Sometimes, with familiar people or unusual situations we miss the joy of God’s unique gift they or it can be.
Because of social distancing, we have missed seeing our middle Georgia grandkids. Normally, we find excuses to get together and do so often. So they surprised us Saturday afternoon and said they would be here at 9:30 in the evening. Such fun, and OH the differences! The oldest is no longer the tallest. The youngest is amazingly articulate. And the third oldest definitely is maturing in communication and interaction. Such joy they all brought!
How are you changing to be more like Christ, after all, it is our purpose (Romans 8:29)?
Enter Psalm 56, a personal lament by David. I join those that see it as a deeper lament, notable for thanksgiving, prayerful confession, and renewal. It, too, has a surprise and it—He—is God. Psalm 55 pointed us to the surprising situation where the enemy was David’s old friend. That stings. Psalm 56 now gives us a wonderful opportunity to vigorously pursue Christ in a devastating time because of the countercultural realization of God’s own wonderful character in our crisis. Listen in to verse 8: “You have kept count of my tossings [wanderings, miseries]; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?”
Two immeasurable, unalterable, indisputable things about God emerge from verse 8: God cares and God remembers our sorrows and struggles. We don’t expect one in crisis; we underestimate the other. Where do we get these unbiblical ideas the God of the Old Testament is merely a god of wrath. That god is not our God at all.
God cares in the tender picture of our tears being collected by God in a bottle. It must be huge. And, God remembers—He keeps a “book” (a record) of our losses and crosses. It must be like the Library of Congress. We are not forgotten; rewards are coming! A simple word study will highlight the generous, compassionate qualities of God in the Old Testament! It is unfortunate that negative views of a voracious god pursuing the ruin of his creatures saturates our culture (Cf. Isaiah 63:7-9).
So, in crisis—even in crisis—we can, for example, “consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3); “establish yourselves for the coming of the Lord” (James 5:8); “Humble yourselves before the Lord” (James 4:10); “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24); “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4); “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Psalm 56 is a stark reminder that any solution or thriving in crisis starts with a correct view of God. How are we growing in our appreciation of the actual God, revealed to us in the Scripture? How significant Psalm 56 ends not in panic or crisis, but in worship (vss. 9-13)!
It makes all the difference.