Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hope and a Future

For years I have avoided the idea of the "grateful journal," even though I knew it would probably be a good thing, particularly for someone like me who tends toward the melancholy- although, I also tend toward the hyper spastic. (What do they call that? Manic? Not me!) Anyway, I avoided it because Oprah advocates it, or at least she did, and I have a huge problem with Oprah. So my loathing for her has kept me from doing something I know I could benefit from because I don't want to do anything she thinks is good. How dumb is that? Beyond dumb is what it is. Okay, so lately what I have been doing is sort of tromping through the Psalms at a snail's pace- "tromping" because I just sort of thud through looking for something helpful. As I have shared, for a while I have just been weary and heavy hearted. And I am in good company in the Psalms. David is all about some woe. But last week brought everything from flat tires and multiple rejection letters in the mail to the tragic death of two people our church community had been praying faithfully for, both entirely too young to be leaving this world, one only two days after entering it. And I don't mean to pretend that the last week was the start of the heavy heartedness, I just mean that last week really really stunk.

So last night I was reading Psalm 92, again actually because I couldn't remember my place (which shows how really studious I am being...), and then I found my place and realized I was a couple of Psalms ahead and read Psalm 96. So, on the one hand, I got "It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by night."(Ps. 92: 1 and 2) which I quite grumpily realized I had already read and felt quite contemptuous toward the psalmist as my morning had been spent at the funeral of an infant and did not seem to have anything to do with "steadfast love." And on the other hand, when I gladly left that Psalm behind, I got "Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens." (Ps. 96: 1-5) Hmmm. Seems like the psalmists are really pushing this whole declaring business. From day to day? In the morning and by night?

But what really caught me was the "worthless idols" part. The only comforting things you can think of when someone dies are things like the resurrection to come and that that person is with the LORD where "sickness, sorrow, pain, and death are felt and feared no more." I have thought a lot over the past two days about how hopeless these deaths make me feel, and yet also how much more hope and comfort we have as Christians than any other poor mother or sister or wife or friend has when she loses her beloved. Any other god is particularly worthless in view of death. And that makes me want to declare our God's glory. There is still the problem of death. There is still the problem of sadness and sorrow and suffering. But the only hope in light of those things is the faithfulness and steadfast love of the LORD, elusive as it seemingly can be.

I am not saying I am going to start a "grateful journal." Whenever I hear someone talk about "an attitude of gratitude," I want to punch them in the face. Let me just be clear about that right now. And there is really nothing to be grateful about on a day like yesterday. And yet, somehow there was. Somehow the LORD was gracious to me and gave me comfort. He is our King. And he has beaten death. He is risen and is reigning now and makes all things new. And that offers us amazing hope- even in spite of tragedy -hope that many people do not have. And even though I am still sad and heavy hearted over these tragedies, and even over the comparatively minute tragedies of unemployment and car problems and the prosperity of the wicked and, most recently, the forlornness of a young homeless girl I saw on the side of the road today, I rejoice with the psalmist and all the earth because the LORD reigns and "he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He shall judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness." (Ps. 96:13) And I just thought I'd share that.

2 comments:

e.c. said...

Awesome, Abby...and I don't mean that in a trite way..that is REALLY AWESOME! I am moved to tears, and yes, what you shared gives us all great hope for the future, despite the brokenheartedness(I think I just broke spell-check!) that living in this present world brings.

Trent&Emily said...

Abby, thanks for the comment on my blog. It was good to hear from you. I'm not glad that the mattress is ruined, but I guess glad that Papias wasn't the cause of its ultimate demise. I actually didn't remember that part. Did he ruin anything else?

Anyways, my heart has been heavy this week from the sad and untimely loss of the little girl you were blogging about who was only on this Earth for 2 days. It has made me long for the new heavens and the new earth when we can even taunt death like in 1 Cor 15 where it says "Where O death is your sting?" Or maybe I should be thinking of Rev 21 where we get the beautiful picture of no more death, pain, sickness, suffering. Your post was helpful as I've questioned why we have to go through such suffering on this Earth like the family in your church. It's just not right.

Enough for now...thanks for the comment & post.

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