This is a picture of me trying to find the peas growing in the garden at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church. The peas are very hard to find because they are buried deep among the leaves. The job is a tedious one and most folks don’t enjoy hunting for them. In fact, as we worked we wondered how folks did that day in and day out.
This certainly hits upon one of my weaknesses since it is difficult for me to focus on something when there are many things around it. I concentrated and worked slowly. I must say, it seems I have to do most things slowly and sometimes I get frustrated with this.
When I begin to feel like this, I like to turn to the Psalms. The Psalm writers have so many emotions and when I’m feeling low, it helps me to read them. I especially like Psalm 77 by Eugene Peterson. Peterson’s is not a direct translation but his words are very earthy and seem to get at the writer’s coontemporary meaing.
“I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might. I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens. I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord; my life was an open wound that wouldn’t heal. When friends said, ‘Everything will turn out all right,’ I didn’t believe a word they said.”
“I remember God – and shake my head. I bow my head – then wring my hands. I’m awake all night – not a wink of sleep; I can’t even say what’s bothering me. I go over the days one by one, I ponder the years gone by. I strum my lute all through the night, wondering how to get my life together.”
“Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good? Will he never smile again? Is his love worn threadbare? Has his salvation promise burned out? Has God forgotten his manners? Has he angrily stalked off and left us? ‘Just my luck,’ I said. ‘The High God Goes out of business just the moment I need him.’ “
“Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts. Oh God! Your way is holy! No god is great like God! You’re the God who makes things happen; you showed everyone what you can do – You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble, rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph”
“Ocean saw you in action, God, saw you and trembled with fear; Deep Ocean was scared to death. Clouds belched buckets of rain, Sky exploded with thunder, your arrows flashing this way and that. From Whirlwind came your thundering voice, Lightning exposed the world, Earth reeled and rocked. You strode right through Ocean, and nobody saw you come or go. Hidden in the hands of Moses and Aaron, You led your people like a flock of sheep.”
I love some of his language in this Psalm. “I strum my lute all through the night, wondering how to get my life together.” I don’t strum my lute but I do read the New York Times and drink too much coffe much when I feel like my life isn’t together!
I like that the Psalmist thinks back on what God has done. This helps me immensely to look back on my life and see how God has led me. I remember a couple years after my injury I couldn’t find a volunteer position that used my gifts. However one day out of desperation, I walked into a local retirement center to see if they needed a volunteer chaplain. They did and I learned a lot there. I’m trying to be patient and it helps to remember all that God has done for me up until this point.
Do you have moments in your life when you feel like God isn’t leading you? Does it help to look back and see how God has been with you in the past? Feel free to comment here or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org