26 August 2012

Have You Lost Your Perspective?

    When my soul was embittered,
        when I was pricked in heart,
    I was brutish and ignorant;
        I was like a beast toward you.
    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 portion forever.
(Psalm 73:21-26 ESV)

      Dear Father, the older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate the many voices you’re recorded in your Word. There’s no moment, melancholy, mania, or madness we experience in life that you haven’t anticipated and validated. Today I praise you for writing into Israel’s hymnal a song for the bitter and “beastly”—those who have moved into the temporary insanity of forgetting the gospel.
     Indeed, there are times when I forget that I’m living in a fallen world with a fragile heart among other foolish people just like me; what’s worse, I experientially forget how much you care for me, my standing in grace and your Big Story of redemption. My expectations of you, and of others, become more connected to la-la land than Canaan Land. When this happens, I become just like the psalmist Asaph—a thrower of pity parties, little ones and bigger ones.
     That you tolerate us in those times of disconnect is extraordinary. That you still treasure us when we lose touch with gospel sanity is astonishing. When we shake a fist at you, your grasp of grace is all the tighter. When we complain about a stony, silent heaven, you’re actively, quietly guiding our every footstep. When we try to ignore or run away from you, you’re just as resolved to end our journey in the fullness of your presence and joy.
     It melts my iceberg, jagged-edged heart… that’s what such love does. Continue the thaw. I’m not just the biggest loser when I pitch my tent in the land of disconnected heart; I’m also a thief, robbing a lot of people who are dear to me.
     Restore to me the full enjoyment of your free and full salvation in Jesus, dear Father. Rescue me from my self-centered, demanding heart. Let me live and love like a gentle, grace-full man. Life in this world is just too short to waste on being pouty and petty. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ loving and faithful name. - Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.

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