Monday, April 18, 2011

An Easter Meditation for the Weary

Reading: Psalm 69   
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. 2I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. 3I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. (Psalm 69:1-3)
Have you ever felt as if you were so down, so beat up, so overwhelmed that your eyes were failing in your search for God? “Where is God in the midst of this pain?” “Why does it seem that no matter how much I call out, He gets further away?” The psalmist seems to feel that way.
Maybe it is temptation that overwhelms you; you feel harassed and helpless to stop the incoming missiles of lies and luring by the enemy of your soul. The more you resist, the harder it gets. The psalmist said, “My eyes fail, looking for my God.” It is our inability to see God in moments like this that expresses our desperate need. We need vision; we need to see God. We need to know He is there and that He will deliver. We walk by faith, but faith isn't something we can conjure up on our own. Faith isn't like a muscle we exercise, and as long as we keep working it out, we will have plenty of it. Faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8).
So, what now? What are we to do in moments like those described in Psalm 69, when we are having a faith crisis, when our eyes fail looking for God? (By the way, you aren't alone in having a faith crisis. All disciples have them. If you haven't had one yet, don't worry, you will!) I think the psalmist had it right: cry out to God for help! “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.” Don't run from God when your faith is weak; run to Him. When your eyes fail, do like Bartimaeus and call out for mercy, and just keep getting louder (Mark 10:46-48). And when the Savior asks, what do you want me to do for you, plead for eyes to see; faith to keep following Him!
The psalmist was not unaware of his guilt, but he realized his suffering was unjust (Psalm 69:4-5). He was troubled by the fact that he was suffering as one whose hope was in God, and at the hands of those who disregard God, who scorn God. The more he pursued God, it seemed, the more people would make sport of him (Psalm 69:10-11). His eyes—his faith—were growing dim. He needed help if he were to continue on.
My title for this blog, “An Easter Meditation for the Weary,” may provoke a question. “What does all this have to do with Easter?” “What does it have to do with Christ's resurrection?” Let's look at John 20:20 for the answer.
19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)
Here we have the disciples, huddled in fear for the suffering they may endure because of their love for Christ. The Savior had been crucified; what would be done to the disciples? What did they need? They needed to see! They needed what some have called, “20-20 Vision”. In John 20:20 they received it. Their fear, their weariness, the sinking feeling they all had at the death of their Lord, was replaced with overwhelming joy!
Christ Jesus Himself had gone through Psalm 69. Psalm 69:8-9 are verses in which each of the phrases at different places are applied to Christ's sufferings. Paul writes, “For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: 'The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.'” Jesus is truly the Righteous One who suffered at the hands of the wicked, bearing the reproach the wicked deserved. Because of this, we have been redeemed. And His resurrection gives us clarity of vision: “No matter how bad it gets, Christ assures me of resurrection, of victory beyond the worst the enemy can throw at me.” His resurrection is the assurance of our resurrection, our hope, our life. The life we now live, with its miry depths in which I sink, flood waters that engulf me, and parched throat that I endure as I thirst for the Living God, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me! (Galatians 2:20)
Easter, the resurrection of Christ from the grave, is the vision I must ever go to in my battle against sin, against doubt, against fear, and against persecution. May we all realize that when we suffer untold pains as the psalmist describes that we are entering into the suffering of Christ! I believe this is how Paul saw it when he said,
10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,

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