When Pain is the Avenue to Beauty

Friday Musings

Psalm 102:1–7, 12-14, 18-19 (ESV)

A prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord.

Pharoah Eagle Owl in Desert

 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
.      let my cry come to you!
 Do not hide your face from me
.      in the day of my distress!
  Incline your ear to me;
.      answer me speedily in the day when I call!
 For my days pass away like smoke,
.      and my bones burn like a furnace.
 My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
.      I forget to eat my bread.
 Because of my loud groaning
.      my bones cling to my flesh.
 I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
.      like an owl of the waste places;
 I lie awake;
.      I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.

“Only when we begin to see our need can we begin to probe and discover the still greater depths of our need for God.”

–an excerpt from a message delivered at Trinity Church
in Watseka, IL four years ago

Prayer

           “O Lord, these images are vivid—
.          clinging flesh,
.          days passing away like smoke,
.          withered grass,
.          lonely sparrows,
.          desert owls in wilderness wastes.”

“The psalmist was in the school of affliction. So am I Lord. So is your church. Draw us to Yourself. Hear our cry. Rescue us by showing us how much we need You. Don’t let us settle for anything less than You. I ask it all in the matchless name of the Son, who was abused, bled and died, and rose for us too. Amen.”

Reflection for the Poetry Project

Why Don’t You Make it Easy?

Why do you make it so hard?
Sometimes it seems like You are as deaf as the idols the museum.
You hide Your face.
While here in the middle of this mess, pain blisters my heart,
and days roll by like smoke disappearing
before I can even grasp what to do.

How long Lord?
I needed an answer yesterday.
I need to wake-up from this nightmare.
I can’t eat.
I can’t sleep.
Everything hurts.
I’m lonely, forsaken, and
feeling like you have thrown me over the cliff.

My feelings are real.
They hound me from the dawn of the day.
They haunt me as I turn out the light.
Yet I know they are wrong.

But I also know that they are overwhelming.
Relentless, inescapable, and crushing.
But wrong.

You are eternal. These wounds will heal.
You will surprise Your people with compassion.
Grace will show up at the appointed time.
You won’t despise my prayer.
And I will raise a generation to praise Your name.
When my groanings have become a memory, 
and my tears have become praise.


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