Friday, January 18, 2008

The Work of Remembering

Earlier this week Diane and I met with Jenny and Dayna, two GUPY’s who decided to stay in Greensboro after their summer time here was through (Dayna has been here four years, Jenny since this past August). The idea behind the time was for Diane and I to encourage these young women in continuing to seek God’s heart for Glenwood and to see how they were doing living in our neighborhood. As we shared how we were doing, each of us seemed to be feeling a sense of hopelessness, and we felt like we were either just going through the motions or feeling angry. Our desire was to live transformational lives here, but when hope gets eroded, that is hard to do. The inability of the police to shut down two prominent drug and prostitution houses on our corner, the continuing cycle of brokenness in the lives of several of the women that Diane and I have gotten to know over the years, feelings of being uncomfortable and not entirely safe – all of these left us in an icky place. And because I knew that I had not responded to my struggles with prayer, I asked the others if they had, and the answer was a unanimous “No.”

The Lord brought to mind a Psalm that I had looked at briefly with my IV colleagues at our December staff conference, and so I had us look at Psalm 13, a very short Psalm but very appropriate.

PS 13:1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

PS 13:2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

and every day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

PS 13:3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

PS 13:4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"

and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

PS 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love;

my heart rejoices in your salvation.

PS 13:6 I will sing to the LORD,

for he has been good to me.

As we looked these words, we talked about how there were three movements in this Psalm. Verses 1-2 are just straight up despair, wondering if the Lord was even present, wondering how long things would be the way that they were, and on this particular night, that was where most of us were. Verses 3-4 are a prayer, asking God to do something about the things that are going on, and we realized that we were mostly stuck in verses 1-2 and not moving into the prayer of verses 3-4.

But how do you get moving again and get unstuck? God graciously provides a hint in verses 5-6. The work of remembering unsticks us and moves us to a place where we can pray and ask God to do something about the things that seem overwhelming. We remember that God has been good to us. We remember that His love is unfailing. We remember the salvation that He has given us. And so we trust and ask Him to look on us and to answer. God hasn’t forgotten us – His love is unfailing. And furthermore, His love for the broken around us is unfailing. We can look on them with Christ-healed eyes, believing that God has won salvation for them, that they, too, can rejoice in God’s goodness to them, if they would just believe that the needs that they fill with anything but Jesus can be met by Him alone (and that He longs to do that for them). God’s love is and has been unfailing, He has been good to me, and so I will sing and rejoice and believe that transformation will come as we seek Him in prayer, asking Him to work a miracle on Silver Avenue.


Alex said...

great, great post my friend...

Elana said...

amen, amen :)

that theme of hopelessness has been a distraction with stuff w/my family lately...but then i'll hear words reminiscent of what you always told us ("that's a lie! don't believe it!")...good post :)

Jenny said...

God strikes a chord in my heart through pastor Marsh once again! I'm so thankful to have that time to meet with you guys. There IS hope in Jesus for our neighborhood...only in Him, not in what I can do. Thanks for the reminders and encouragement!