How do we know when to act or when to wait?
When does the moment of passivity evolve into a moment of action?
How do we know if a decision is brash and impulsive, or intelligent and responsible?
How can one distinguish between knowing something can help, or staying the storm in case something better is revealed afterward?
Is discernment only a process that takes time? Is hindsight the only way to see 20/20?
It is easy to understand how desperation can steer someone’s decision. Desperation is an explosive ingredient to the decision-making process. A mother who dances in nightclubs to feed her children and keep them safe in four walls – she is desperate. A father who cheats the system or hustles so that his family can get the medicine they need to stay alive – he is distressed. A child who picks pockets on the street so she can eat that week – she is in anguish.
There are a thousand reasons behind why we do what we do. It is so easy to gasp, point, and brand those choices and people who we can’t relate to – who make decisions we never think we would make.
The absence of understanding is a breeding ground for fear.
I realize these thoughts are heavy, deep and possibly forlorn. There is a Psalm (well, there are many in fact) that nails forlorn on the head – exposes it, wallows in it, cries out from under it. It reads like this:
“As the deer pants for the water
So my soul pants for you, O God
…My tears have been my food day and night,
…Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
…Oh my God, my soul is in despair within me;
…Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
…As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?…”
(Psalm 42, excerpts)
I don’t know about you, but if my bones were shattered, and I was surrounded by people who wanted me to suffer and live in agony – I would know exactly why my soul was disturbed! Talk about desperation. There are many more Psalms where David is beyond dejected. Freaking out and wailing are better terms for it. I would even venture to say he goes a little mad while hiding in those caves from Saul, or seeing the depths of his own sinful heart after the whole Bathsheba incident. I have it on good authority from his writings, that whatever David felt, he felt to the 100th degree. Anger, terror, victory, defeat – I think he was a high/low kind of guy. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that. God saw David and loved Him fiercely. God designed David for greatness and for communion with Himself, and nowhere in Scripture do I see a time where God says “Ok David, you’ve got to chill out. I am tired of hearing this. All this emotion you feel, I’ve got to rethink your DNA because it seems to be too much for you.” Because when David loves, when he trusts, when he declares the unmatchable mightiness of His LORD – you can bet he feels those to the 1000th degree, and we are the better for it, not just David. For we see sides of God so vast and glorious because we are able to see them through David’s wide eyes.
Many times, I get swept away on currents of tangents. I begin thinking one thing, and finish having conveyed a thousand other things I didn’t set out to.
Basically, I’m strapped in next to some desperation (I’m practically sitting on its lap!). And my brother David is telling me like it is. I hear, I understand. And if in the midst of all of that, David can say:
“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.
…Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.”
(Psalm 42, excerpts)
…then I, too can hold tight to the God of my life. David says God is the “help of my countenance”, which literally means the help of his composure, his sanity. I’m going to say He was not only the help, but the supplier. God is our sanity. Goodness knows He needs to be mine – because I lose the one I was born with from time to time. The one that came from the sinful nature, not from the holy redeemed one. My composure is now supplied by Him. *Sigh* – I’m instantly calmed by that knowledge. How beautiful a thought! Taking deep breaths and counting to 10 takes on new meaning. (Though I don’t think I’ve ever actually done the counting thing. I’m sure it’s a wonderful practice and one I’ll need to do a few times in my future I don’t doubt.)
I’m going to close with another beautiful melody. This one is anonymous to date. Yet it stands to be one of the most powerful in declaration, cry, and description of God’s rescuing capabilities . Psalm 91 strikes repeatedly on the drum of certainty in the midst of fear.
“You will not fear the terror of night
(the terror of all uncertainties)
nor the arrow that flies by day,
(all the arrows of trials)
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
(all that suffocates)
…it will not come near you.
…If you make the Most High your dwelling
…For He will command His angels concerning you
to guard you in ALL your ways;
(even the ways that seem so treacherous and hopeless)
…says the LORD… “I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation.””
(*emphases and additions mine)
I will not?
God is my life?
No terror in night or day?
He will deliver me???
So be it.
I will dwell and abide.