Friday, September 02, 2005

The Sting of Truth

When the winds were bearing down on the Gulf Coast a few days ago, I said to my ten-year old son, "Well, if anything happens to New Orleans, I won't be surprised. It's a wicked city. Unbelievable things go on at Mardi Gras." With his characteristic insight, he said, "It might be like a modern day Ninevah because there was no modern day Jonah." I felt a sting as he said it. Not a punch in the stomach, a sting. But the sting of truth began its work in my spirit. And as Katrina hit and decimated not only New Orleans but towns all over the Gulf Coast, the truth gripped me. There in the swill of death and destruction were people--just like my family--people who needed prayer and compassion, not judgment. I began to pray (first that God would forgive me for my judgmental spirit) that the Hurricane victims and volunteers would meet God in this disaster and that He would be enough. That He would rebuild lives, families and spirits. That miracles would be copious and attributable only to Him. Then I prayed that I would be thankful for everything I have and for what God, in His mercy, has told me I can't have. That I would share all that I can--no holding back. Not just today when media bytes inspire my charity but every moment of every day until my days are gone. And most of all, I pray that each person in the Gulf Coast would know that Jesus is real. May them see Him in the face of a stranger offering water, feel Him in the cool cloth laid on a fevered brow by a friend (like Terri Jones in the posted picture), hear Him in the voice of a Reservist directing the weary and stumbling to a bus. May they come to know HIm personally and forever. I finished my prayer and I realized that God could just as easily have judged pharisaical me, but He was longsuffering once again. For that I am glad. May the sting of truth not leave me, Lord. And if it does, send a whole swarm to whip me back into shape. I went to the Word, and this is the psalm I found. Psalm 77 (English Standard Version) English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Psalm 77 In the Day of Trouble I Seek the Lord To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun.[a] A Psalm of Asaph. 1I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 2In 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. 3When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah 4You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5I consider the days of old, the years long ago. 6I said,[b] "Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart." Then my spirit made a diligent search: 7"Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? 8Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? 9Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?" Selah 10Then I said, "I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High."[c] 11I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. 13Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? 14You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. 15You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 16When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. 17The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. 18The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. 19Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.[d] 20You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

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