Friday, April 8, 2011

And if you don't ask questions, you won't know why

Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you. Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call. For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace. My heart is stricken and withered like grass; I am too wasted to eat my bread. Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my skin.

I am like an owl of the wilderness, like a little owl of the waste places. I lie awake; I am like a lonely bird on the housetop. All day long my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse. For I eat ashes like bread, and mingle tears with my drink, because of your indignation and anger; for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside. My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.

But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; your name endures to all generations. You will rise up and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to favor it; the appointed time has come. For your servants hold its stones dear, and have pity on its dust. The nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory. For the Lord will build up Zion; he will appear in his glory. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.

Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord: that he looked down from his holy height, from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die; so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord. He has broken my strength in midcourse; he has shortened my days. “O my God,” I say, “do not take me away at the midpoint of my life, you whose years endure throughout all generations.”

Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away; but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall live secure; their offspring shall be established in your presence.

- Psalm 102

I saw a church reader board the other day that says, “Faith is a journey, not a guilt trip.” That’s certainly been true for me. Like the Psalmist, I sometimes cry out to God. At other times, I go along blithely forgetting about God. At still others, God and I walk silently together, not speaking much but totally aware of each other’s presence.

Lent has been like all three of these things for me this year. I cried out in indignation at the disasters in Japan and at political turmoil here in the U.S. Some mornings, I thought, “Oh no, do I have to write again today?” But most often of all, I’ve felt God as a constant companion on my travels. I need this most of all: I need to be able to ask God questions, and not just when I'm desperate. But sometimes I feel desperate, too, and I know God understands.

I’m a sucker for great, catchy pop songs, even if they were never really hits to begin with. This song was a hit at one Texas radio station in the summer of 2001. But I love the minor key and the desperation of it; it feels like a psalm to me. Here’s “Pray” by Tina Cousins.

1 comment:

  1. Great song and reflection. Thank you for sharing it. :-)