Christianity 201

December 12, 2018

Writing Out The Psalms in Your Own Words

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:35 pm
Tags: , , ,

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.  – Psalm 42:1 NIV

Today we’re returning to Aaron Smith, whose writing we featured here several years ago. His website is also the name of his new book, Cultural Savage. The publisher blurb describes it as “a collection of essays about mental illness and Christianity and where the two intersect. Sometimes they crash into each other, and other times they coexist peacefully. When the two collide, it manifests as the Church characterizing mental illness as a spiritual problem.

Have you ever written out a passage of scripture in your own words? It can be a tremendously helpful exercise, particularly as you question your own choices of interpretation and ask yourself, ‘Is that what the text actually says?’

In this exercise, Aaron also mentions Jesus, who the Psalmist did not know by name, though in the Messianic Psalms we have no doubt He was known prophetically.

Retelling Psalm 42

Something in me pants for you oh Jesus.
Somehow, just like a beast of the forest craving and clawing for water in the heat of drought, my innards thirst for you
the living God.

 So, someone, please tell me: when can I see this face of Jesus that I long for? Instead, I feast on tears, and sorrow fills my chest
as the refrain ” You have no God ” rings in my ears.

But I remember, even as my bone’s ache. 
I was with the congregation. Leading the music
bringing out songs of thankfulness for blessings 
and pure happiness at singing to you.

 So why, O heart, are you fallen?
Why this disturbance, this restlessness within?
Can I hope in Jesus? Can I again praise him?
Is Jesus my help? Is Jesus my God?

This restlessness brings remembrance though.
Remembrance for all the places you’ve led me, where we have walked.
Depth echo’s depth.
The echoes of wave after wave have swept me into the undertow.
See, love that can’t fail drips from Jesus’ hand
and songs carrying hope put me to sleep.

 Still, I say to this God, this foundation, this one stable thing in my life:
Why? Why? Why have you forgotten about me? Where are you?
Here I am weeping as I walk because all I see are injustices.
The rich getting richer, oppressing those under their feet.
And when I say God will overturn these tables, they laugh.
“Where’s your God? “

Oh, heart, why so fallen?
Why this disturbance, this restlessness within?
I will hope in Jesus, and I will again praise his justice.
He is the help of we the oppressed.
He is our God.
The living God.

 

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