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Up against it

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Psalm 105:4-9
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced ... He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations.

When I hear encouragement like this my heart fills up with joy. There is nothing shallow here, and nothing about the competence of any man or man-made thing to give me hope and a future. Words like these circle around whatever I have done to reduce God to my buddy or my companion or my helper. He might be all those things, but He is so much more.

Remember the cool poem about the old woman who swallowed the fly, and then some?

There was an old woman who swallowed a cow,
I don't know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

I've swallowed a fly or two. Short of following the old woman's example, there's nothing much that I can do. I've been at the wheel of a van screaming down a hill with no brakes, headed straight for a large tree. The van smashed into the tree and there I was, windshield right up against my face. There was nothing I could do.

Scream at the sky? Why? No sound from the Milky Way at midnight. My alone-ness shoves me further and further into anger and fear and desperation. Then the rumble of old voices, billions of old voices gradually takes shape in my ears and reminds me, "Look to the Lord and to his strength."

That's been the path for always and for ever. And ever will be.

Penetrate the armor I've engaged, Lord. You repair my broken walls. Let me look out again with clear eyes and see how I am wholly dependent on you for my protection and my life. Thank you!

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