“God if you are real, speak to me!” Have you ever spoken those words? Have you ever been in a place where your throat was dry from crying out, and the requested thing just wasn’t materializing?
I know many people who have shouted out that prayer. I also know many people who are afraid to speak those words. Fear that God won’t love them anymore if they revealed their struggle. Fear that once the words are spoken, they may not like the God on the receiving end. Fear that they will be “found out” and are not as spiritual as their friends think.
Ironically, when we admit our struggles to God, He pours out an over-abundance of grace, showing us that His loves for us is constant, even on our bad days.
When we tell God what we honestly feel about His leadership in our life, we find a loving father who responds differently than the image we created in our minds…when we allow God to reveal Himself He is not furrow-browed and steaming mad. He is the prodigal’s father, arms held wide, eyes that are tired from prayer but full of compassion, and a heart that has enough grace for the entire universe.
When we have the courage to speak honestly, we no longer fear being “found out” because a truly spiritual person does not live a duplicitous life…he lives honestly, “warts and all.”
King David from the Hebrew Bible has always been one of my favorite people to study. He is so complex. He loves God so much, yet makes choices that are anything but holy. He lived his spiritual life out loud.
David unashamedly danced before the LORD…
David longed to build a house for God…
David repeatedly showed grace to a man hell-bent on killing him (King Saul)…
David also allowed his sexual desire to cloud his thinking, the result was adultery and murder…
David also trusted in the size of his army at times rather than the size of his God…
But through all the events of David’s life, God was an internal humming in his soul, calling him back again and again to a relationship. In Psalm 69, when David is obviously overwhelmed, he said:
“Save me O’ God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.”
Life is hard…
Life is an assault of joy and pain…a medley of highs and lows…a symphony of dissonance and resolution.
If David’s thoughts and story ended there…it would be pretty sad, bleak, and depressing. But David choses to make a mind-shift in the midst of his honest reality. This shift is powerful. This shift is a game-changer. This shift can move you from the darkness to the light.
In verse 13 he says, “But I will pray to you.” David knows that he needs a hope bigger than himself, and God is that hope.
Eyes lifted up…
A heart drowning in pain…
BUT…I -will- pray to you. David commands his soul. He doesn’t allow his circumstances to command his destiny, God alone has the sovereignty to do that.
So he prays to God for help, believing that he will be heard…and he was.
David’s prayer moves his soul to worship…
Worship is a thin space between our reality and the presence of God…
Worship realigns our thoughts, motives and begins to expand our faith because we are immersing our mind with truth, God’s inspiration and perspective.
When we finally get God’s perspective, our circumstances have far less power to dominate us, and we are unleashed to believe and trust that God is at work…even in this.
In verses 30-36 David lets loose:
30 I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the Lord more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hooves.
32 The poor will see and be glad—
you who seek God, may your hearts live!
33 The Lord hears the needy
and does not despise his captive people.
34 Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and all that move in them,
35 for God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
Then people will settle there and possess it;
36 and those who love his name will dwell there.
David is experiencing a different soul-ular reality by the end of this Psalm.
He moves from: “Say it like it is” to prayer which allows him to again “Say it like it is” from a different perspective that is life-giving instead of life-depleting.
So if you need some rescue from the miry depths today, say it like it is…pray…and then say it like it is.
God loves your honesty and He smiles when you exhibit faith in the midst of the storm…remember, you matter to Him.
Great article Monty! Isn’t amazing how we forget that He knows our emotions and thoughts already? So, we choose to be less than authentic with the One who knows us completely. Has been a hard habit for me to break. Now, I am trying not to hide the emotion, including anger.
even anger is an emotion that comes from God…it is necessary and useful…but just as with any emotion, we have a tendency to pervert or distort it…our ability to be real and live without the masks defangs those distorted emotions and we can then live free to be ourselves. BTW, I loved the book recommend you gave me “The Cure” it’s a great read 🙂