“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”
I love the Psalms – now more than ever. Since returning from Omaha and Becky’s graduation my emotions have been a swirling storm. So much is churning in me that it makes articulation nearly impossible. There are jolts of pain and flashes of joy and questions and peace and agony and ecstasy. I feel thirteen again. The Psalms resonate because as I read through them I see this same up and down, high and low, fear and peace, joy and pain, question and trust – what I’m experiencing must be the human condition because it is captured so well in this book of the Bible.
The tornado that ripped through the heart of Joplin and those that followed to destroy other small communities and take lives leave me shaken and deeply grieved. Steve and I went to college in Joplin. We met there and started our lives together there so this community holds a dear place in our hearts. Jacob and Becky also lived there as Jacob attended the same college that Steve and I attended and Becky worked as a Pharmacy Tech at St. John’s Regional Medical Center. This is the job that started her down the road toward being a Pharmacist – a job worked in a place that is now a complete devastation. We’ve been watching Facebook posts from the college detailing the hurts to staff, faculty, and students and providing information on how to help both those affiliated with the college and the broader Joplin community. One student lost her life in the storm – a seventeen year old lover of Jesus who is now with Him. How my heart goes out to the parents of this young lady. Loss surrounds them and grief has come to live with them. Needless to say they are not alone – so many others have lost so much.
I sense in many of the Psalms a tenacious clinging to faith. The problems and sorrows and hounding fears yelled at the heavens are almost invariably followed by a statement acknowledging God. I’ve experienced this desperate holding onto God’s knees over and over. So aware of the questions and emotions coloring every particle of my being and then willfully turning my heart and soul back to the only one who can possibly know the answers or offer respite of any kind.
Oh Lord, in this season where the very earth seems to have turned against us, I proclaim once again that you are Lord and that your love and compassion are forever. Show your face to those hurting and in the midst of devastation and loss. Work through your people to display your provision and love to those who suffer. Your salvation is our gift and it is good. Your salvation is yesterday, today and tomorrow wherever our tomorrows find us – whether here in the flesh or with you in eternity. Give to your hurting people a tenacious desire for you. I praise you, Oh Lord, for you are good.