No matter how happy I am, no matter how successful, no matter how rosy the future seems, I can always count on those times of disappointment to suck the hope right out of me. Disappointment is that distasteful experience that life gives us, especially when our hopes are most high. Why is that? Don’t we deserve a nice smooth road, all the way to the finish line? It would be nice, but as everyone knows, that is never the guarantee.
The Bible is filled with disappointment. The writers were often in difficult situations, even life threatening situations, and those were the times that they burst into song. The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalms 119, and the shortest is right next door, Psalms 117. That small chapter probably was written at a time when the Psalmist felt most alone, even forgotten, yet he wrote just one verse to celebrate his stubborn trust in the Lord.
As a writer and a poet, I am intimately familiar with those times when words fail me. How can I tell God how much I love Him, when I’m feeling numb? When I’m so low that I have to climb three flights of stairs, just to reach bottom, how can I be grateful? When depression falls on me like a steel safe, what can I say? Well, this must have been how the Psalmist felt, who wrote Psalms 117.
“Praise the Lord all you Gentiles (Nations)!
Laud Him, all you peoples!
For His merciful kindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!”
All those exclamation points, every phrase tells me that the Psalmist cried out, against all odds, perhaps against his own disappointment; yet in spite of every discontent, he would praise the Lord. He actually invites and exhorts everyone to do the same. Be firm. Be stubborn. Shout. When all else fails, there is only One to turn to! Now, everyone Praise the Lord!
I love Psalm 117, not because of its great beauty or because of its great poetry. I love it for its stubborn declaration, no matter the odds, even if we can’t possibly win, turn to God, and praise Him with everything you’ve got.
Today is a day of great disappointment for me. The particulars do not matter. I feel a bit of despair, and I have no answer to my problem. It would be nice if God would give me a clear answer. I would welcome a memo. Just a few lines that explain why all this is happening. Sometimes God makes things clear, and sometimes He doesn’t. As He says, in Isaiah 55:8,
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
This is where I find comfort. God’s words tell me that I’m not in charge, and I am thankful for that. I don’t HAVE to be in charge. I can wait for Him. His thoughts are greater than mine. His ways are higher and more pure. He has the answer, and when knowing that is just killing me, I can trust Him to make all things clear in His time.
How sad it is to expect to have the answer. How despairing it is to depend on oneself. Because when one has failed to solve the problem, who does one turn to? Where do you go from here? This may not make much sense to those who hold the illusion of control, but for someone like me, it is the perfect answer. I can trust my God. I don’t have to be in control, and I can thank Him and praise Him, just because He is. Praise the Lord!
Accepting His Grace
Was I grateful enough when the heavens broke
And the angels cried real tears?
Was I humble enough when He healed my heart
So laden with burdens and fears?
Do I understand His sacrifice?
Can I possibly comprehend;
That He loved me before I was lovable,
And each day He loves me again?
I am broken inside when I think of all
His love that He poured out for me;
Drop by drop within my heart
How can I lift my eyes to His
When for me He suffered such pain?
How can He see me as I am,
Yet love me again and again?
Unworthy though I surely am,
I must accept His grace;
For heaven will never be heaven unless
I forever behold His face.
© Jaye Lewis, September 22, 2005
Lord, this is my testimony. I will trust You, when all my hope is gone. I will praise You, when I am filled with doubts. I will have faith in Your answer, when my faith is small, and I will thank You, when I feel my teeth on edge. Thank You Lord that You are in charge, so that I don’t have to be.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008