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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pressure cookers

1 Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—you get a fresh start, your slate's wiped clean.  2 Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you're holding nothing back from him. 3 When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. 4 The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up.  5 Then I let it all out; I said, "I'll make a clean breast of my failures to God."  Suddenly the pressure was gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. (Psalm 32:1-5)


I could have inserted this entire Psalm this morning to share the awesomeness of our God in his absolute forgiveness, but I wanted to share just these first five verses because they speak volumes in themselves.  David says, "Count yourself lucky."  We often use this phrase, "I am so lucky", often without realizing what it means to be "lucky".  It means that we are "favored".  David is saying that we should count ourselves as specifically favored by God!  Neat!


Being the special object of his favor should produce within each of us a sense of awe - tremendous wonder at how the God of the universe could have favor on us.    His care for each of us begins with a specific action of his love - he forgives us - giving us a fresh start.  The slate has been wiped clean!  How many times do we say, "I wish I could get a fresh start"?  Well, we can - God's footstool is the place of fresh starts.  Fresh starts are characterized by being able to leave all the mess of our past exactly where it is and moving on.  David says that not only is this possible - it is a reality as we cry out to our God.


Our psalmist is so faithful to point out the misery of spirit, mind, and body that becomes the "mire" of our lives when we remain in our sinful condition, wallowing in our failures.  It weighs heavy on us - bringing disease, sickness, depression, and even something David refers to as a "dryness".  Living in the desert, I understand the effects of heat.  I have seen the sun literally turn a body that is otherwise healthy into a mess of dehydration, electrolytes totally out of balance, and the ensuing weakness absolutely destroying internal organs.  Where there is "dryness", it is impossible to maintain life!


Why is it that we live like pressure cookers?  We let all the pressures build up, then at the point of absolute explosive capacity, we let it all out!  We remain in our place of absolute misery - unaware of what tremendous grace and peace lays just on the other side of our pressure cooker - and stew in our misery!  David said that when he finally "let it all out", the pressure was gone.  That was not recorded for all time in the Word simply because it sounded good - God knows all too well our tendency to keep it all inside and attempt to deal with life's failures on our own terms.  He also knows how messed up we can become when we do!


Today, if you have been keeping it all wrapped up inside - afraid to let it go - allowing the very juices of your joy to be dried up - it is time to let it all out!  God is not stunned by our guilt - he already has made provision for that.  God is not shamed by our failures - he already has provided a way back from those.  He is not intimidated by the mess of our lives - he has already made a plan for restoring the disorder of our past with the perfect peace of the present and the joyful anticipation of the future.  Whatever it is that is robbing you of your joy, keeping you bound in your failures, let it out!  God stands ready to relieve you of that pressure today!