“When Grace is lost from life…”

“I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.” (Psalm 69:3 ) 
sahi-jyoti_thy-kingdom-come.jpgJyoti Sahi (Indian, 1944–), Thy Kingdom Come. Oil on canvas.
God is …

God hears my prayers and answers me. 

God rescues, delivers, and does not allow me to be overwhelmed by the things that are going around me, by my circumstances, or my enemies.

God is always near me. 

This psalm, written by David, is obviously one that is written by a person who is familiar with suffering and familiar with the difficulties associated with leading people and being a shepherd of God’s flock (vv. 4, 6-7, 10-12).  But even despite the intense suffering, it is clear that the psalmist’s experience of God has been that He has heard his prayers, answered them, and has rescued him even when he felt “worn out” or about to be engulfed.

What’s God saying to me?

This psalmist feels scorned, misunderstood, and overwhelmed by his enemies and circumstances.  Yet, he prays to God, and goes to him, knowing that it is only God who has the ability to rescue him, to bring salvation to him.  In his prayer, he desires for God to help him and to rescue him, but there it seems that part of the reason he desires this is so that those who are watching him as an example are not stumbled (vv. 5-6, NLT):

O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from you.
Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me,
O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated,
O God of Israel.

The psalmist’s response to his circumstances are so noteworthy because they are so starkly different from mine.  My own response when circumstances do not go my way, or when I feel that I am undergoing some emotional suffering, is typically one of self-pity.  I may feel wronged and betrayed, and may ask questions of God such as, “why?” or “why me?”  But the psalmist never asks these questions.

And though the psalmist clearly does feel wronged and betrayed, he turns to God in prayer, cries out to Him, and asks that God protect the people that have been given to his care. 

The psalmist is aware of his own sin, his own foolishness, and so does not want others to be harmed by his mistakes.  One mark of maturity is to be like Jesus in considering the needs of others as more important that my own (Philippians 2:3).  The psalmist’s God-centered and others-centered attitude is not like mine.  When I’m faced with difficult circumstances, I often become more selfish, ignoring and not even noticing the needs of others, concerned only for my own problems that I feel are so overwhelming.

What allows the psalmist to be so others-centered in the midst of his suffering?  I think it’s because of his confidence in the saving power of God.  The psalmist knows God’s promise—that he will deliver the Israelites into the Promised Land.  This psalmist knows that God will bring to pass what he has promised, and therefore can have the room in his heart to pay attention to how the people may be reacting.

At the end of the day when I respond to my circumstances with self-pity and anxiety and with a self-focused attitude, it is because of a lack of trust in God and His promise to me.  God has promised that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and that the kingdom of heaven is like a house with many rooms, and he goes there to prepare a place for us.  Therefore, there is nothing to fear in this world.  God will be praised and He will save His people (vv. 34-35).

This is what I need to remember when I feel overwhelmed by my emotions or my circumstances, and use my circumstances as an opportunity to trust God and to grow in my love for others.

 

Reblogged from http://www.gracepointdevotions.org/2012/05/30/may-30-2012-devotion-sharing-psalm-69/

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