I’ve been reading through the Psalms the past few months. One a day. I love how simplicity and perplexity create a tension all the way through. On one hand the beauty of honor, praise and love directed toward God and then on the other hand, the deep angst of rejection, bewilderment, doubt and anger directed to God. Those two extremes blend in many of the Psalms. It’s real life I suppose.
I read this today, “Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” It caught my attention. Just a one liner. Not so unusual on the face of it. But it made me reflect. You know that not all, but many of my blogs beg more questions than offer grandiose answers regarding the nature of God and our relationship to Him. You’d think at my age, after earning a seminary degree and teaching the Bible for 30 years I’d have more answers than questions, right? Maybe I should.
Perhaps I do have many answered questions in my quiver of foundational truths, but the uncertainties of life and the nature of God have caused me, like the Psalmist, to wonder deeply about how God exists, how He moves and has His being in relation to us. I suppose you can wonder so deeply that you lose yourself if you don’t find some answers or some bearing to keep you pointed to a true North in the journey of seeking God.
Though at times I’ve had to ask myself at times, “Am I rebelling against God?” Sometimes when we have doubts or we struggle with unbelief, we can turn those struggles into an anger or disappointment with God which can result in a rebel attitude. I think David expressing his thoughts and feelings in the Psalms does not hold back from clearly stating his confusion, disappointment, despair, shame, uncertainties, unbelief, doubts, anger, frustrations…all directed toward the God he loves. But he does not rebel against God. He is always for God and circles back to God’s lovingkindness…no matter the doubt or disappointment.
In the community of faith, we should make much more room for the doubters and strugglers of faith. There is nothing wrong with having answers but let’s face it, we don’t have all the answers let alone understand the mind of God beyond the true sense that God is love and He loves us…and if you know that, experience that…you will love others.
I also read in the same Psalm today, “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts…”. I immediately stopped reading and sang the first song that came to mind, The Doxology. Simple. Short. To the point. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” It warmed my soul.
To be rebellious against God is truly living in a parched land. It is a dry, empty spiritual desert to be against God, to go to war with God. But to struggle or wrestle with God is life. He allows for it all. I’m learning to circle back to the song no matter what. Sing to God. Yeah, just sing.