April 24, 2016 – manuscript

How will deeper roots help when God seems distant or something didn’t go quite like I expected?  – Psalm 102; Psalm 91

Do you ever wonder about the bad days that other people have?  Bad days and mood swings aren’t reserved for certain social classes or intelligent levels or even age groups.  Every person has mood swings, bad days and emotions he/she just cannot figure out how to control.  It’s part of the transformation of our lives.  Each of us have occasional bad days, but there is always another person that is having a worse day than any of us.  Here are some recent headlines for people whose bad days may have been worse than ours.

  • April 18, 2016 – Shaken Ecuador hunts for survivors amid 7.8 quake debris. Saturday’s earthquake killed at least 272 people and injured at least 2068 others.[1]
  • April 18, 2016 – 500 kids sick at Chinese school built on toxic soil. China’s central government said it will investigate a report that close to 500 students became sick with illnesses including lymphoma and leukemia.[2]
  • April 18, 2016 – Vapour from aromatherapy diffuser caused fire that killed IT engineer[3]
  • April 18, 2016 – Indianapolis’ violent toll: 12 shot, 6 dead in 60 hours[4]
  • April 4, 2016 – Candy theft could mean king-size sentence: 20 years to life. A man accused of habitual thievery stole $31 of candy and never stole more than $500 of goods, now faces 20 years to life in prison because of harsher punishment for repeat offenders in Louisiana.[5]

Bad days happen and we are often quick to mope around and feel sorry for ourselves.  At times, we are equally as quick to blame others and even God for the bad day.  Fortunately, we have numerous examples of people in the Bible that overcame their bad days.

King David had to hide for his life a couple of different times.  He was guilty of adultery, murder, conspiracy and others sins.  God called him a man after his own heart.  Abraham lied to a King twice about his wife.  He was disobedient by taking Lot with him. God formed a nation from his family.  Jonah was downright defiant with God and he was responsible for leading 120,000 individuals to repentance.  Daniel had bad days that included a lion’s den because of his faithfulness to God.  Paul had several bad days.  In fact, several others (including Jesus) had bad days.  One Psalmist cries out before God because he feels alone and is having a pity part.

Psalm 102:1-11

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you!  2Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress!  Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!

3For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.  4My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread.  5Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh.  6I am like a desert owl of the wilderness, like an owl of the waste places; 7I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.  8All the day my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse.  9For I eat ashes like bread and mingle tears with my drink, 10because of your indignation and anger; for you have taken me up and thrown me down.  11My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass. [6]

Americans have a certain way of dealing with people that live like this Psalmist writes.  First, we call them crazy.  Second, we medicate them.  Let’s not be too quick to pass judgment on this writer because there is as important concept that we need to embrace as we pursue deeper roots.  This passage of Scripture is written a bit like Yoda wrote it.  Verses 3-11 declare that he feels abandoned and lonely.  Maybe something didn’t go quite like he expected.  He is declaring that he is a mess.  My life doesn’t mean anything.  My heart is lifeless.  I’m not eating.  I’m just skin and bones.  It seems like I don’t fit with where I am.  I’m not sleeping.  People belittle me.  My name is being used for a common curse word.  I’m depressed.  My life doesn’t mean anything.  God, why are you mad at me?  What did I do to deserve this?

All of these are normal emotions that people feel.  Every age group battles and suffers through some of these emotions.  The Psalmist declares on paper that he isn’t okay and he’s not satisfied.  He’s not filled up.  He’s not revitalized.  Verses 1-2 reveals the raw emotion of this Psalmist that each of us might experience through our struggles.

Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you!  God, my life has struggles that I can’t handle.  God, I’m tired of fighting the same battles.  God, I am not content with how his life is going.  God, I thought life would look different at this stage.  God, I need to know that you haven’t abandoned me too.  God, I need to know that you are going to hear me when I cry out.  God, I can’t do this by myself any more.

Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress!  God, I really need you to show up in my life.  I really need to feel your presence.  You’re my last hope.

Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!  God, I give me something.  An answer of any kind would be great.  I just need to hear you.

If you resonate with any of those emotions; if you’re having a bad season of life; if you’re just struggling to get through days or weeks, there is hope.  If you’re bad day or bad circumstance is driving you to the feet of Jesus, you’re exactly where he wants you to be RIGHT NOW.  At the feet of Jesus.  If there is a circumstance or situation that increases your hunger and thirst for God and grows deeper roots in your life, why would God remove it before he is ready?  Psalm 91 reinforces the sovereignty of God in each of our lives.

Psalm 91:1-4

1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  2I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  3For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.  4He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. [7]

He who dwells in the shelter of Adonai will experience the covering of the Almighty.  He who trusts in the Lord, will gain a refuge and a fortress.  Abiding in the shadow means we are delivered from the traps and the poison that steals are root system.

You’re going to have bad days.  I’m going to have bad days.  When we dwell in our bad days or bad circumstances, we miss the shelter of Adonai.  We miss the covering of the wings.  We fall into the traps.  We eat the poison.  We try to prove we can do life on our own and we cause more trouble in the process.  We were meant to dwell in the shelter of Adonai, especially when we’re having a bad day.  I have two questions for us today.  First, are you allowing Jesus Christ to be your refuge and your fortress in every circumstance that comes your way?  Second, are you allowing yourself to be covered by his wings.

[1] https://www.yahoo.com/news/quake-kills-262-along-devastated-ecuador-coast-011327728.html?nhp=1

[2] https://www.yahoo.com/news/report-500-kids-sick-chinese-school-built-toxic-102941128.html?nhp=1

[3] https://www.yahoo.com/news/vapour-from-aromatherapy-diffuser-caused-fire-that-114517249.html?nhp=1

[4] http://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2016/04/18/indianapolis-violent-toll-12-shot-6-dead-60-hours/83176282/

[5] https://www.yahoo.com/news/man-accused-stealing-candy-could-20-years-life-115120855.html?nhp=1

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ps 102:1–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ps 91:1–4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.