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Friday, January 29, 2016

Area 51

I started off with Psalm 40, today.  I got to Psalm 40:1a, before the irony was so thick I laughed out loud, "I waited patiently for the Lord..." (NIV).  Patience is not a strong point for me.  I'm not even sure it's a weak point for me.  I am not patient.  In addition, I am distracted today.  I mean really distracted.  If you're familiar with Disney/Pixar's "Up," it is a squirrel kind of day, today.  I don't even know why.  Yes, that's how my lectionary reading began...

Eventually I worked my way through Psalm 40, which I would highly suggest to... well... everyone...  And I smiled again at the end, "You are my God, do not delay" (v.17).  See...  still not patient...

However, by the time I got to this point I was focused enough to actually dwell on the rest of the readings.  I looked at the list to see what was next.  Psalm 51.  My initial thought was, "Oh, no.  What have I done, now."

Do you know anything about Area 51?  OK, let's be real.  No one really knows anything about Area 51.  But the whole experimental testing, secrecy, security clearance, conspiracy theory mindset (see wiki), that's sort of how I feel about Psalm 51.  It's this heartbreaking lament, really, after everything that David tried to hide is exposed.  After David is exposed.  I spent a lot of time in Psalm 51 last winter.  Honestly, I spent a lot of time feeling grateful that there was no Nathan the prophet to get all up in my face, to expose my sin.  What happens in Area 51.  Well, it could just stay in Area 51.  Except, as it turned out, Psalm 51 sort of became Nathan to me. 

Sin is awful.  Confession is necessary.

Now, here's the thing.  Very few of us have ever been so turned on by our neighbor's spouse's bathing habits that we call him or her to come on over for some recreation and procreation, only to realize that we are seriously going to get caught, so we make sure our neighbor is murdered.  And let's just be clear, by "us", I do not mean "me", here.  Often I do, but truly friends...  I didn't do that, just in case anyone was speculating.  The story of David and Bathsheba?  It takes the cake. 

Or does it?

All sin is awful.  Confession is necessary.  And healing takes time.  Oh, with the patience again...  

Well, winter turned to spring, and my own story started spewing out of my mouth.  Psalm 51:17 became pretty important in my life, "My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise" (NIV).  I was broken.  I was so, so broken.  And contrite.  I was contrite, too.  But mostly I was broken.  And it seemed like there was going to be no end to this.
Spring turned to summer which turned to fall, and there were reminders at every corner.  To be honest, there were moments when I just wondered why God didn't get on with it and do whatever God needed to do for this to be behind me.  I was just done.

And then slowly, mercifully, I realized that it was winter again. 

Hebrews 10:17-18 says, "'Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.'  And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary" (NIV).

Today I realized that I feel slightly less broken.  I have no idea if that seems hopeful to anyone else or not.  It feels pretty good to me.

There are still hard days.  There are still moments when something will remind me of some piece of the madness that became last year.  I will see something... or hear something... or even smell something, and I go quiet.  I have to remember that I'm not living that narrative anymore.  I have to remember to breathe in and breathe out and refrain from throwing something across the room, because it won't make any sense, and you should only throw things if it makes sense... or something...  But it's so much better.

I know it's not that God is taking an extraordinary amount of time with this.  It's just that some things take an extraordinary amount of time.  But there is hope.  There is always hope.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23, NIV).


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