04 June 2009

Stretch Out Your Hands

One steady thing about the Judeo-Chrisitan faith is the stability it offers in times of trouble. For those who have never had any trouble in life, please skip these reflections and go enjoy another lovely day. The rest of us have something to talk about here and that is Psalm 143:4-6.

There are stages in life that are difficult to say the least. These are dry seasons that may last weeks, months, or years. There is no way out of these ditches by means of positive thinking, drugs, or exercise. They are spiritual stages of development that must be lived through and survived. The Psalmist is aware of this reality, saying, "Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled."

During such times when our hearts are "appalled within us" there is a practice that may help us to hang in an hang on. That practice is remembering (re-member-ing). The Psalmist knows this too and says: "I remember the days of old, I think about all your deeds, I meditate on the works of your hands." So the Psalmist finds consolation in times of spiritual dryness through remembering concrete examples of God's faithfulness to him in specific circumstances in the past.

He also finds consolation through connecting with nature, "I meditate on the works of your hands." Memory and getting back in touch with trees, flowers, and the garden are steps in the right direction but they provide no immediate cure.

The Psalmist admits he's not there yet, "I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land." Come to savor the thirst: The feel of it and the taste of it and the desperation it entails. Stretch out your hands to God. Rain will come to your soul in due time.

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