Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Little Perspective

Like sands through an hourglass... 
It's episode 761 of "The Days of David's Life."

We pick up the story at the corner of David's Dysfunction Junction. David, forced into hiding because his son Absalom wants him dethroned, is singing a most desperate and heart-wrenching song to the Lord.

David knows that many are betting against him and public opinion is that he won't survive this attack on his kingdom. How painful that would be-to face such an uprising at the hands of one's own flesh and blood! How disconcerting to know that his own child is so incredibly disillusioned by his leadership! I am not going to rehash all of the events that led David to hide from his own child, but from the Biblical account, it's clear that David's many and varied poor choices have created the cold front that tangles with the warm front of Absalom's raging anger and passionate displeasure with his father - thus leading to the storm raging around David as we find him in Psalm 3.

David has to be questioning a few things as he is forced to run. He must wonder if his anointing to replace Saul as King is really all it's cracked up to be. It's probably reminding him of the many times in the past in which he ran from his last foe. 

I read and I wonder, in the deepest recesses of his heart, does David ever even once wish God would have left him there to shepherd his small flock?  
His anointing has a cost.  
His disobedience an even greater price.  

O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” 

Can't you hear him?! 

"God help me. Everyone is breathing down my neck. My biggest enemy has been borne from my own loins and even desires me dead. Others shake their heads, knowing I'm a goner."

Maybe you've been there too and quietly (because you feel ashamed to even think this way about the call and the blessing but) you wonder why God didn't just leave you to tend sheep?  
Maybe the calling is too hard. 
Requires too much sacrifice.
Makes you feel so incredibly out of your element.
Causes others to question your ability. 
Leaves you to ask "Why?" as those around you look far more capable of fulfilling your call with a greater measure of grace and wisdom.

As I write tonight, a tuckered little girl is peacefully asleep in the next room after a raging tantrum that lasted for 2 hours, the likes of which I hoped were behind us.  I wonder too, am I really cut out to give her what she so desperately needs? With weary bones, I am uttering that same cry...
God, are you sure you could use someone like me? 

I am more than needy to get a glimpse of what God sees.

These words drip with vulnerability and perhaps a dangerous amount of honesty so that you might know, Beloved ones, you are not alone. Even the people we esteem to hero status in the Book needed reassurance.  Needed perspective.

The way the next two verses of this psalm plays out reveals an answer - of sorts - to all those questions and every single one I simply couldn't bear to write because it hit too close to home. 

But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

The change in sentiment from verses 1 and 2 to verse 3 is pretty surprising.  It caught me off guard, and I  found a suggestion to explain this in a commentary I consulted.  The commentator wrote that perhaps during the SELAH (rest or pause) between the verses, David decides to turn his eyes from the situation (his son wanting his kingdom, his need to hide, etc) and focuses them on the God about whom he would later pen these words.  

God's kind, intimate action of lifting David's head from his surroundings is not lost on David here.  He begins to see a God who cares enough to bestow glory and favor on him by plucking him from the fields and placing him in the palace, forgiving him of sin and purposing him to be one of the greatest kings the world has ever known 

 To the LORD I cry aloud,
 and he answers me from his holy hill.

David, not unlike his new covenant counterparts, lets out a cry from the deepest places inside of him to the One who created those places. 

David gets a response, but he doesn't elaborate on it.  My best guess is those four words at the end gave the best answer of all.

from His holy hill...

Do you ever cry out to the One who sees what you cannot?  

David received something better than an explanation (for his call or for his trouble) in this particular song to God.   

He glimpses into the benevolent heart of God, who has already written the Beginning and the End. God sees much more than us from His vantage point on a Holy mountain.

We cannot fully understand the occasionally mysterious inclinations of His ways, but we can trust that from His viewpoint, God is orchestrating a great symphony, and His instruments must be finely-tuned.  That fine-tuning is only present through challenge.  Herein lies the gift of perspective.  It's a realization that we don't want a God we can fully understand or comprehend.  We want a God whose ways are higher.  I want a God I can't figure out completely...because I need a God who knows better than I do.  

When we cry out, we may not receive an answer of explanation, but we hear from a God who sits on a mountain and sees the whole picture at once.

A God who purposed in His heart to go to that Holy Mountain called Calvary and nail His broken body to a cross in order to afford us the gift of perspective - a realization of how much we are loved.

There's a poem I love...I first read it in my mom's little shop a decade ago and the truth of it has stuck to me like paste to a preschooler, and boy I'm glad.  

I don't know why I was called to be a pastor's wife and a foster mom.  I don't feel so good at either thing some days and if I'm honest, I often wonder why God didn't leave me in the field with my flock, so to speak.  The understanding that God is all-powerful and all-wise and all-knowing comforts my heart much more than a trite answer for my present doubt.  It's a gift for my whole life - my whole journey - a life spent climbing the mountain and the promise that one day I will see what He sees from His holy hill.  

My Life is but a weaving
between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the under side.

Not til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.

Could I suggest a song or two that may encourage you tonight?

How about a passage of Scripture to minister to the situations in your life that need perspective?

Friend, His weaving will be the most beautiful your eyes have ever seen - because you will have lived every stitch of it.

Know you are loved in this space...


Anonymous said...

I LOVE this, Lauren, and I love that poem, too. Do you know the story of how Corrie ten Boom used the poem along with a piece of tapestry to show the threads all a-jumble underneath but a beautiful weaving on the top side? I think of that every time I see the poem.

Prayers for you and your family.

Sandy Croslow (posting anonymously because my blogger signon is messed up. :))

Mandy said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart! Today, my hubby and I were talking about how the demands of "life" sometimes are just hard... And then I read these words, then I read them again aloud to my hubby... After a week of being sick, having sick kids, etc., etc.,etc., and feeling exhausted and drained, reading these words was such an encouragement and gave me the perspective I needed to be reminded of. Thankful God is in control and can see the big picture "from His holy hill." Thankful for you and your beautiful heart.