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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I ain't no quitter!!!

11-12 Now God, don't hold out on me, don't hold back your passion.  Your love and truth are all that keeps me together.  When troubles ganged up on me, a mob of sins past counting, I was so swamped by guilt I couldn't see my way clear.  More guilt in my heart than hair on my head, so heavy the guilt that my heart gave out. 
(Psalm 40:11-12)

David starts this psalm with the words, "I waited, and waited, and waited for God..."  Have you ever been in the position of just waiting, and waiting, and waiting - all the while growing more fearful and frustrated that nothing is happening?  If you have walked with Christ for more than an hour, I think it is safe to assume that you might have experienced this kind of agony in waiting!  We don't understand the delays and we don't remember the next time how long of a wait it was the last time!

David's next thoughts are, "At last he looked; finally he listened."  That is often how we think about God when the answer seems delayed.  But...I don't want us to miss the entire context of this psalm.  David really gets down to the crux of things in the middle of the psalm - when he begins to describe what he had come to realize about his condition of heart.  Here's just a taste of what David had been through:  "6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you—that's not what you're after.  Being religious, acting pious—      that's not what you're asking for.  You've opened my ears so I can listen."

David had been in a place of "doing" - being religious, acting pious - really with no true heart devotion behind the actions.  In fact, he goes on to say that it was when he actually took time to read what God wrote about him (from the Word) that he made the turn-around.  I think that is a natural response to the "waiting" that we sometimes experience with what we expect God to do, what we hope he will answer, etc.  We "fabricate" all kinds of "doing" in order to see if in the "doing" God will take notice and act!  David came to realize that all the "doing" in the world really does not move the heart of God - our heart devotion is what moves him!

Then we come to this revelation that David makes - "I am so swamped by guilt - I could not see my way clear of it!"  I just wonder if the "wait" is sometimes to bring us to a place where we see our need for repentance. That is actually one of the outcomes we see repeatedly in the Bible.  God allows his children to experience some delay in the answer they are seeking, they come to a place where they recognize unrepented sin in their lives, and when they begin to reveal their desire to be free of their guilt, God begins to intervene.  For some, that time of waiting instantly goes to a time of self-examination and repentance.  For the rest of us, we wallow a while in our misery of sin's guilt and try to figure out why the prayers we lift are not answered!

Yet, look at what David said, "More guilt in my heart than hair on my head!"  He was pretty down on himself at that point, yet he acknowledges that if God would "unleash" his passion over David's life, his guilt would be lifted.  It was God's love and truth that would restore him - hold him together when all else seemed to be working to tear him apart.  This is true of us...nothing holds us together, puts the pieces back together, than the passion of God unleashed in our lives.

So, we cannot end there...we need to see how David ends this prayer to his faithful God.  Here it is:

 16-17 But all who are hunting for you—oh, let them sing and be happy.  Let those who know what you're all about tell the world you're great and not quitting.  And me? I'm a mess. I'm nothing and have nothing: make something of me.  You can do it; you've got what it takes—but God, don't put it off.

He recognizes that there are men and women around him who are "stronger" than he is at that very moment.  He turns to them and asks them to proclaim the truth over his life and the lives of others who are in the similar place of hurting.  His proclamation is that God is NOT quitting!  He may be a mess personally, but it is God that can take that mess and turn it into a glorious thing.  

You may be in the place where you feel that all you have to bring to God are the "messes" of your life.  That is okay - God can deal with the honesty of our repentant heart.  He already knows about the messes anyway - at the moment we bring them to him, we begin to realize that he is NOT quitting!  He has us in his sights and he desires to intervene right where we need the greatest interventions!  We may need the strength of another who is walking this path with Christ to proclaim that truth over our lives until we finally "get it".  That is okay!  Let me be the first to proclaim it -- "God is NOT quitting!!!"  He has you in his sights and he is at the ready to release his passion in your life once again!  Open up to him and see him restore what your doubt, fear, fatigue, wrong attitudes, etc., have destroyed!  God is NOT a quitter - don't you be either!