Devotional on the Psalms

2019 – Marina in Wilson, NY

Being real with God
Psalm 6: If you love me at all, get me out of here.
When I spend any time in the Psalms at all (getting beyond the 1st Psalm, the 23rd, and the 100th) I find that they aren’t all about praising the Lord for his blessings and protection. In fact, there is a lot of heartfelt pain. In this Psalm David cries out to God, asking the Lord to let up on him. He says he’s black and blue and tired of all this! I find here, not only permission to speak to God frankly, from my heart, but I sense the whisper of the Holy Spirit reminding me that, if I do complain to God like that it had better be the real deal. That is, if I’m really hurting and broken and angry, then God wants me to freely express it to him. If I’m just complaining though, I need to stop whining. I need to get on with life; trusting God to see me through. There’s a big difference between my bringing my brokenness to God, honestly expressing my heart to him, and my just being a wimp who complains to God about every little setback in life.
Take Away: I can be real with God, in fact, I’d better be.

Devotional on Exodus

2014 – Arches National Park, Utah

Simple trust
Exodus 16: Who are we in all this? You haven’t been complaining to us – you’ve been complaining to God!
It’s been two and a half months since the Red Sea parted and they passed through on dry ground. Two and a half months since they saw their enemies drown in the sea and since they celebrated their liberation. Now they’re out in the wilderness. It’s a difficult adjustment for the Israelites. No more comforts of home as they transition to becoming a nomadic culture. Change comes hard. As they long for the meat and bread they ate in Egypt God graciously responds through Moses and Aaron that he will provide for them. These leaders relay God’s message but they also include a word of warning concerning their complaining. This journey is not in their hands. Abraham has been dead for centuries, but they have yet to learn what he learned: the just shall live by faith. The problem with complaining is that it places us outside the life of faith. The God of the Red Sea is the God of the wilderness. He’s also the God of my everyday life. He expects me to place my faith in him in the days of miraculous victory and in the days of the wilderness as well.
Take Away: Complaining and faith are incompatible.