May 17, Sunday

UPDATED Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., was originally posted on March 23, 2013; it has been updated. Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Be Honest to God”

Psalm 39:12-13

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to my cry for help, be not deaf to my weeping.  For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger as all my fathers were.  Look away from me that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more.” 

liubov-ilchuk-xHfWl35OOsg-unsplashTimes of disorientation—like the pandemic that has turned our lives upside down—are a necessary part of growth and they are painful by definition.  Consider the life of David.

On the road to becoming the king of Israel and the man after God’s own heart, King David loses his best friend, is hunted down like a criminal, and suffers through a broken marriage.  Anything tragic that you can imagine, it probably happened in the life of David.  It is no wonder that he ends Psalm 39 with these words that seem borderline blasphemy because David is essentially saying to God, “Get out of my life so that I can be happy again.”

To some degree, he is correct in his assessment of his life.  If God had not called him to become king over his father-in-law (Saul), he would have avoided a lot of the trouble.  In his pain, David actually articulates to God the very thing that many of us are afraid to express.  Psalm 39 is the only psalm that ends with such a negative tone and most likely represents the lowest point of David’s life.  Some people ask me if we are allowed to pray this way and I usually tell them, this is where authentic prayer begins.

Walter Brueggemann, in his book Praying the Psalms, writes: “The Psalms, with a few exceptions, are not the voice of God addressing us.  They are rather the voice of our own common humanity….”  Not surprisingly, since this is the voice of people like us, the psalms reveals all of our own frailties, our fears, our anger, our doubts, and even the expression of those things we thought we couldn’t be honest about.  And many of us, overwhelmed by a sense of loss brought on by the unforeseen pandemic, are feeling this way at the present moment. 

Be honest with God. I have always said that those who can’t be honest with God can’t be honest with others, and worst of all, cannot be honest with themselves.  Prayer has to be an open and genuine dialogue with God.  Spend time this coming week in authentic communication with God and listen for his voice.  Turn this pandemic into a great opportunity to become really intimate with the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, help me to sense Your presence amid all the turmoil.  Let me not forget that You are in the midst of the storms of my life and are always watching over me.  Strengthen me to never let You go but hold tightly to Your outstretched arm.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 24

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