Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This morning I woke up in time to wander out to the dunes and watch the sunrise.  Clouds had gathered on the horizon, piling up like a wild throng of people waiting for a celebrity, so I wasn't sure how much I would be able to see.  But I nestled myself into the dunes between tall grasses and bushy yellow flowers that looked like very short black eyed susans.  As I waited, I worked on remembering the psalm I memorized last summer, psalm 42:

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"

These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?"

My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

In a previous post, I mentioned feeling on the edge of a vast spiritual desert, and I was reminded the other day of being smack in the middle of that desert.  Being at the beach has reminded me that being in a desert isn't just about being hot and dry, it means having sand and grit irritate every inch of your body, having everything taste wrong because you can't get the salt out of your mouth, and having searing headaches from sunlight bouncing off of every exposed surface. But the beach is also deeply beautiful. If you look past the people frying themselves like bacon and the little old couples with metal detectors, when you look out at the ocean, you're looking at one of the last great wildernesses on earth.  The breadth and depth of the ocean is staggering, even what we can measure is incomprehensible when you stand before it.  No wonder normally gregarious people walk along the edge of the waves in subdued quiet.  Just being close to something so wild and untamable is oddly reassuring.

Can you draw your own spiritual parallels there?  As I waited for the sunrise this morning while mulling over psalm 42 and feeling gritty and greasy and slightly cold, I was afraid I had missed it with all the clouds.  But I began to notice a spot on the horizon where pink was showing through, and sure enough, as I watched the sun didn't just rise, it melted away the clouds on the horizon.

And I was reminded of the other psalm I memorized last summer (that I also need to work on again), psalm 130:

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?

But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.

I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.

He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

And I am once again encouraged to wait on the Lord, no matter how greasy or gritty my life seems at the moment.  He will come and everything unimportant, including my sin and struggles, will melt away.

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