and lied about. And of course, as we women tend to do, I re-lived each and every one of those roller-coaster emotions.  

Let's walk through it a bit and see if you feel it too: 
Verses 1 - 3 are David crying out to God to stand up for him, to fight the battle for him, to take up his cause. To rescue him. 
I've done that - stood there in shock at the circumstance that has knocked the wind out of me and in my indignance cried out "God, go fix this, please! It's not fair!" 
Sound familiar? 

Verses 4 - 6 are a few choice suggestions David has for ways that God can take care of his enemy and get revenge for the wrong that's been done to him. 
I've done that too - thought, well I hope they have a flat tire and a bad hair day and lose their keys and then trip on the curb to boot. That'll show 'em, right God?  
Uh, right. 

Verses 7 - 21 are what I call the whiny verses. Mixed in with a few promises of what David will do when God acts on his behalf. Here, David is laying out the whole deal, retelling the stories of how and when and by whom he's been wronged. 
As if God didn't know it already. 
And he's even promising God to praise Him more, to exalt Him more. He's even buttering Him up "Who is like you Lord?" (v.10)
Yep, I've done that too - sat there and had my little pity party, whining to God about all the hurtful things that "they've" done to me. Crying about how unfair it all is and I know you can fix it all God if you want to because you are AWESOME like that, and I know you love ME and don't want to see ME hurt like THIS.....

I wonder if God sighs at us.
Anyway, there it is. It's all out now in a great big rush of hurt and despair and frustration and tears. And there is a little place of calm. Of rest. Of regained sanity. 

"Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord." - Psalm 35:22

David takes a big breath and exhales. And with it I can feel his heart like lead in his chest, his resignation to the circumstance - this thing that's consumed him. 
And like David realizes, so too do we - I - realize that God sees it all, knows it all and yes, while we don't want Him to be silent, our greatest need is for God to be NEAR us. 
To hold us, to carry us and give us peace in this storm. 
Oh God, just please make it not hurt anymore. I can't cry anymore. Just hold me Daddy.

Yes, I know, David revisits the firestorm of emotion he's already poured out in the next few verses - don't we all do that too, not quite ready to give over the fight? - but he finishes strong, recognizing the righteousness of Holy God. 

And it's in that place we can receive grace. 
In spite of the hurt. In spite of the pain. In spite of the injustice of it all....
As we stand in the knowledge of the righteousness of God, we can rest in His grace and mercy and peace. 

So for me, the lesson learned in revisiting those hurtful times is not in how much it hurt, but in how great God's grace was in the midst of the storm and in it's aftermath. 
Our lives are not lived in a spiritual bubble, we will come under attack. We will be unjustly accused. We will be lied about. We will be betrayed by a friend. 
And it will hurt. Deeply.
But His grace will always be sufficient. 
And that's the real deal with Psalm 35.

With a Courageous Heart, 

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