Now this one I get!

15 Nov
” I’m determined to watch steps and tongue

so they won’t land me in trouble.
I decided to hold my tongue
as long as Wicked is in the room.
“Mum’s the word,” I said, and kept quiet.
But the longer I kept silence
The worse it got—
my insides got hotter and hotter.
My thoughts boiled over;
I spilled my guts.”

I am consistently saying exactly what is on my mind.  I have often prayed God would help me to hold my tongue; I have often tried a discipline of silence – it never really works.  I can keep quiet sometimes, but if I really feel strongly about sometime, my mouth flies open and often my foot is inserted.

The next verses continues the psalmist conversation with God about how small and short our human life is:

“Tell me, what’s going on, God?
How long do I have to live?
Give me the bad news!
You’ve kept me on pretty short rations;
my life is string too short to be saved.
Oh! we’re all puffs of air.
Oh! we’re all shadows in a campfire.
Oh! we’re just spit in the wind.
We make our pile, and then we leave it.

7-11 “What am I doing in the meantime, Lord?
Hoping, that’s what I’m doing—hoping
You’ll save me from a rebel life,
save me from the contempt of dunces.
I’ll say no more, I’ll shut my mouth,
since you, Lord, are behind all this.
But I can’t take it much longer.
When you put us through the fire
to purge us from our sin,
our dearest idols go up in smoke.
Are we also nothing but smoke?

I know I have had the experience of feeling those ‘purging fires’ and coming through them with some old idols up in smoke.  Perhaps it is the process of growing old, or perhaps growing deeper in our faith; but I have known time when the only thing to hold on to is God’s grace.  I believe I have emerged stronger when I have come through the fires – so long as God has been with me.  It is feeling God’s presence and love that has seen me through.  In the final verses of the psalm, the writer is asking God for that same strength and grace.

“Ah, God, listen to my prayer, my
cry—open your ears.
Don’t be callous;
just look at these tears of mine.
I’m a stranger here. I don’t know my way—
a migrant like my whole family.
Give me a break, cut me some slack
before it’s too late and I’m out of here.”

Even when we feel like a stranger in a strange land, God is there by our side to be our home.


One Response to “Now this one I get!”

  1. Phyllis Terwilliger November 19, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    It seems to me that the Psalms should be something you should carry in your back pocket. They are incredibly helpful and supportive to this time on earth we call life, especially during the tough times. Thanks for you commentary.

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