By: Jana Greene
A long time ago, when I had retrospectively minimalist problems, I used to read the Psalms out loud in my morning devotion time. Until recently, I’d forgotten how much power is invoked in reading them aloud.
It’s 4 a.m. right now. And it’s me, it’s me, it’s me, Oh Lord…..standing in the need of prayer. I’ve been up all night with gargantuan aches, pains, and the like – that seem hellbent of keeping me awake.
The Bible says that biblical David was a man after God’s own heart, but if you read the scripture, it seems that David was a bit of a whiner at best, and a real drama queen at worst. I mucked up a lot, made a lot of mistakes, and STILL God knew his deep and abiding love for him. I absolutely love Kind David. He GETS me.
Yesterday, I got some medical news that I suspected was coming. I’d warned my mind and body about it (as the symptoms had already revealed themselves to said mind and body), but my Spirit put up quite a fit upon learning what’s going on. Renal issues. Enlarged Liver issues. Chronic pain and more migraines to expect. Fatigue as the order of the day forthcoming. And leg and foot cramps that make you want to cry uncle at the top of your lungs at 2 a.m. (My poor, poor husband, I KNOW he is losing sleep…..)
Oh, and did I mention mental health issues arising from dealing with the stress of all of the above PLUS childhood trauma that has never been dealt with, and a whole lifetime of untreated depression? As I lurch forward in treatment for mental health issues, I’m feeling black-and-blue, my heart beat up badly, and bones and soul, too.
Which brings me back to the biblical David, bitcher of circumstance, beloved man after God’s own heart (is it possible to be both? I’m kind of counting on it….) Like David, I am on the cusp of digging deeper in my faith. Like David, I’m getting ready to clean out my closet and make room for fresh hope.
The Psalms are best read aloud because you can better capture biblical David’s desperation aloud. He is one of my favorite biblical characters because he can slay giants, become a mighty king, loves God with all of his heart, and seemingly and impulsively throw it away for a hot chick in a bathtub. Hey, who am I to judge?
Here is a man who knows frustration. Here is a man who gave us authentic prayer of the highest order.
Pray it aloud when you are at the end of your proverbial rope:
1-2 Please, God, no more yelling,
no more trips to the woodshed.
Treat me nice for a change;
I’m so starved for affection.
2-3 Can’t you see I’m black-and-blue,
beat up badly in bones and soul?
God, how long will it take
for you to let up?
4-5 Break in, God, and break up this fight;
if you love me at all, get me out of here.
I’m no good to you dead, am I?
I can’t sing in your choir if I’m buried in some tomb!
6-7 I’m tired of all this—so tired. My bed
has been floating forty days and nights
On the flood of my tears.
My mattress is soaked, soggy with tears.
The sockets of my eyes are black holes;
nearly blind, I squint and grope.
8-9 Get out of here, you Devil’s crew:
at last God has heard my sobs.
My requests have all been granted,
my prayers are answered.10 Cowards, my enemies disappear.
Disgraced, they turn tail and run. Pslam 6:1-10 (MSG
Read this aloud when imploring the Lord, perhaps in times you feel forgotten:
13-14 Be kind to me, God;
I’ve been kicked around long enough.
Once you’ve pulled me back
from the gates of death,
I’ll write the book on Hallelujahs;
on the corner of Main and First
I’ll hold a street meeting;
I’ll be the song leader; we’ll fill the air
with salvation songs.” Psalm 9:1-10 (MSG)
And then this. Pray it out loud. Pray it so that the devil can hear you. Pray it so that the cells wrapped in pain in your body can know it’s true. If we don’t get healing this side of the kingdom, we get it eventually and in full, and forever! In the meantime, pray it LOUD:
And this after-God’s-own-heart, keeping it 100, plea from an authentic David to God:
“Oh, God, my Lord, step in;
work a miracle for me—you can do it!
Get me out of here—your love is so great!—
I’m at the end of my rope, my life in ruins.
I’m fading away to nothing, passing away,
my youth gone, old before my time.
I’m weak from hunger and can hardly stand up,
my body a rack of skin and bones.
I’m a joke in poor taste to those who see me;
they take one look and shake their heads.
26-29 Help me, oh help me, God, my God,
save me through your wonderful love;
Then they’ll know that your hand is in this,
that you, God, have been at work.
Let them curse all they want;
you do the blessing.
Let them be jeered by the crowd when they stand up,
followed by cheers for me, your servant.
Dress my accusers in clothes dirty with shame,
discarded and humiliating old ragbag clothes.
30-31 My mouth’s full of great praise for God,
I’m singing his hallelujahs surrounded by crowds,
For he’s always at hand to take the side of the needy,
to rescue a life from the unjust judge.(Psalm 109:25-31)
And here, finally, we see the AHA moment in which David sees the light, so to speak. He is at that pivotal place we all need to find ourselves in, in order to keep running that most challenging race set before us:
“Don’t put your life in the hands of experts
who know nothing of life, of salvation life.
Mere humans don’t have what it takes;
when they die, their projects die with them.
Instead, get help from the God of Jacob,
put your hope in God and know real blessing!
God made sky and soil,
sea and all the fish in it.
He always does what he says—
he defends the wronged,
he feeds the hungry.
God frees prisoners—
he gives sight to the blind,
he lifts up the fallen.
God loves good people, protects strangers,
takes the side of orphans and widows,
but makes short work of the wicked.
10 God’s in charge—always.
Zion’s God is God for good!
Hallelujah!” Psalm 146:3-10
Lift up us fallen ones, Abba. We are so tired.
But even in our sickness and sadness and end-of-our-rope-ness, we are are a people after your own Heart!
God bless us, every one.