*This summer at Providence Church we are spending time in the psalms together. Each week during June and July we will be posting written responses by a member of our community from their time meditating on a particular psalm. Go here to read others in the series. This week’s reflection is from Laura Szymanski:
This morning I awoke at 5:30 with a gasp of anxiousness. After wiping the sleep from my eyes and glancing at the phone to check the time, I began to wonder what it was that was so pressing on my heart to transcend my dreams. I could try to fall back asleep, but I knew there was something I needed to bring to God, so I began to pray.
I began to list all the things that were troubling me: Do I have enough money to build my house? Are my contractors being honest with me? Is my insurance company mad at me because this process hasn’t gone faster? Is my VP frustrated because I can’t figure out this work assignment? Will I figure it out before it is due? I’m not a MBA from MIT! Wait, I need to change the oil in my car, shoot!
As I parse through the pages of my Bible, I begin a desperate search for my Father’s comfort—His words to me and a place to anchor my jangled soul. I turn to Psalm 73.
Psalm 73 has so many rich insights that have spoken into my life over the years. There is a shocking honesty about the condition of the psalmist’s heart that often takes me aback at first:
“For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (v. 3)
“When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.” (v. 21, 22)
Wait, what? God knows the tug in my heart to want to hide from Him while masquerading to others a sort of soul-bearing honesty? Sigh. Yes, He says. And so I, following the psalmist’s lead, speak plainly to my Father about all that is weighing.
As I reach the end of the psalm, I begin to slow down, anticipating my Father’s very comfort and counsel. My breathing eases, my heart rate slows, I become more focused and aware of His Presence. There is such sweetness knowing He is always here with me (v.23), enveloping me in his loving light today and waiting to capture me up in His arms when my days run out (v.24). The psalmist and I both exclaim:
“Whom have I in heaven but you?” (v.25)
Truly, my heart says, He IS my lodestar, my constant true North that my soul can affix itself to on this path of obedience. But heart … I know you, you are weak and soon I’m about to get out of bed. Then begins the difficulty of constant reorientation forward into whatever He has called me to—and honestly, that is difficult! How will I know you can do it? How will I know I have the strength to follow today? To walk through this confusing time in my life?
As I push back the covers and stretch out my arms, Psalm 73 contains a final promise to me:
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (v.26)
He enables my obedience, His is my obedience, He is. Forever.