Monday, October 17, 2016

Psalm Variety

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 289: Today... I am grateful for the variety in the Psalms.  

Our pastor is teaching a series in "the Psalms". What's not to love about the Psalms? Well... I was reminded yesterday that a good portion of the Psalms comes from a place of struggle, depression and brokenness.  It is in segments and most often squeezed between more uplifting songs. 

A psalm is... a song, but we have lost the melodies. Perhaps we were meant to apply our own music so that it is meaningful in this time and at this moment.  

Song lyrics strengthen our spirits for the day's work ahead or they give a start to the tears that need to fall. Where did we every get the idea that weeping is for the weak? God gives us tears so we can release grief. I don't necessarily enjoy a good cry, but I always feel better when the weeping is over. 

I was reminded of a story I love to hear re-told. Most of us can feel the power of the old hymn "It Is Well" by Horatio Spafford. There is a reason it moves us. It was written from a broken yet faithful heart. 

Horatio and his wife Anne... over the short span of a decade experienced great loss. They lost their home in the great Chicago fire... their only son to scarlet fever at age four...and on the return from a European vacation, Anna and all four remaining children were in a shipwreck. All four daughters...were lost at sea in the wreckage. Anna awoke from the disaster, alive but alone. Their ages were eleven, nine, five and two. Horatio received word of the disaster and the loss when Anna got a message to him saying she alone had survived from their family. 

Surely, his heart asked, "Why?". Why did business delay him from returning with them? If he had only been there could he have saved them? The truth is that God's picture made no sense at all, but the Spaffords remained faithful. Upon his return trip from Europe, at the place the boat sank...he penned the words:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

How?  It was not Horatio's first great loss.  He had walked through trials before.  He knew the saving grace of the Lord was true. The strength found at the end of ours... the place were we fall completely exhausted and broken...into His arms. Like a child, clinging to a father or a mother, we can find rest. 

It begins with a song. It can be a sad song. Then, that song begins to change. 

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. -Psalm 25:14-15

Sing of the friendship and the promise. Look to His face. He is the solid rock, the strong tower and our deliverer. A new song is born. 

waited patiently for the Lordhe inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. -Psalm 40:1-3a

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Today... I am grateful for the variety in the Psalms.

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