Wednesday, August 29, 2018

This Is My Weakness

I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, that he may hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.
I think of God, and I moan; I meditate, and my spirit faints.

You keep my eyelids from closing; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old, and remember the years of long ago.
I commune with my heart in the night; I meditate and search my spirit:
“Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love ceased forever? Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”
✛ Ps 77:1-9

The first half of Psalm 77 is the prayer of the pitiful, the prayer of the sore oppressed. But at the end of this half—or in the middle of the Psalm, if you're reading the whole thing at once—comes a very odd verse:

And I say, “It is my grief that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
Ps 77:10

The verse is confusing because the Hebrew is very unclear. Translations of it vary wildly. I think I might prefer, "This is my weakness; the right hand of the Most High can change it."

In other words, all these complaints are the point at which I am most vulnerable. Now I can open up my life to the One who is able to transform my weakness to strength. But how might this work? Psalm 77 in its entirety moves from complaint to an acknowledgment of God's power to transform to a recounting of God's past deeds. The message is that remembering God's greatness in previous times of trouble is a profession of faith in God's power to uphold me through current difficulties.

 I share with you my weakness, Lord, not that you will wallow with me in my complaints, but that you may transform my hopelessness into hope. As your tomb is empty, so may be my list of all that holds me back. I pray in your Name as you taught me...