Thursday, August 16, 2007

Psalm 27: Hearts at Rest

"Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear..."

I would like to say
my heart is at rest,
but I can't.
I would like to think
I always rest in God's care,
but I don't.
I would love to declare
my faith is unwavering,
but it isn't.
I wish it was a fact
fear is a thing of my past,
but it simply isn't.
It would be nice to know
trust's struggle is over,
but it isn't.
I wish I never wanted
to be
my own sovereign,
but I do.
I want to have unbroken rest
the hand of God's love,
but I don't.
I long to face difficulty
question or doubt,
but I don't.
I do not want to
my Father's love,
but I do.
I wish I never questioned
Lord's good plan,
but I do.
The struggle is better
it once was,
but not done.
My rest is more consistent
it used to be,
but not complete.
My heart enjoys a greater ease
in earlier days of faith,
but unrest comes.
I have lived with you
seen your care,
but questions come.
I have seen you do
I could not have conceived,
but still doubt.
I have been in awe
the provisions of your grace,
but anxiety comes.
I have submitted myself
your will and way,
but still rebel.
So with rest in your forgiveness
confidence in your power,
I come.
With a needy heart
craves your help,
I pray:
"Help me Father today
let go of my need,
to always understand.
Enable me to live in rest
I don't know before
what will happen.
Help me to have a restful heart
opposition is great,
and all I have is you."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Psalm 27 and Everyday Life

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.

8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27 really is an amazing psalm. There are moments when it soars with the thoughts of what it means to be a child of the Lord. There are places where it reaches into the harshest realities of life in a very broken world. There are times when this psalm is a scalpel, cutting through the layers and exposing the heart. It is a psalm of worship, commitment, trouble, beauty, and patience. There's a way in which Psalm 27 is a biblical worldview done as a podcast. There simply is much more there than you think there is after your first reading.

So, like I did with Psalm 51, I'm going to spend some months camping on Psalm 27.

I had a friend who had quite a large rose garden. He was very dedicated to doing all the daily tasks that were necessary to keep his roses healthy. But it hit him one day that he'd taken no time to actually enjoy the roses that he was so zealous to tend. So, one afternoon he did just that. He sat down in front of one of his rose bushes for three hours. As he sat, he began to see, smell, and hear things that he wouldn't have experienced any other way. Contrary to what you may think, the time didn't drag on. He was enthralled by the created glory that he was taking in. And as he sat there, he began to realize why those bushes were worth the commitment and the effort that he'd been investing. But there's more; after his three-hour gaze of that one bush, he would never, could never, look at roses as he once did. That afternoon he saw, really saw, what a rose was about and new sight had changed him.

So, I'm inviting you to sit down with me in front of Psalm 27. I'm inviting you to keep your eyes focused and your ears tuned. I'm inviting you to open your heart to what you may have been too busy to see. I'm inviting you to "gaze upon the beauty of the Lord." And I would imagine that if you are willing to do that, like my friend, somehow, someway, you'll get up a changed person.