June 23, 2010

Why Are You Downcast, O My Soul?

What are you worried about? What's bringing you grief?

List these things on a piece of paper. I'm not kidding.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

If you've read past the this first half of the Gettysburg Address without writing a list, do it now!

If you put your arms around me, could it change the way I feel? I guess I let myself believe that the outside might just bleed its way in; maybe stir the sleeping past, lying under glass, waiting for the kiss that breaks this awful spell. Pull me out... of this lonely cell.

If you haven't done it by now, after the first verse to Jars of Clay's Something Beautiful, there's not much I can do to convince you.

At the top of this list, write "Situations that God will bring victory through." Worry not, I did this myself a few minutes ago. And I have some of the same feelings you probably have; I want to let my negative feelings about these situations have priority in how I think about them. But there's a better way.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

James 1:2-6

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:11

Yes, these situations are tough and they hurt. We need to acknowledge that, talk to people about them, get help. Don't pretend the hurt isn't there.

The way we change our thinking about these situation and begin to focus on God and how he is doing great and positive things through them is by praying and talking to other Christians. Pray for wisdom to endure the trials, and know that God will give it to you. Pray that God will bring about a change in your attitude, that his peace will guard your heart. Talk to seasoned Christians about what you're going through, and they'll offer words of encouragement for you to dwell on.

I'm not just saying these things... this is very much what I'm learning right now. If you want to, get in touch with me and we can talk.

It's tough, no doubt; but it's an honor, and it brings glory to God's name to consider all these trials pure joy. He'll bring relief, in time. Read the Psalms... forty-two is a good place to start.

My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"

These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

1 comment:

  1. You're such a blessing, Zach! I praise our Father for your faithfulness in writing what He has placed on your heart. He is so faithful to speak through the brothers and sisters in our lives! What a comfort to know that the Lord, who is a greater sculptor than Michelangelo, is knocking off every bit of marble in me that doesn't look like His Son.