Demo of Julie's Bible Reference Library

Monday, August 23, 2010

Talking to Myself

Treasured friend,

Tell me you've never done it--talk to yourself, I mean. Commit me to a rubber room if you want to, but I have to confess that I do it from time to time. Mostly to bolster my courage--mostly to remind myself that this is only a season, and that grace to survive comes to those who ask.

It seems I'm in good company. Not just you, I mean. But also at least one hero of the faith: David. Don't believe me? Read it for yourself. Psalm 27. It's a passage we've examined before, but it's worth revisiting today.

It opens with David's self talk. We don't know why he wrote this psalm--what circumstance he found himself in that required him to say outloud that the Lord is still faithful--even when life conspires to make us think otherwise. But he did need this reminder, which he makes obvious right from the opening:

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1; ESV).

Tell me, soul--
you know God and His faithfulness,
His fairness,
His strength and His sustaining grace.
So, compared to Him and all His attributes,
what are these pesky little circumstances
and why are you allowing them to frighten you?

That's a question I had to ask myself this week. Because circumstances were conspiring against me. I felt I was in the enemy's crosshairs--and was being shot down from at least three directions. Amid the caregiving responsibilities that have been marking my days, I've been trying to conduct my business and personal affairs as "business as usual." If you're a caregiver you've been there, most certainly. Your loved one has been fed, medications adminstered, and you have an hour during his rest time (before the next mealtime and medication) to do what would normally take 8 hours--or 10 or 12.

It's a precarious balance. And when one element unfolds differently than expected, the scale tips--and creates a soul-toxic mess. When someone challenges, expresses disappointment, even worse falsely accuses--well I know last week I felt like changing my name to Hannah Hurnard's classic main character, "Much Afraid" (from Hinds Feet on High Places). Overwhelmed didn't even begin to describe what I was feeling. It was debilitating and abject fear. The kind that keeps you up nights, clammy, shivering, and quivering with anxious thoughts.

That's why David's self-talk spoke directly to me. The entire psalm is full of it.
When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple (Psalm 27:2-4; ESV).
Then there's the end--the last self-reminder:
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Psalm 27:13-14; ESV).
It is a powerful statement of faith ... I believe that something other than what I see and feel is the whole, unmitigated truth.

Reminding myself of the circumstances that might have prompted David to speak this truth aloud, I began to take courage. David was hunted down mercilessly and forced to live in deserts and caves. Anointed king by a wanted man. Betrayed by a family member. Forgiven a debt he couldn't repay. And yet, he could say, "I believe I'll be able to look at God's goodness once again in this life."

And I found myself speaking it to my own soul.

The Lord saves. The Lord delivers.
No one can challenge Him.
Oh my frightened soul, be strong and courageous.
God will work on your behalf once again.
Take refuge in His strength,
in His comfort and companionship,
in His absolute sufficiency and goodness.

My friend, if this is a message you needed to hear today--take heart. Because the Lord hasn't changed. The God of David--the faithful one, the God of salvation--He is mine and He is yours. He offers you His faithfulness, He wants to be the God of your salvation today. Remind yourself of the one who is on your side, fighting your battles beside you--for you and with you.

If you need to, give yourself a good talking to as I did to myself: This is the one you serve, so there's no reason to panic. Be strong, take courage, wait for the Lord.

Blessings and prayers,
Julie

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