Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's in there...

The Psalter is like Prego.

Back in the dark ages, Prego ran a series of commercials with the tag line of "It's in there."  The idea was that Prego had all the fresh and tasty ingredients that a chef would put into homemade spaghetti sauce.  Name an ingredient and it is in Prego.

The Psalter is like Prego.  No matter what you need or want or think or feel or fear, it is in the collection of prayers our Triune God has given us to pray.

I am no skilled at asking for things.  I mean, when I think I am being blunt and bold and straightforward, few hear my cry.  When I know I have asked directly, I mostly receive silence.  Asking for things is not really in my wheelhouse.

Here, there, and everywhere, I have made no secret of how much I crave hearing the Living Word and how much it helps me.  I have also made no secret how much the Psalter means to me and how much hearing it helps me.  I hide there.  I live there.  I am safe there.

Yesterday was hard.  Lots has been hard of late.  But yesterday was especially especially hard.  There I was, weeping and despairing, and Marie called.  She asked me how I was and I blurted out all this anguish.  Sniffing to a close, I managed to ask her how she was doing with her wretched cold and if she was calling because I offered to help if she needed anything, after watching her descend into the depths of a miserable cold before my eyes on Saturday.  Funny thing is ... Marie was calling to help me!

She offered to read and pray Psalms with me.

Marie started with a psalm she thought might be a good one for me, Psalm 38:

O LORD, rebuke me not in Thy wrath,
And chasten me not in Thy burning anger.
For Thine arrows have sunk deep into me,
And Thy hand has pressed down on me.
There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine indignation;
There is no health in my bones because of my sin.
For my iniquities are gone over my head;

As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.
My wounds grow foul and fester
Because of my folly.
I am bent over and greatly bowed down;
I go mourning all day long.
For my loins are filled with burning,
And there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am benumbed and badly crushed;
I groan because of the agitation of my heart.

LORD, all my desire is before Thee;
And my sighing is not hidden from Thee.
My heart throbs, my strength fails me;
And the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me.
My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague;
And my kinsmen stand afar off.
Those who seek my life lay snares for me;
And those who seek to injure me have threatened destruction,
And they devise treachery all day long.
But I, like a deaf man, do not hear;
And I am like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
Yes, I am like a man who does not hear,
And in whose mouth are no arguments.
For I hope in Thee, O LORD;
Thou wilt answer, O LORD my God.
For I said, "May they not rejoice over me,
Who, when my foot slips, would magnify themselves against me."

For I am ready to fall,
And my sorrow is continually before me.
For I confess my iniquity;
I am full of anxiety because of my sin.
But my enemies are vigorous and strong,
And many are those who hate me wrongfully.
And those who repay evil for good,
They oppose me, because I follow what is good.
Do not forsake me, O LORD;
O my God, do not be far from me!
Make haste to help me,
O LORD, my salvation!

One of the reasons the Psalter is like Prego is that for all the time I have spent reading and listening to those 150 prayers they are new, are fresh, are timely, and are perfect ... for me.  Did you catch the word that is perfect for Myrtle?

The totally wonderful, totally awe-filling part was that the perfect word in the Word was not in the version that Marie was reading to me, but it was in mine.  The perfect word in the Word leapt off the page and wrapped itself around my anguished soul and held it.

I am benumbed and badly crushed;
I groan because of the agitation of my heart. 

God understands numbness.
He understands me.

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!

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