The psalms are honest in their expression. They give me permission and example to reflect, to speak to reality, to plead. I learn from this.
In psalm 44, I see this honesty, and I am challenged to praise God. To remember well.
3 They did not conquer the land with their swords;
it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory.
It was your right hand and strong arm
and the blinding light from your face that helped them,
for you loved them.
4 You are my King and my God.
You command victories for Israel.
5 Only by your power can we push back our enemies;
only in your name can we trample our foes.
6 I do not trust in my bow;
I do not count on my sword to save me.
7 You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies;
you disgrace those who hate us.
8 O God, we give glory to you all day long
and constantly praise your name. (Psalm 44:3-8, NLT, emphasis added)
I am challenged to lay down my confusion, my heartache, my struggle–look at it and call it what it is. To get real and honest in the ugly.
9 But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor.
You no longer lead our armies to battle.
10 You make us retreat from our enemies
and allow those who hate us to plunder our land.
11 You have butchered us like sheep
and scattered us among the nations.
12 You sold your precious people for a pittance,
making nothing on the sale.
13 You let our neighbors mock us.
We are an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
14 You have made us the butt of their jokes;
they shake their heads at us in scorn.
15 We can’t escape the constant humiliation;
shame is written across our faces.
16 All we hear are the taunts of our mockers.
All we see are our vengeful enemies. (Psalm 44:9-16, NLT)
I am challenged to go before the Lord, boldly. He’s my hope, always.
23 Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep?
Get up! Do not reject us forever.
24 Why do you look the other way?
Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression?
25 We collapse in the dust,
lying face down in the dirt.
26 Rise up! Help us!
Ransom us because of your unfailing love. (Psalm 44;23-26, NLT)
I know these years I’ve learned to suppress the depth of my feelings in myself and my conversation. I’ve also held back from seeking the Lord. This is a lonely, helpless, hopeless act masquerading itself as strength.
Father God, you’ve been so good to me. I know that no matter what happens, you are with me. I can trust you. I can trust you with the truth of my wounds and suffering, and you won’t turn away. You won’t smirk at my hurt. You won’t avoid it. I can praise you and lament and plead in the same breath, and you still stand. I can whisper and I can wail and I can rage, and you can take it. Teach me how to live, O Lord.