John Carter – December 15, 2013 – Psalm 3 ESV – 5 Books of Psalms
To what end shall we persevere in the midst of pain, sorrow and rejection?
David, King of Israel (circa BC1000), was the epitome of what an Israelite King should be. Every King of Israel was measured according to the standard David set. Although David was the standard he was not immune from moral failures and free from adversity. If fact it would be hard to see the height of David’s reign without seeing the depths of his life as well. A prince becoming king is expected, but a sheep herder becoming king is startling. His cries of desperation may be 3000 years old, but they still find their way to capture our attention. Time may have passed but the difficulties of our most difficult days have not become easier to bear.
Especially those days when every day is harder to face. When every day is worse than the day before. And when every day shows itself to be the breeding ground of infinitely hateful people that are destined for and edging closer to tearing you up and breaking you down. Those days when you wake up and know: there is no hope. There is no happiness. There is no peace. There is no reason to move forward.
After finding a halfhearted excuse to peel yourself out of bed it seems you have almost forgot the things said which pierced you quite deep. It’s the words that come at you without provocation. It’s the barrage of insults that are said when you’re not listening but seem to reverberate just loud enough to be heard as you accidentally walk by. As a pointed laugh is heard in the next room you barely escape the tears because those moments of laughter aren’t filled with innocence- but with poison laced descriptions of who you are(n’t).
Maybe they are right, maybe YHWH (The Divine name of God) doesn’t care. Maybe YHWH can’t help this situation. Perhaps they are accurately describing your delusional reliance on a figment of your imagination.
You begin think about their intentions. Their actions. Their handcrafted uncomfortable moments. And then you begin to think that what they are saying is beginning to make sense. Maybe you are a worthless cause, a void of substance, and a non-value. Perhaps they are seeing what you refuse to see. Maybe even God would reject you. Maybe you should give up.
So thinking you think.
Driving in your car you think about that rock that just hit the windshield. You stop crying long enough to think about the truck in front of you that is throwing rocks like they’re meant just for you. Gathering your breath you begin to breathe knowing that if it wasn’t for your windshield you would be tending to the wound caused by such an attack of rocks. How relieved you are to know that even though your heart burst out of your chest from the sound of the first ‘crack!’ made by the collision of rock and glass you are safe.
Making it home safely you put your head on the pillow. The tears have stopped but the crying continues. Replacing the tears your voice fills the void. Maybe out of spite of your mockers, or maybe out of habit you cry out to YHWH. Begging, pleading, crying that he will comfort you just like in the many stories you’ve heard.
And that’s when it happens. The moment you weren’t expecting. The moment when your head begins to be lifted up. Like a gentle nudge on your tear stained chin your gaze goes up ward. Now the tears return. From somewhere inside you are disturbed by a thought that you just can’t shake, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.” Is it true? Is it true that when I call you hear me? Without knowing it the troubles and trials begin to shrink in comparison with the thought that YHWH hears you. He lifts your head. And now he answers your cry for help.
You now begin to think about all the promises of YHWH. You begin to think about all the acts of kindness he has shown you. You begin to compare the miseries of your day with the life times of faithfulness that YHWH has shown his people.
So thinking you think.
Startled you look out the window. It’s dark but dawn is breaking. You fell asleep. How long have you been asleep? More importantly, how did you fall asleep after the day that you just had? YHWH. He did it again. He sustained me. He strengthened me. The sting of the attacks still linger, but now there is something different. The pain is there but it doesn’t hurt in the same way.
Instead of the pain being debilitating the pain is emboldening. Not the pain itself but the work of YHWH as he supplies the faith to trust that no matter how many thousands of people seek my life he is of infinitely more worth.
It’s a new day. And on this day after a night like last night you reflect on the beauty and the heavy glory of YHWH. As you walk through the hallways you hear the same venomous reverberations seeking your life but like a candle under water, the fire can’t touch you. Today you seek your salvation not in your tears but in your God. The Holy One of Heaven who has never taken lightly an attack on those whom he has shown his love. YHWH rises up and he himself comes to save you. He has destroyed those who has rejected Him. He has shattered those who tried to break you. You walk now with a walk with confident peace. Not because your enemies tremble but because your salvation is found solely in YHWH. And YHWH freely saves his people.
Sitting down reflecting on his salvation you begin to think. If YHWH would be so willing and kind to give you the gift of salvation what would stop him from saving your enemies? Isn’t it true that just as your enemies hate YHWH you too were once guilty of hating YHWH?
What if instead of seeing your enemies destroyed for their rejection of YHWH they actually became recipients of YHWH’s loving kindness? What would it take for your enemies to see the salvation that your God freely offers? This is when you remember about when you almost gave up. You were almost at the point of abandoning your faith in YHWH when that rock struck your windshield. Then it connects in your mind, what if your windshield had stop persevering in the midst of the barrage of rocks that daily come at your windshield. Where would you be? How many times over have you be saved from injury and death because the glass continued to shield you from the realities of driving on the road. Maybe your perseverance in YHWH isn’t just for your own safety. Perhaps your perseverance (like the windshield) in the midst of pain, sorrow and rejection is also for the sake of those around you. A question begins to form, to what end shall I persevere in the midst of hardship? To the end that I am saved, or still further? So you take a deep a deep breath and hear the ringing question that must be answered, to what end shall you persevere in the midst of pain sorrow, and rejection?