Thursday, July 15, 2004

Psalm 73: 21-38

Was reading this psalm the other morning before work & was especially impressed by verses 21-22 which says, "When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you." I was reminded of how many times in my past I've been angry and bitter towards God and towards family. I never realized it during this time of hurt and pain, but I was like a beast or an animal in a trap. My sole focus was on how I could get out of the situation and instead of looking towards Christ and having my focus there, my focus was on myself. I find this is when I am most beast-like because I could only feel the pain and could not see the beauty of what God was doing in allowing me to go through the suffering.

I have found, though, if I am able to look beyond the pain and suffering, I am able to feel the presence of the Father. One extreme example of this was when I was 26yo and going through a total abdominal hysterectomy (i.e., was having my uterus & overies removed because of outrageously severe endometriosis). While I was physically on the operating table, I was under a spinal anesthesia but otherwise fully concious and aware of what was happening. I suddenly felt a tug of pain on my left abdomen which quickly escalated to the most gut-wrenching agony. The anesthesia had worn off of one side of the incision so I was feeling everything the surgeons were doing. I begged them to please stop until the anesthesiologist could get the spinal working again, but I was hemorrhaging so they couldn't stop & rather then scare me with the truth they just didn't reply to my screams. I couldn't do anything 'coz my arms were tied down, so I had to cry out to God. In that moment, I felt the Father's arms around me. It was as if they were physically there. In some ways it was one of the most precious moments of my life and I'd give anything to feel those precious arms again. I've found, though, this only happens during times of deep distress on my part, & when I'm able to look beyond the pain to God.

Psalm 73 finishes with the verses "Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my protion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works." I am filled with adoration to my Lord and Saviour for His love & kindness to me all the days of my life. I am so grateful that I can say, with the psalmist, "Whom have I in heaven but you", Jesus?

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