Psalm 38 and the life I remember

14 Nov

As I read through psalm 38 to get ready to talk to you about it, I was having a tough time trying to understand was the psalmist was saying.  Then, after about the fourth time, I remembered a time in my early 20s.  I had made a lot of really stupid decisions, I was flunking out of nursing school again and I had been a car accident that caused post-concussion trauma.  The first night after the accident the doctors warned if I went to sleep I might not wake up and that sounded good to me.  Of course the next day I did wake up and somewhere along the road I started making better, God-centered decisions.  So, here is the psalm that speaks to me of that time in my life.  I have put all of it together in one chunk.

-2 Take a deep breath, God; calm down—
don’t be so hasty with your punishing rod.
Your sharp-pointed arrows of rebuke draw blood;
my backside smarts from your caning.

3-4 I’ve lost twenty pounds in two months
because of your accusation.
My bones are brittle as dry sticks
because of my sin.
I’m swamped by my bad behavior,
collapsed under gunnysacks of guilt.

5-8 The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots
because I’ve lived so badly.
And now I’m flat on my face
feeling sorry for myself morning to night.
All my insides are on fire,
my body is a wreck.
I’m on my last legs; I’ve had it—
my life is a vomit of groans.

9-16 Lord, my longings are sitting in plain sight,
my groans an old story to you.
My heart’s about to break;
I’m a burned-out case.
Cataracts blind me to God and good;
old friends avoid me like the plague.
My cousins never visit,
my neighbors stab me in the back.
My competitors blacken my name,
devoutly they pray for my ruin.
But I’m deaf and mute to it all,
ears shut, mouth shut.
I don’t hear a word they say,
don’t speak a word in response.
What I do, God, is wait for you,
wait for my Lord, my God—you will answer!
I wait and pray so they won’t laugh me off,
won’t smugly strut off when I stumble.

17-20 I’m on the edge of losing it—
the pain in my gut keeps burning.
I’m ready to tell my story of failure,
I’m no longer smug in my sin.
My enemies are alive and in action,
a lynch mob after my neck.
I give out good and get back evil
from God-haters who can’t stand a God-lover.

21-22 Don’t dump me, God;
my God, don’t stand me up.
Hurry and help me;
I want some wide-open space in my life!

I send blessings and thanksgiving today for the life that God has given to me.  Even though I have made some really stupid choices in my life I have tried to learn from all of the experience in my life.  I believe asking God into each moment and each decision helps us find the meaning that can lead us to better days.

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