Passion & Lament

Did you know that David complained to God? Well…maybe complained gives a little bit of a wrong connotation. But David DID tell God when he was upset. And he questioned where God was. He openly told God when he was feeling a little neglected and like the world was out to get him. He wonders where in the world God has disappeared off to and blatantly questions why things are happening to him.

On the other hand, David exemplifies what I consider to be “passion” in his faith. He extols and praises God for things that I can’t even understand wanting to be that thankful for. He gets so excited about everything. I feel like God could have been like “here David. I made you a thing. It’s useless and ugly but here,” and David would be like “HOLY WOW YOU ARE THE GREATEST IMMA WRITE YOU A SONG AND THEN EXUBERANTLY INTERPRETIVE DANCE TO IT IN FRONT OF EVERYONE (2 Samuel 6:13-14).”

And so I wonder. How did David get to have this gloriously close connection with God? He felt like he could tell him anything, their relationship was clearly very open. Maybe he knows something I don’t? How else can he harness such joy and passion to write things like “As the deer pants for water so my soul longs after you”??? And, presumably, MEAN IT? It’s easy to say thing but to write songs and put them to words implies a little more than heat of the moment concepts.

I think the answer, or rather the evidence supporting it, lies in David’s laments. David doesn’t just tell God how upset he is. Or how angry he is. Or how afraid he is. He weeps etc. but then he finishes on quite a different note. He finishes by saying how fab God is again. I’ll use Psalm 13 because it’s super short but illustrates my point just as well as the longer laments.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

TLDR: God my life is FALLING APART!!!! WHERE ARE YOU?!?!?!?! It’s ok though because you are the greatest ever and I know you know what you’re doing.

me: !!!!!!!

Even though he feels like he is dying and he has no idea what God is doing right now (can I get an amen?) he is STILL able to fall back on what he knows to be true. He reminds himself that God knows what he’s doing. He is sovereign. He has been good in the past — bountiful even! Therefore he will continue to praise and worship even though his life is totes falling apart (context wise, he was really sick and didn’t want to die).

The real question is…how does he do this? How can he turn, in difficult times, to continually praising God?

Not going to leave you hanging, I promise.

Clearly David knows God. He knows him well. He has sought after him and learned about him. We can see evidence of that in all his other psalms, his life patterns, and also the fact that God picked him to be the next king because he was a man after God’s own heart. And the result of all this “knowing” is that he has something to fall back onto.

I have lots of friends that I don’t see vhry as often as I would like due to distance. But I know that they are still my friends. I believe that. And when I don’t see/hear from them for a little while I don’t go “oh we aren’t friends anymore,” I rely on what I know to be true and then a few weeks later maybe a letter shows up in the mail. It is our solid friendship and experiences together in the past that allow me to get through the not present parts.

How does David get this with God? Shoot, he spends time with him! What is the magical secret to praising and trusting God in the good times and in the bad times?

Blessed is the man[a]
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3

I might add “more able to remember the steadfastness and the glory of the Lord is he who has sought after and experienced it already.”

So I encourage you, as I encourage myself, have you spent time lately building up your friendship with God? And if not, will you start now?

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