Sunday, March 15, 2015

Psalm 107

This has been a long winter here in Boston.  We were quite literally buried by winter.  With 100 inches of snow in 45 days.  We did not know what to do with it all.  The day winter got the best of me.  My husband and I were trying to shovel yet another 12+ inches on top of the snow piles which already were in the neighborhood of 12 feet high.  The snow was still falling but we had learned that two or three rounds of shoveling always goes better than waiting and doing one at the end.

We live in a city, we have limited space to put the snow we remove from our driveways, parking spots and sidewalks so the piles were just getting higher and higher.  I went out ready to shovel, to tackle, once again the blanket of frozen white hate that covered our cars and sidewalks.  Mike had shoveled a path from the door to the drive and I went to work on the drive. Picking up a shovel full of snow and walking the 10 feet to the pile where we were putting all our snow, and launched the snow up over my head to the top of the pile, but it did not land on the top of the pile as it had the million other times I had done this this season, it fell on my head. and landed in the path.  I scooped it back up and tried again.  Once again it landed on my head.  Three times told me that I defeated.  12 feet was apparently the limit of how high I can toss a shovel full of snow, because not matter how hard I tried the snow did not land on the top.

I had an idea, I climbed to the top of the snow mountain range which resided the none driveway space between our cars and our fence, and began take snow off the top and shovel it down the back side toward our fence.  I was ruining the girls "sledding hill."  They had been sledding down the back side of this 12 foot tall snow bank toward our fence.  But the pile needed to be smaller, so I could put driveway snow on top.  I actually succeeded taking at least two maybe three feet off the top. I was so proud of myself.  My husband was not even halfway finished with the drive and now I could go help him, AND our snow pile was shorter.

I went back down, and took up a shovel full of snow and attempted once more to throw the snow to the top of the pile and failed once more.  I had failed to take into account that after 45 mins of shoveling heavy, dense, packed down snow off the top of our snow bank, my arms would be much more tired than they were when I began and the height to which I could throw a shovel full of snow would be reduced.

I was defeated.  I stood in my driveway and cried.  I told my husband I was done, that winter had defeated me and I could no longer help shovel snow, unless I wanted to play the part of Sisyphus and continually shovel the same shovel full of snow.  And I stood in my drive, surrounded by snow and cried.  That was the moment I lost it.

I say all this because this winter I am aware of what if feels like to be defeated, to be beat down by life, to have no hope of moving forward.  But all through winters darkness, all through the mountains of snow, God was with me.  God always delivers us, always walks with us, always gathers us from where ever we are.  God's steadfast love endures.  Even when I am defeated, even when I am standing crying in my drive, the love of the Lord is there.

I know it is such a simple and logical thing to say, but winter will not last forever.  May will come, May always comes and May brings warm weather.  It may snow in April here in Boston, but rarely. May always brings relief.  The winter will never last forever and God brings us through ever winter, out of the cold darkness in to the warm light.

Winter is long, the snow may pile up and we may be defeated by it all, but Spring will always come.  God will always bring us through.   No matter what winter may look like in your life, no matter what you find that you are defeated by, God will bring  you through.  Light will come, Spring will arrive.

Even now as I watch the dark dirty snow piles recede I can see God's grace, God's mercy, God's redemption at work bringing us back to the light.

God's steadfast love endured forever.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Psalm 95

I have been negligent.  I have found "better" things to do than write this blog.  So let me begin a new.  Let me come before the Lord God my maker.  Let me sing a new song, fresh and clear.  The lLord God is the foundation of my salvation God sees me in the depths of who i am and loves me, forgives me, redeems me.  I am God's and God is my God.  I sing God's praises.  I rejoices in the Lord.  God is quick to forgive and always there.  Always present.  God has been with me.
So I take this time today to rejoice in small victories, in new beginnings, to habit made new.  I rejoice that no matter how many times I fail, God is always there to forgive.
Praise be to God, my creator, my redeemer!  God it truly a great God.  God takes care of us, provides for and protects us.  In all things God is our God  God hold the depths of the earth and the highest, heights in hand.  All our highs and low, our victories and our struggles, in all God surrounds us, walks with us, guides us and sees us through.  I lift my voice and praise the God of my salvation who is there through it all; loving, forgiving, redeeming.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Psalm 22

"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?!"  The Psalmist said it, Jesus quoted it.  We have all felt it.  There are times when we are broken, we are all out of joint, our hearts feel like wax within us and we can not seem to find the peace, the comfort, the strength of God.  We look around and we see nothing, no one.  We feel forsaken, abandoned, left to die, far from God.  We feel as if our cries go unheard, especially when God does not come rushing in scooping us us and make us feel all better.  Day after day, we trudge through, weak, despondent, so alone, so tired, so far gone, that there seems there is no way back.
When we are honest with ourselves and with God, even the best of us, all of us have all been there, some have spent more time in this place than others.  (some of us would deny even wanting to think such thoughts)  There are moments, days, years, seasons of our lives when the brokenness of the world around us and the darkness seems to consume us.
But we can still trust, that even when we feel alone, we are not, even when we rage against God for leaving us and abandoning us, we are not abandoned.  
God is still there, God is still king of creation, we are never left to our sorrow, our pain, our weariness, our brokenness, even when we are trudge through the dark valleys we are not ever a long.  God is there working with us, giving us what we need to  make it through.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Psalm 131

My heart is not lifted up.  Oh how honest the Psalmist is.  Sometimes my heart is not lifted up.  Whether by lifted up the Psalmist means that the heart is not happy or filled with joy, or whether it means that the heart isn ot given up to God, not uplifted, with praise to God.  Eitherr way the Psalmist is oh so honest.  Not happy, not filled with joy not up to praising God.  
I think we have all been there.   There are times. The stress of the day is too much.  The events of the week weigh heavy upon us.  Too much sorrow, too much pain, too much bear. We find ourselves surrounded by what seems to be an impenatrible darkness There are valleys through which we walk where we find it hard to lift up our hearts, or we find that our hearts can not be lifted, they are heavey within our chest.  We feel lost, we feel alone and praising God is far from within our grasp.  We can not, we are unable, perhaps we are even at a point where we will not.  We are just not there.

But we can rest in the Lord, we can be be nourished, protected,  taken care of.  The Lord, draws us close to his breast.  In our fear, in our sorrow, in our pain the Lord does not turn to us and say, "suck it up."  "deal with it"  The Lord does not berate us for our lack of faith, our lack of praise, does not see it as a failing.
Instead the Lord draws us up, holds us close, gives us what we need, like a mother responding to the shrill cries of an infant child, lovingly draws us close.  Held close, protected, we are able to be like a milk drunk child, filled, cared for, protected.  
We can hope in the Lord.  Even when we can not lift up our hearts, are unable to lift them up.  In our pain, in our sorrow, in our darknes, our hope can be found in the Lord.

Trust, rely, be nourished, protected and cared for. 
Let me hope in the Lord, trust in the Lord, be cared for, nourished.  Let me  be a milk drunk child resting contently on God's chest.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Psalm 68 - Bearing God's Justice

Psalm 68
The Lord God is our salvation, the one who brings up, the one who settles the solitary, brings rest to the weary, takes care of the widow, bring rain to the parched land, restores the broken, and sets the prisoner free.  God  is in the business of setting right the wrongs.  There is famine, there is drought, there are those who are unjustly imprisoned, those who find themselves lacking, without anyone to whom they can turn, captives and those misused by others and the systems in our society, but there is hope.  God is in the business of setting things right.
But beware the Psalmist tells us, the unjust will be brought to justice, those who misuse other, to take captives, who ignore the widow and are participants in the breaking and misusing of others, God is also in the business of putting right those who are doing the wrong.  Justice will come, recompense and shall we say just desserts.  There are those who will find themselves on the wrong end of God's justice.  There are those who will suffer when God sets things right, those who ARE the wrong, are participating, perpetuating the wrong, they will be brought to justice
The question is who am I?  Am I perpetuating an unjust system?  Am I misusing others?  Am I apart of the wrong which needs to be set right?
Or am I on God's side.  Am I joining God as God works to make things right?  Am I lifting up the downtrodden?  Am I helping the widow and the orphan?  And I attempting to bring justice where there is none?
I can join God or I can not.  But the question still stands which side of God's justice will I find myself as God works to make all things right in this worls?