There’s a Proverb that says something to the effect “don’t sing cheerful songs to a downtrodden heart.”
As a bit of a dramatic pre-teen, this Proverbs made sense to me. I mean, when the boy you wanted to be interested in YOU starts dating someone else, you didn’t want your best friend to immediately start talking about other boys who are even cuter and smarter and more awesome that that boy, inadvertently reminding you of the cuteness, smartness and awesomeness of the boy who just broke your heart.
At least I didn’t. I wanted some company in my wallowing misery first. Then, maybe after a bit, I could put up with some cheering. First though, wallowing in misery.
So, there I was yesterday, on day 4 of bed-rest, reading through Psalm 147. And, dang it all if the Psalm violated the wallowing-Proverb-rule. Praise the LORD. how good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! Psalm 147:1.
“Excuse me, Lord?” I found myself asking. “These last 5 months I’ve been expecting to work, take care of Jubilee, finish stockpiling for my maternity leave, save up a bit more money, take some time off for Christmas and THEN have this little boy in February with no problems and be on my merry — if busier — way.”
“NOW you let me in that this is NOT the plan. Instead, we have option A: this baby may be born in the next couple weeks — probably survive, but have a significant risk of health problems — or, option B: this baby is born in about 8 weeks as planned, but I’m on bed rest as complete invalid the entire time.”
“And now you’re telling me how FITTING IT IS TO PRAISE YOU?!? When my life is NOT GOING AS EXPECTED?!? And things could get really really really hard in all kinds of unexpected ways?”
I’ve learned; however, to swallow my initial reaction to snap my Bible shut at the first sign I haven’t flipped to the “right” passage, and I continued to read my morning Psalm.
The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving, make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
As I read these words, they began to sink in. As the passage says, the Lord is mighty and He understands. He knows all the stars in the sky, he provides grass for the cows, decides when it will snow, when the snow will melt … Nothing in nature is a surprise to him.
Neither is anything happening in my life, my body, a surprise to him.
And, this God, who has the great power to direct the very elements also promises to heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds. He delights not in the things I can do for him, my strength and own accomplishments, but he delights in me when I put my hope in his unfailing love.
This is my challenge right now then, as much as it is my challenge everyday, to put my hope in his unfailing love. Whatever happens. This God who intimately knows every star, he delights in me when I trust him. His love may not result in the outcome I thought I wanted, but my task is to trust and hope in that love.
He knows better than me. It is good to praise the Lord.