I had one of those weeks that is full of revelation. I have learned to appreciate weeks like this one, even if they aren’t always enjoyable. What did God specially reveal to me this week? What secret, hidden truth of majestic divinity did He impart to his humble servant? Well, He basically allowed me to experience how much sin and depravity still exists in my flesh… how much pride, anxiety, impatience, and impetuousness still indwell the innermost parts of my character. I love Him that He chastens me, that He convicts me of my sin. I love Him more that even so, in showing me the dearth of my goodness, He has justified me before Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. Through no good of my own, no value intrinsic to me, no real reason I can even fathom, He has chosen to draw me to Himself, to elect, regenerate, justify, and sanctify me—blessed be the name of the Lord, my God.
I went to buy a computer for my mom on Monday and dropped her credit card in the store when I pulled the sales ad out of my pocket. I discovered it was missing when I got to the front of the store and went to pay for it. Panic ensued. Anxiety overwhelmed. The peace of God was far from me. I was sick in my spirit and in my heart. I have lost a wallet in a store before, and had cards charged on (years ago when I had credit cards) in less than an hour. I retraced my steps and couldn’t find it. I frantically asked sales reps if someone had found it, and then spoke to the manager. I called my mom to let her know. My pride was my enemy. I cursed myself, disgusted. After a long wait, she was finally able to cancel the card and let me know they were going to issue a new one that would take a week or so to receive. Less than a minute later, I found the card laying face down on the floor. I probably walked by it twice and never saw it.
Work was difficult this week, too. I have been working to figure out a problem for nearly a month now and am beginning to feel like I’m running in wet cement with snowshoes on my feet. And banging a brick against my forehead. I haven’t much enjoyed my job this week. I haven’t made a point of thanking God for the job He’s provided for me to in turn provide for my family. I’ve had a mumbling spirit; not a good one. I haven’t had much time for my blog (or anything else it seems) either.
I drove to a Half Price Book store I don’t normally go visit yesterday and found a couple of real treasures on their clearance shelf (for $1 each), and a commentary on Amos. I left, feeling pretty pleased with the books I just purchased and wasn’t even a minute out of the parking lot when I got pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. Oh, and another one because I forgot to put my new license plates on a few months back.
I didn’t make it to the prayer meeting on Tuesday because my wife was not feeling well. I went with her to the doctor that day for a biopsy that thankfully appears to be nothing to worry about. I tried to work on my mom’s new laptop (removing Windows Vista and putting on Windows XP) but had nothing but problems for about four hours straight.
I didn’t make it to Wednesday night’s Bible study. My phone was dead and I didn’t have my phone charger, so I couldn’t call my wife on the way home from work to see if she was going and I didn’t want to just go without checking in with her first. So instead, I worked on my mom’s computer again fruitlessly attempting to install Windows XP.
I got up Thursday morning after charging my phone all night only to discover that the charger was not actually plugged into the wall. I was finally able to get my mom’s new computer working, though, and I did spend Wednesday and Thursday night reading the first couple of chapters of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Spiritual Depression, which was good. I am auditing the course at Founders Study Center this semester, and found the content very timely. By the time I started reading it this week, I was already feeling pretty out of sorts, discouraged, withered. I felt sort of cut off from the body of faithful believers God has lovingly and gracefully placed me among, and not having fellowship with them only made it easier to wallow in my own miry bog of despondency. And even though my urge to pray and seek God was almost overwhelming, somehow my prayers just felt shallow, like little pebbles tossed half-heartedly close to the shore of a great lake.
But then I read the quotes from Psalm 42 at the beginning of the first chapter in Spiritual Depression:
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. (Psalms 42:5 KJV)
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. (Psalms 42:11 KJV)
I looked up and read all of Psalms 42 and 43 in my Bible (NASB) and thought I’d include them here:
Psa 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.
Psa 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?
Psa 42:3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Psa 42:4 These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.
Psa 42:5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.
Psa 42:6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Psa 42:7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
Psa 42:8 The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.
Psa 42:9 I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
Psa 42:10 As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Psa 42:11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Psa 43:1 Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
Psa 43:2 For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
Psa 43:3 O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your dwelling places.
Psa 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.
Psa 43:5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
I thank you, Lord, for Your word and for Your Spirit with which You deliver it to my heart. I thank You that You can show me the sinfulness and shortcomings of my own nature, expose to me my flaws, and yet still be my strength, my rock, and my strong tower. I thank You, Lord, that all my problems are so small, so trivial and meaningless. Please forgive me for imagining them to be large and important when they are nothing; forgive my lack of trust and my selfish disposition. Help me to see beyond my own stupid self to the greatness of Your glory and to find my satisfaction in You. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.