We will probably all be marked my this season in some way.
My grandparents lived up in Michigan on the same land for over 100 years. When we would visit them, we would make this turn and come around and up the driveway. I can still hear the gravel and smell the pine trees.here was so much anticipation in coming to grandpa and grandma’s house.
And there was always something you could count on at my grandpa’s house.
He always had toilet paper.
My grandpa always had rows and stacks of toilet paper, and kleenex, and paper towels and white undershirts and a lot of other household things alway stockpiled in his bathroom and spare room. When he passed away my mom found a full dresser of white t-shirts and probably 20 other brand new in package white t-shirts, besides. He didn’t want to run out.
As a teenager I rolled my eyes and we laughed good-humoredly at his stock-piling ways. But under the laughter and kind of rolled eyes, we knew it came from someplace.
A place of experience.
And for him it was experiencing the Great Depression in a large family in poverty– it leaves a distinct mark on you.
It’s gonna be us someday isn’t it? With toilet paper stacked high in our closets and hand sanitizer twenty bottles deep. OR whatever.
The question is HOW will it impact us? Not IF, but how. Because it’s hard, and that kind of hard will leave a mark.
Friends, this season is hard. It’s so hard. And we don’t need to stack each of our own personal “hards” up against each other to see whose is hardest, do we?
It’s all hard.
It’s all heavy.
And the Bible is thankfully not silent on hard and heavy topics. The man with the most recorded information in the Bible about him besides Jesus actually wrote a lot about the hard and heavy times in his life.
His name was David and when he wrote about his hard and heavy times he was living in the in-between of the promise that he would be king, and the reality that he is on the run with his life in the balance.
Brenen Brown said: “Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
Just show up and keep talking to God. Talk through your fear. Talk through your pain. Talk through your complaints.
And that’s what David did in this hard time in his life. David starts with some rough accusations and complaints in Psalm 142.
“With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him, I tell my trouble before him.” -Psalm 142:1-2
I want you to hear today that God is big enough for your complaints, your whinings, your troubles, your pleadings, your worries, your fears. He wants you to talk to Him about it. You don’t have to pretend to be anything you aren’t before God.
You can be honest. There are things about Covid-19 worth complaining about: missed trips, missing opening day of baseball, boredom, not being able to have a routine, job loss, financial pressure, the sickness itself, of course, fear in general, frustration with family, etc. etc. etc.
And David got REAL, REAL about his feelings. He’s not done complaining yet!
“Look to the right and see; there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.” -Psalm 142:3
Man it feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it?
No refuge remains for me — aka there is no safe place. I have nowhere that feels safe and no one even cares.
It can feel like no place is safe right now and it can be really lonely. And that sucks.
So David spendsa little over half of this Psalm complaining and then, I love this, he kind of turns and starts preaching to himself in his cave and in his despair.
And I love this because, if David did this, it means you and I can do that too. We can hold the truth that we have complaints and things we wish WEREN’T, but they are and we can feel alone and unsafe, but we also need to preach the truth to ourselves.
Because the truth is bigger than our complaints and bigger than our feelings.
Our feelings are valid and we are going to honor and acknowledge them; they can ride shotgun, but they’re not driving the car.
And right now David is going to take the wheel back from his feelings and drive the car with the truth.
“I cry to you, O Lord; I say, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
You are my safe space. You are my welfare. You are my future.
You are my fat bank account. You are my health. You are my safety.
“Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.”
This situation is too much for me–emotionally, physically, spiritually.
“Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name!”
God’s going to bring us out of this. We’re going to be set free. And when we are, we are going to be acutely thankful.
I went to the store the other day and I had a list, but as I walked into Walmart I was prepared for bare shelves, and chaos, and people being rude or pretty much just the worst.
But it was lovely. People stayed apart from each other. Stockers were working so hard and were helpful and kind. I found everything I needed on my list and I had a really uplifting conversation with my cashier.
And I left so acutely thankful that I could get everything on my list at the grocery store.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been thankful for a stocked grocery store before in my entire life. Because we can’t be grateful for things we take for granted and I think one of the beautiful things we will gain from our time in “prison” and in adversity and in our caves so to speak is thankfulness.
David goes on to say, “The righteous will surround me”
In another version it says “God’s people will encircle me” and that is so good isn’t it.
To see God’s people coming together to uphold and support and encourage each other in this time. We’ve just seen such a rally and intentionality around our community and what a gift that is, to be encircled by a caring community.
Last part of Psalm 142:7 : “For you will deal bountifully with me.”
God has abundance for me, even in this.
The truth is, even in hard seasons God is still bountiful. And we may look back on this season as one of growth and provision.
The word bountifully, I looked it up in the Hebrew #ofcourse #biblenerd and it is a word that is also translated often as weaned, which is so interesting….
Because God is capturing in the picture this imagery of bounty– We all, once upon a time as wee babies, went from drinking one thing, just sustaining on milk, and then hit about 6 months old and started getting interested in and trying all kinds of foods. And this process is so AMAZING and fun to watch!
I can still remember just the shaking with excitement that our son would get when he tried a new food. His whole body would tremble with joy at the delicious bounty of food beyond formula!
And God I think is whispering to us through this illustration
“I know this is hard, but I have a whole feast of goodness for you in this and on the other side of this.”
God is working and doing something bigger than we know. And we can be in the cave and we can have our complaints and feelings and God can handle it.
But friends let’s not leave it there.
Let’s preach the truth to ourselves that God is our safe place.
He hears and delivers, He’s going to bring us out with our arms FULL of thankfulness, community, arms full of His abundance, more than we could ask or imagine.