In such times, I wonder how it can be that I trust God so little. Oh, I understand faith– I write and speak of faith. But there are times when it is hard to exercise it.
A number of years ago, one of my best friends was going through a time such as this. Like me, he handled the Word every day. At the time, he was doing his dissertation. But he had come to a time when his relationship with God seemed distant and dry. God seemed far away. Sad to say, I had no advice for him at that time.
Of course, I could have said, “If God seems far away, who do you think moved?” But I find bumper-sticker religion not only not helpful, but annoying. So the Golden Rule prevented me from saying it.
However, this morning, years later, in my own dry time, I have found the answer–for me, for this dry time. I began again the systematic reading of Psalms. You alll probably know of it. Read the psalm for the day– today is May 3, so psalm 3– and every 30th psalm after that: 33, 63, 93, 123. In a month, you will read all of the 150 psalms.
I began reading teh psalms this morning, and immediately hy heart felt hope. That’s the great thing about the Psalms. They cover the spectrum of human emotions and experience. Are you angry? The Psalmist knows anger. Are you fearful? The Psalmist experienced fear? Are you on the point of despair? There are despairing psalms, too. But the Psalmisst takes every one of these emotions to God. They are not all pretty. Some are almost barbaric. But they are all authentic.
And that is where the hope comes in. When we join in with the psalmist, we realize what he realized: that God loves and accepts us, even at our worst. Scripture describes David as a man after God’s own heart. And the psalms confirm that it was not David’s perfect conduct that made him so; it was in his bringing himself, even the ugly parts, to God.
When we do that, and experience God’s love in spite of our ugliness, it is truly like springs in the desert.