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#Psalm 109:2-5

Note: I wrote the following in December of last year in my journal. Many words were written in that journal that will not be published. Some were too personal, some too dark. But the following I believe should see the light of day. I published a post a week ago around this song and hinted at some of this writing, but rereading this told me I should publish this too.


It’s been a rough few years around my house. This year was one of the roughest. The tears cried, the sleepless nights, the anxiety, and the darkness snatching at our feet, screaming for despair. I’ve written more privately this year than I have in recent years. I want to share a few scribbles from those writings.

But my heart is broken, Lord. My nightmares keep me up at night. My daymares keep me from focusing all day.

Where seldom the darkness takes form while I walk, when I rest the lurking, oozing, despair drapes itself over my shoulders. The sleeping dragons awake and intrude on my personal space, their heavy breathing reminding me who is lord over this present age. Albeit temporary.

I do not camp in this valley alone. Even when the fire goes out and the shadows casted become all-encompassing, You are here and know what comes next.

And I lived in the Psalms. In David, our bard king, who had it very easy in life… I kid, his life was rougher than rough.

My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire (Psalm 57:4, NASB)

Yet, this man after God’s heart sang.

“Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!” Psalm 57:8 ESV

And I wrote:

God has him. And he knows it. He feels it in his bones. So instead of whimpering cries to the rocks, he grabs his lyre and strikes a chord.

One day I will understand. Or take rest before the Throne.

I know in my bones who has me. I read earlier this year that the Irish phrase things as “sadness is upon me,” instead of saying “I am sad.” See, in the English, we identify the emotion with a state of being. The Irish, from what I understand, identify emotion as a fleeting thing that rests for a time and then leaves. It isn’t who you are, but what you feel. Above you’ll see that affect my words: “despair drapes itself over my shoulders”.

And that brings us to the song that has chased me through the years and where my Christmas playlist starts this year.

And in despair I bowed my head: “There is no peace on earth,” I said, “For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

It’s hard coming to Christmas, a season of joy and hope, when the shadows abound. When the lurking darkness breathes fire, when hate is strong and our songs are mocked.

For the wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

Psalm 109:2-5

Despair is the complete loss of hope. We hear the songs, the words repeat— wild and sweet— but darkness… And that’s the thing about hope. Hope is not for the now but the later.

The bells ring out: God is not dead and He does not sleep.

This lyric, in other words, echoed in my darkest nights this year. I knew not what lay in shadow waiting— and sometimes I knew exactly what lay waiting— but I also knew that while the wily Dragon might currently reside over our world, over him is a mightier King that is in control of every step we take and that cunning Dragon is under His control.

Peace on Earth, good will to men. That is your hope, Christian. Rest in it here, before it is reality. Know that it is coming. Know that He has got you.

Lightbearer

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

John 3:20

Those in the darkness hate the light. And you are to bear the light. And they will hate you for it.

For the wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
They encircle me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
In return for my love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer.
So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.

Psalm 109:2-5

You, Christian, are a lightbearer. You are to raise your children to be lightbearers. This week the darkness started to really wear on one of my children. The hatred started to hurt my child’s heart. We talked about how darkness when illuminated is offended, a self-righteous act as the offense is not due to the light but the offensiveness being illuminated. Some things the darkness would prefer to remain in shadow, in secret.

I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.

Psalm 69:12

There are lies being spread about my family. Intentional, grievious lies with the intent to destroy. Deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, attacking without cause. Scripture has been a place of peace for me, especially the Psalms and Proverbs, this last year. I told my child that when they hate us, we love them harder. It’s the easy response to return cruel words to their hatred, but this is not the way of the light. It’s the way of darkness. We, in choosing to follow Christ, will be hated by the world. It is what our Lord told us would be our reality.

And it sucks. I told my child that the pain of betrayal, of vitriol, of hatred doesn’t get better. What gets better is the strength of our faith and our training in lifting the shield.

Christian, your job as a parent is getting harder. It seems like every day there are new things you need to protect them from. The passive agressive distain Christians got when we were younger is now out-in-the-open hatred. And it’s not even just social media, I see it openly in the mainstream media, from our President, and even from the occasional coworker that is unaware that there are Christians nearby. And your kids can see this. Raise them strong in their faith, ready to provide reasonable argument for their faith, prepare them to cling to the Cross no matter the taunts, the jeers, or the songs the drunkards make about them. Teach them to respond to the hateful songs of drunkards with praise for the Lord and love for their enemies.

Raise them to be lightbearers.