Psalm 102 – Cry out to God

Today’s psalm covers a wide range of emotions. The psalmist lays it all out there for God to hear. But the journey the psalmist takes through these verses is inspiring. When we cry out to God, our troubles do not get the last word.

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
    let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
    in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
    answer me speedily in the day when I call.

For my days pass away like smoke,
    and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is stricken and withered like grass;
    I am too wasted to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
    my bones cling to my skin.
I am like an owl of the wilderness,
    like a little owl of the waste places.
I lie awake;
    I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
All day long my enemies taunt me;
    those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread,
    and mingle tears with my drink,
10 because of your indignation and anger;
    for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
11 My days are like an evening shadow;
    I wither away like grass.

12 But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
    your name endures to all generations.
13 You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,
    for it is time to favor it;
    the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants hold its stones dear,
    and have pity on its dust.
15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
    and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16 For the Lord will build up Zion;
    he will appear in his glory.
17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
    and will not despise their prayer.

18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
    so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
19 that he looked down from his holy height,
    from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
    to set free those who were doomed to die;
21 so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion,
    and his praise in Jerusalem,
22 when peoples gather together,
    and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

23 He has broken my strength in midcourse;
    he has shortened my days.
24 “O my God,” I say, “do not take me away
    at the midpoint of my life,
you whose years endure
    throughout all generations.”

25 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you endure;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
27     but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall live secure;
    their offspring shall be established in your presence.

We cry out to God

The psalmist begins by crying out to God from a place of deep despair and distress. He is begging to be heard, to be understood. There is a feeling of being tossed aside and ignored by God and others. So the psalmist petitions God for an audience.

Then he gives a list of his own personal limitations. He knows his time is short and his strength is insufficient. What I hear the psalmist wonder here is, “Will you hear me, God? Why should you listen?”

Have you had those moments? Have you lost sleep wondering if God would hear your prayers? When you cry out to God, do you believe God will answer? The psalmist’s list of personal trials and shortcomings is intense. He is sick, depressed, wandering, lost, bullied and left behind. Your list may be similar or entirely unique, so let’s consider what happens next.

And God hears

And then, my favorite part of any story: the turning point. The psalmist has shared how hopeless his situation is. Everything and everyone seem to have turned against him. But even in his hopelessness, God is still God. God is still powerful and just and compassionate! This is a great moment!

God’s power doesn’t automatically make the dark moments go away but when we look to God and recognize God’s sovereignty, our eyes are lifted about our troubles. This same idea is expressed in Psalm 121. When we cry out to God, God hears us.

Some situations make it especially difficult to lift our gaze to God. Personal loss, devastating diagnoses, dreams disappearing, whatever it might be for you. Starting in verse 19, we find the reason we know we can trust God during trials. First, God looked down and saw our distress. Next, God heard our cries for freedom as we were enslaved to sin. Then, God came to rescue us! God stepped down to our level and met with us to free us from our slavery. Finally, God established us as believers. We are secure in God’s presence. There will be times when it feels like danger or sin surround us, but in God’s presence, we are safe.

Our call to action

First, are you in a place where you can cry out to God? Do you feel comfortable being honest and bringing all of your tears and frustrations before God? This is an important step in deepening our relationship with God. If you aren’t there yet, pray for an open heart and the courage to be broken and humble in God’s presence.

It’s truly amazing to experience this kind of relationship with God. I find it incredible that God welcomes us to safety in the presence of the Trinity. And we could just revel in how life-changing it is for us. But this psalm gives us some marching orders as well. Verse 18 tells us to record what God has done so that those who are not even born yet may praise the Lord.

What has God in your life and who have you told about it? I believe that God wants to have a relationship with you and change your life. I also believe a part of our story with God is sharing that story. Think about who has helped your faith grow and then consider who you could offer that to as well. We are a family of faith because our stories are all intertwined. If nothing else, start writing down what God has done and is doing in your life so those not even born yet may praise the Lord.

Sharing is caringShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

How Cleaning my House Cleanses my Soul

I’ll be honest, I don’t like to clean and what’s more, I’m not very good at it. I’ve always been fairly lazy when it comes to cleaning and I haven’t taken the time to practice. I love to dirty every inch of the kitchen making fabulous food but the resulting mess makes me really sad. Usually, I just shut the door to the kitchen and pretend the mess doesn’t exist.

Thankfully, I hit the husband jackpot because not only is my husband great at cleaning, he actually likes it! I guess opposites really do attract! So he does a lot of the cleaning around our house, but I do think it is important for me to pitch in as well.

The other day when I was washing the dishes, I realized that if I’m intentional about it, cleaning can actually be a spiritual practice for me. Cleaning requires me to think about someone else before myself. It requires that I practice discipline and consider how another person’s perspective is important.

In just about every other part of my life, I love to serve. I’m thrilled to help anyone with a project or teach someone a new skill. So I got to thinking, how can I use my love of serving to improve my attitude on cleaning?

How does cleaning help me serve?

Something I’ve learned about myself is that it is important for me to serve a higher purpose. I can’t do something just because or just because I’m told to (that was probably frustrating for my parents). I have to know the why and understand the desired outcome. So naturally, for me, I have to ask: who am I serving?

My husband

This one is probably a no-brainer as he has to live in the mess that I create too. But I know that cleaning serves him because if I don’t do it, he has to.

My friend Lauren taught me a fun way to find ways to serve your spouse. First, ask them what their favorite characteristic or action of God is. Then think about how you can live into that characteristic. For example, when I asked my husband this question, he said his favorite thing about God is how God creates. He loves the creation story and continuing to see how God interacts with creation. I had to think about this one for a while, but Lauren helped me realize that this means my husband’s environment affects him a lot. His high regard for how God creates tells me that he values beauty and order around him. This means that I can serve him by keeping our shared spaces clean and ordered.

I’ll give you another quick example, in case you want to try it yourself. My favorite attribute of God is God’s mystery. This tells my husband that spontaneity and surprises are important to me. Now, this exercise is not meant to be a miracle pill or magical fix. It is just a way to learn more about your spouse’s understanding and relationship with God as well as learn a way to better relate to them.

Family and friends

From the very beginning of our marriage, we put a lot of value in being able to host family and friend gatherings. So when I am cleaning the guest room, I can think about our friends who come visit from far away. While I pick up the piano/reading room, I’m making space for my younger cousins to play or read in. Keeping the kitchen and dining room in order means that we can invite our parents over for dinner at any moment.

Our small group

This group is made up of some wonderfully supportive people and we were so thankful to be invited in a few years ago. Each week, our group meets in someone’s home, we have a discussion about that Sunday’s message and then we eat together. Our group takes turns hosting; each week someone different volunteers. I do really enjoy hosting but in order for that to work, the house needs to be in some sort of order. I don’t believe hosting requires a perfectly neat house. But people do need a place to sit down and relax. When I’m cleaning, I am making space to take a turn hosting our small group and inviting encouraging conversation into our home.

Myself

Even though cleaning is not my favorite activity and sometimes it is draining, I feel more at peace when the house is not a mess. I am able to think more clearly and find what I’m looking for faster. It also gives me the freedom to invite people over which is something that fills my emotional tank.

God

Lastly, and most importantly, cleaning my house really does cleanse my soul. Most often when I’m cleaning, I’ll turn on Pandora to one of my favorite stations (usually All Sons and Daughters) and soak in the inspiring music. During this time, God always brings to mind other areas of my life that need some cleansing as well. It has turned into a form of prayer which actually distracts me from the chores.

Your reasons for cleaning might be very different from mine. But I hope that you are inspired to look at this chore (or other chores) with a little more positivity in the future. Take a minute and share your best cleaning shortcuts in the comments below!

Sharing is caringShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Praying the Psalms: (Re)Learning how to Pray

Do you remember learning how to pray?

Maybe it was in a church basement or at summer camp. Perhaps you learned how to pray as part of your bedtime routine or over meals with your family.

Some of us were never specifically taught but we just picked it up from hearing other people pray. Or you just figured it out when at some point you had to cry out to something and hope it was listening. Continue reading “Praying the Psalms: (Re)Learning how to Pray”

Sharing is caringShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

5 Questions to Help You Find Your Passion

Why finding your passion is important

I hear people say all the time, “I wish I knew what my purpose is!” And I always want to say, “I wish you did too!!” Our purpose is the place where our God-given skills and talents meet our passion. Unfortunately, we often get only half of the equation. We either know how to use our talents, but we’re bored by that work. Or we try to run after things that are fun, but we don’t have the needed abilities. Continue reading “5 Questions to Help You Find Your Passion”

Sharing is caringShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Following Jesus’ Example

This post may contain affiliate links. To learn more, read my disclosure policy.

Seek First the Kingdom of God, part 3

Before you keep reading here, make sure to check out part 1 and part 2 of the series!

How we follow Jesus’ example of seeking first the kingdom of God.

We know that we seek first God’s kingdom by actively pursuing the experience and availability of God’s reign for everyone. This means that we are working towards restoration in our relationships, neighborhoods and workplaces. We’ve seen examples of how Jesus did this while he was on earth. Jesus used his time to serve those in need regardless of his schedule or the expectations other people placed on him. Continue reading “Following Jesus’ Example”

Sharing is caringShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someone