Sunday, March 2, 2014

Because He Turned His Ear to Me. . .

I've been wanting to write this post for over two weeks but am just now sitting down to do it. Of course, every post I've ever written has been at least that long running through my head before making it to the computer, if it ever even gets there. But this one seems fitting for me to write on a snow day, if for no other reason than as a reminder for myself. Snowed-in days have been some of the hardest to deal with since Verlin died (except for Valentine's weekend, which is a story all its own!). You'd think I'd be used to them by now with all the practice we've had this winter and all the time I've had to prepare myself and plan to have a good balance of rest and productivity. But somehow once the reality hits that I really am going to be inside by myself all day, it makes me want to just sit and cry and miss my sweetheart. And truly I need to take time to do just that sometimes, but it is still hard.

Part of me wants to go back and delete the entire first paragraph since it's really not the point. But the reason I will keep it is to hopefully add a little credibility to the rest of this post. Because who doesn't have struggles, and who wants to listen to anyone whose life seems to be easy and unrelatable?

But I wanted to share a Scripture that has been so meaningful to me for many years and completely hit me afresh recently. One of the things I love about God's Word is how even a familiar passage can speak volumes and feel like a "now" word from the Lord in a particular season. That's just one of many reasons why it is so important and beneficial to keep reading and studying the Bible always. And it explains how I can feel like the study I'm doing right now is exactly what I need to be reading even though I already did the same one 10 years ago. This Psalm has actually been on my refrigerator for even a couple of years longer than that. It was in the conclusion to a simple Bible study book I had borrowed from a friend (shortly before either of us had even heard of Beth Moore!) as I was going through a difficult time but in some ways was just beginning to realize more of the depth of daily relationship Christ offers us through prayer and His Word.

As I got to the end of the study in just a couple of weeks and read that Psalm, I can remember being overcome by every word and just the sheer grace of God to desire to hear my prayers and be in relationship with me. I printed it out on cardstock, kept in on my refrigerator, and practically memorized it in the weeks to follow, even as I continued to go through other studies. And though I have read it many times since, it completely caught me afresh a couple of weeks ago in the study I'm doing now. It was in the middle of several other Psalms we read in a row in that particular lesson, but it stopped me dead in my tracks. I want to share it because I feel like this is my testimony-- it's where I've been and where I am now and where I am going. Because the God of the universe turned His ear to me, I will keep calling on Him. I will tell of His goodness. I will give Him thanks. And I will testify of all He has done and all He is doing. I pray you will be blessed as you read it and know He hears your voice as well.

     I love the LORD, for He heard my voice;
        He heard my cry for mercy.
     Because He turned His ear to me,
        I will call on Him as long as I live.
     The cords of death entangled me,
        the anguish of the grave came upon me;
        I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
     Then I called on the name of the LORD:
        "O LORD, save me!"

     The LORD is gracious and righteous;
        our God is full of compassion.
     The LORD protects the simplehearted;
        when I was in great need, He saved me.

     Be at rest once more, O my soul,
        for the LORD has been good to you.

     For You, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
        my eyes from tears,
        my feet from stumbling,
     that I may walk before the LORD
        in the land of the living.
     I believed; therefore I said,
        "I am greatly afflicted."
     And in my dismay I said,
        "All men are liars."

     How can I repay the LORD 
        for all His goodness to me?
     I will lift up the cup of salvation
        and call on the name of the LORD.
     I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
        in the presence of all His people.

     Precious in the sight of the LORD
        is the death of His saints.
     O LORD, truly I am Your servant;
        I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant,
        You have freed me from my chains.

     I will sacrifice a thank offering to You
        and call on the name of the LORD.
     I will fulfill my vows to the LORD 
        in the presence of all His people,
     in the courts of the house of the LORD
        in your midst, O Jerusalem.

     Praise the LORD!

             - Psalm 116 (NIV84)