Thursday, September 4, 2014

As for me, I call to God

"If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers." (Psalm 55:12-14)

These words literally leapt off the page at me this morning. Psalm 55 is a psalm of David, which could mean David wrote it or it was written about him or in his honor, but as I read the raw, naked emotion that flows out of much of the psalm, and knowing David's own life experience (where even his son turned against him and tried to take the kingdom from him), I imagine David himself writing each and every word, each verse flowing out of his own experience and his own pain. Especially these verses—it's at moments like this that we know the persons in the Bible are real people with real pains, people just like you and me.

Often, as Christians, we take verses like these that pop up in the psalms and apply them immediately to Jesus and to his betrayal by Judas. And I certainly think there is room for that sort of interpretation. But let's take a step back, because even in Judas' betrayal, we see our own lives, and the times when someone we trusted, someone we were close to, someone we loved, took everything precious to us and threw it away.

For some, that may have happened when life long loving relationship comes to an end. A lifetime of hopes, dreams and memories suddenly evaporate and disappear. Someone once asked, "Is this what it comes to, the dividing up of the things we own? That seems so small after all these years." For others, that has happened between close friends. Sometimes we know why and sometimes we don't. Sometimes we are the cause and other times no one is. And it is no comfort to hear that some friends just come along for "a season." In our day, true friends are hard to find (no matter how many "subscribers" you have on Facebook or Twitter), and to lose one, especially in a painful way—it can feel like the world is ending.

Promises broken. Words hurled back in anger. Misunderstandings with no opportunity for resolution. Secrets shared that become fodder for public discussion. We know the pain David is feeling. If an enemy were against us—that we could take. But when someone we treasured turns on us, when someone we worshipped alongside betrays us—that strikes us to the core.

The only thing that ultimately gives David comfort in this psalm is that he still has someone to talk to, someone to turn to. He says, "As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice...God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change..." (Psalm 55:16-17, 19). In all times of distress, but especially in those times when "companions" turn away from us, David reminds us that there is one who will never leave us or forsake us. There is one who is closer than anyone else. There is one who will ultimately judge each person's actions. And that one will always listen to us, and will always be with us.

"As for me," David concludes, "I trust in you" (Psalm 55:23). We can't always trust in people, but we can always trust the one who loved us from before the world began. And that, dear readers, is good news, the very best news of all.

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