Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finding God in our more honest moments (church bulletin cover)

It always amazes me that the writers of the Bible -- a book entirely inspired by God -- could be so honest about their struggles. Psalm 94 gives us a glimpse into the heart of one of those writers. The psalmist reveals two parts of his heart: the anxious part and the part that's delighted in God. Here's a man (likely a priest) who writes, "my anxious thoughts multiply within me" as part of the inspired word of God (Psalm 94:19)! So even though God is close enough to that writer for him to participate in writing God's thoughts in this text, he can write that he struggles with anxiety. Though I myself haven't been chosen to write God's inspired Word, I can relate to a guy like this!

But if anxiety is the only part of this man that I can readily relate to, I'm in trouble. There's more to him than that. Psalm 94:19 goes on to say,
"When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul." This writer also knows how to escape anxiety. He's not stuck. He knows how to receive God's assurances when he's anxious.

I, on the other hand, can get so focused on what's making me anxious that I don't even recognize God's consolations. I get fixated -- my eyes and thoughts riveted on the negative, unable to believe there's a solution, my anxiety growing. The lesson of this psalmist is that you're in good company if you're anxious about something, but not if you can't see God's consolations amidst it. God wants to
"delight my soul" despite my anxieties, and He does that through the "consolations" or assurances found in His Word and through His Spirit within us. In fact, Psalm 94 is full of such words of comfort: "If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. If I should say, 'My foot has slipped,' Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up" (Psalm 94:17-18).

My part is to take my anxieties to God and to receive the consolations He offers. But to receive such comfort through His Spirit, I need to believe the many promises He offers in His W
ord to help me and "hold me up." And that's the way in which I really want to relate to the writer of Psalm 94!

© 2008 by Ken Peters

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