A day of giving thanks and feeling STUFFED!

22 Nov

I hope you are having a wonderful day of thanksgiving with food and family and a time to remember all God’s blessings.    I have debated about whether to talk about Psalm 42. It is not straightforward psalm, in fact it is a little schizophrenic.

The opening lines in the New Revised Standard Version are,”As a deer longs for flowing streams,  so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”  It is very poetic and is opening lines of a praise song.  Yet, the rest of the first stanzas show the psalmist angst.  Here it is in The Message:

1-3 A white-tailed deer drinks
from the creek;
I want to drink God,
deep draughts of God.
I’m thirsty for God-alive.
I wonder, “Will I ever make it—
arrive and drink in God’s presence?”
I’m on a diet of tears—
tears for breakfast, tears for supper.
All day long
people knock at my door,
“Where is this God of yours?”

The writer talks about of life of praising God, but then becomes very sad with their life.

“These are the things I go over and over,
emptying out the pockets of my life.
I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd,
right out in front,
Leading them all,
eager to arrive and worship,
Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving—
celebrating, all of us, God’s feast!

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.”

What I like about the psalm is the writer talks about listing all the wonderful things God has done in their life to get themselves in a ‘happy place’.

” When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.”

So, I thought, maybe this day more than any other, what have you remembered that God has done for you?  What is the list of things that you say God has given to you?  For me, today, it is family, and food, and strength, and health, and good work to do.  And I think especially, a God who I can think about, call to mind in each moment of my life, and find a deeper meaning in my life in each of those moments (even the crappy one.)  Again, I think it is why I like this psalm, it finishes with a bit of a whinny note with life not really going the writers way, but still looking to God to give enough grace for a smile.

Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
“Why did you let me down?
Why am I walking around in tears,
harassed by enemies?”
They’re out for the kill, these
tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day,
“Where is this God of yours?”

11 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.

A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours.  Don’t let the stress of the holidays rule your life.


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