A psalm of imperfect, fault-ridden, wildly messed up David.
A psalm of prayerful, praise-filled, repentant David.
As Eugene Peterson says, “The story of David is not a story of what God wants us to be but a story of God working with the raw material of our lives as he finds us.” Show me the way, psalmist David. The raw materials of my heart feel a bit raw right now.
O Lord Jehovah, I have screwed up;
we have screwed up.
The whole lot of us – individually, collectively –
have messed up your desire for justice, freedom,
peace on earth and goodwill for all.
Here we sit in the fallout of our
impatience, searing impulses, idols, and idiotic choices.
An angry rebuke from you is not without warrant;
like unrelenting hornets our actions rightly trigger your hot displeasure.
But it is your mercy I am requesting instead.
As a fiery wind across the desert will not bring flourishing,
so your anger exhaled will not bring me any relief.
I can fully taste the dry dust of my own haughty actions.
Your wrath will only evaporate the whiff of hope
left in my agonizing bones.
O Lord it is mercy that I need;
long, long threads of mercy.
Bind me back together;
secure my feet to your path.
Turn, O Lord, like you did in unfailing love to
imperfect Father Abraham,
weary Prophet Elijah,
earnest Pharisee Nicodemus,
heartbroken Mother Mary.
If your love and mercy was free flowing for them,
let it cascade over me now.
What is there for you to gain by snuffing me out?
Peace and quiet? Sure.
But praise? No.
You will have to rely on the unanimated rocks and dirt
that cover my body to speak of your faithfulness.
But heal me, a part of creation you’ve already formed with lips,
and I can proclaim your wonders and acts of compassion.
I am worn out from the brokenness
that seeps through everything.
The sheer mass of trouble in the world
is unrelentingly heavy.
How did I get here? How did we get here?
Oh I know how:
we listened to our foes.
We thought they were our friends,
telling us how to measure happiness, success, security, and fulfillment.
But under the shiny promises they were liars and tempters.
“Did God really say?”
“What’s the payoff for exhibiting love, joy, peace, and self-control today?”
“Don’t you have rights?”
Go away from me, Accuser!
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy.
He really did say that He is the Good Shepherd;
To the weary, lost, stray, and humble, He is rest.
The payoff is God’s own love, joy, peace, and kindness.
I have tasted, even in the most bitter of bites,
sweet morsels of His relieving goodness and faithfulness.
And yes, I have rights,
really wonderful rights and privileges.
As a Daughter of the King,
I can collapse at the entrance to the throne room of God
and know He will lean down to cradle me there.
To all my enemies, you will one day want mercy,
but none will be given.
You rulers, authorities, and spiritual forces of evil
who only desire to steal, kill, and destroy:
It will be you, not I, who is turned away at the gates of heaven
by His anger and wrath.
What a shameful disgrace for you.
What sweet amazing grace for me.
Amen. Go in peace, my soul.
The quote from Eugene Peterson comes from his book “The Jesus Way.”
All text is Copyright © Nicole Clark and all photographs and videos are Copyright © Mike & Nicole Clark (full usage terms), unless otherwise stated. All Rights Reserved.