Paradise, In Trouble – March 30, 2023 (94-95/365)

“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit?

Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?

Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!”

Psalms 30:9-10

I read that first couple lines, and then I’m led to remember what it says in Psalm 116:15 – “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” But as we add more thought to both passages, we see that the word ‘precious’ as mentioned does not imply that there is actual profit in our death; we see in other translations that in the sight of the Lord, our death is ‘valuable’ and ‘dear’. In fact, in the Good News Translation it even says, ‘How painful it is to the Lord!’

Consider the other translations (and really, does wonders in showing all of them in one page): The NLT (New Living Translation): The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die. The CEV (Contemporary English Version): You are deeply concerned when one of your loyal people faces death. I think what I can take from all of this is that if the end of our mortal bodies is of such value and draws so much attention from our Creator, we can say that other aspects and circumstances we experience – all that gives us life, or all that draws us to death, and everything in between – all of it is within His sight.

We read that this idea of God seeing everything was mentioned in the discussion of men attempting to console a friend who was absolutely at the bottom of his own life, where all that was left for him was to die (Job 34:21). On the other side of the coin, we also read that this idea was realized by someone at the height of his glory, ruler over an empire, with wisdom imparted to him by God Himself; Solomon also said in Proverbs 5:21 that “a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.”

I’ve had to pause here and quickly went back to reading Leo Tolstoy’s “God Sees The Truth, But Waits”; It’s a nice short story to go through in, oh, 10 minutes or so. I don’t want to go through the story for fear of spoiling it (read it here), but I will say that the ways of Makár and Aksyónof are seen by the Lord, and even if the entire story would leave us thinking and even questioning Him… To merely know that God not only sees all there is to see about all the facts that are, but also the Truth that stands absolute above it all – well, that ought to give us valid cause to consider praying to Him, just as Aksyónof did:

When they were gone… he said to himself, ‘It seems that only God can know the truth; it is to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy.’ And Aksyónof wrote no more petitions; gave up all hope, and only prayed to God.

So when we find ourselves without the will to go on, even then, see – we can draw hope from God. We can cry out to Him. We can pray, and the psalmist known as MC Hammer would say that we pray just to make it today.

We go back to Psalm 30:9-10. We read in those verses, that if we aren’t throwing our hands up in abandon and surrender as Aksyonof did, we’d be waving them wildly, as if to be noticed by a divine helicopter. We may know of God’s favorable gaze upon us, but our actions would show that we can still be overwhelmed by what we see with our own eyes, and what we feel when we are in the pits. The Psalmist teaches us here, for ourselves, and when we find others in the same situation – That the only thing to do, the best thing to do is to cry out to the Lord, for mercy, and for help.

And those of us who have chosen to believe and receive God for who He is, by way of Christ and His finished work, and by the power of the Holy Spirit – well, no matter what state we’re in, it shouldn’t be too much of a struggle for us to cry out. Especially since we have come to know that the Lord does not stop at seeing us and knowing everything we do and all that is done around us. Christ has made it possible for us to see the Lord, not only as someone who observes us in omniscience, but also to work for us in everlasting love.

You know, if I’m being honest, the ride hasn’t been as pleasurable as I low-key expected. See, if you’ve been following my ramblings (thanks so much, by the way – I don’t even know if these posts are really being read but they’re really more for me to write out of my mind than read by others) I spent all this time since the start of this year, speaking up on how this was a year of movement – a year where we would move, and where we would see movement all around us.

I was expecting adventures, as we took on opportunities in expanding wealth, and in learning, and in toning the body, and in clarifying the mind! The mission of the ministry group I’m leading was to create, curate, and collaborate in celebration of the goodness of God through Jesus Christ – and I thought this year we would certainly see more of this happening! I was expecting us to move, out of being overwhelmed by the love of God for each and every one of us!

But was it exactly as I described it? Not exactly. Lately I’ve only been throwing what little I have left into investment opportunities that I have yet to see bear fruit. I’ve been learning all right, but it’s not without its share of pain. I haven’t been toning this body – people say that I look good, but me seeing my weight on the scale and seeing that I’m close to where I used to be almost 5 years ago, well, that’s not helping me out. And don’t talk to me about my mind – well, by God’s sweet grace, I am and will always be stable, but there are still so many things that need improvement!

Was it exactly as I described it for the ministry? Not exactly. See, we’ve only been led to create out of necessity, or out of the vision of others, instead of ourselves. We’ve curated in as far as memes go, and we’ve collaborated, again, to help others, instead of helping ourselves. And sure, we should feel good about that, but I simply could not stand by and watch as our energy and efforts are being squandered for someone else’s vision. Not so overwhelming.

But maybe that’s the thing to realize. Maybe I should go back to last year. What do I mean? It’s probably in these times that I ought to be thanking God for Christ, because it’s only because of Him that I’m able to find peace; Peace, that is, in and through calling out to God boldly in these times of frustration and anxiety. I feel like things are being taken away. I feel like things are being choked by thorns, if not being hindered from growing because of their placement on the rocks.

There it is – It’s not that I’m not overwhelmed – I feel as if it’s more of me being overwhelmed for the wrong reasons… when now that the stakes are higher, Christ and His finished work ought to make much more sense. Here’s that oxygen that I need in the Everest I’ve been preaching about.

And like the Psalmist, I’m recognizing I’m in the pits. I’m recognizing my overall state in the dust. But if I’ve learned something today, it’s this: I could call out to the Lord to get me out of the pits. I could get God to help me out of the dirt, and to dust it off, according to how I think it should be for me – Sort of how Paul asked for the thorn to be taken away from him.

But in that case, God responded – My grace is sufficient for you, and my power is made perfect in your weakness. The psalmist could have been in the same train of thought, crying out to the Lord… Not for rescue, not for relief, but for mercy. For help.

And if I think about mercy – God’s mercy, to be precise, I go to 1 Peter 5:6-7: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Because of God’s brand of mercy we could come to Him with all that we have, because just as He finds our passing precious, we can also see His love in another light, His mercy from another perspective – Simply, He CARES for us. We may not necessarily know all the ways He could rescue us, or the best way He could relieve us, but just because we’ve having a hard time understanding all of it doesn’t mean that He cares for us any less. The God who created time and space, is beyond time and space, and is beyond our notions of mercy.

If I think about help, on the other hand – When I think about God’s help, I could look into any and all of the times He intervened. Christ speaking to the wind and the waves. God causing the sun to stay still, as Joshua requested; God parting the Red Sea, as Moses lifted his staff; Demons cast out, afflictions healed, and dead people brought back to life; But for all the miracles we’ve seen in the Word, I suppose it wouldn’t be for anything if we first recognized the Miracle of Miracles, performed by He who would be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I’m talking about Christ being our sin, dying the death we deserved; rising from the dead, that we are made absolutely righteous, and therefore guaranteed to have the Life He has; ascending into heaven, that we would be seated in heavenly places, just as we experience His divine presence in this reality, because of the Holy Spirit in us.

And am I to say that because of this Miracle of miracles, we’re guaranteed God’s divine intervention, and divine interruption in absolutely everything we ask for? The Word of Faith folks may know something more than I do. They may have experienced much more than I have, but I believe in the Wisdom each and every one of us has which is beyond divine intervention and beyond divine interruption – That is, the peace that goes beyond all understanding, described to us by Christ, which I also believe has its sure ties with what we read from Paul in Romans 8:28 – That in everything that goes on (around us, within us, to us, and from us), Christ has guaranteed that God is faithful to make all of it work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

The God who created time and space, is beyond time and space; and just as Christ was willing to help the leper, I am confident that He is willing and able to help us – not necessarily according to how we want Him to intervene, or how we intercede, but ALWAYS according to HIS faithfulness, and the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalms 30:11-12

I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.

O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.

Psalms 30:1-4

Let’s get overwhelmed again. And let’s move the right way, without needing to be so affected by all the movements in and around us.

Thank God for these times, and thank God for these revelations.

Until the next post, God bless you.

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