Trouble and anguish have overtaken me,
yet your commandments are my delight.
For the last six weeks a group of friends and I have been studying Psalm 119. There’s a lot of mystery to this Psalm. Who wrote it? What was the author going through? Was it a song, a poem or a prayer?
Two things ring loud and clear to me during my reading: whomever it is continually asks God to teach them, AND no matter the oppression from the “enemy” they continually delight in God’s word. Like, all the time. Day and night. It is their “meditation.” Their “delight.” Other descriptions? They are loved “more than gold, yes than fine gold,” “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” and “sweeter than honey.” The author goes so far to say that they understand more than their teachers and the ancients (elder-of those in authority), because of 2 reasons! “It is my meditation all the day” and because they “keep Your precepts.” Also, their teacher? It’s God (v 102)!! No wonder they are so wise!
And then…I think about our world today….I think about us believers today. So many distractions. So many shiny’s and pretty’s. SO many books…..but wait! They are books with God’s word in them! Now, I like a good book as much as the next person. I love to constantly try to “fix myself” as my husband puts it….oh, Lord he is such a patient man. He detests these books…and even worse when I bring an armload of them in for the kids. Why? Is he legalistic? Is he an atheist? Is he mean?!? NOOO…he simply holds up his Bible and says “This is all I need.” And he believes with his heart that even though HE doesn’t see himself as wise in the word, he believes he has a teacher in God.
So I begin to meditate on this verse from Psalm 119:143. And it takes me back…back to a time nearly 6 years ago. The anniversary is coming up. But this isn’t a happy anniversary. It’s the anniversary that my entire life fell apart…when everything I had ever been taught would be tried in a burning amber fire. When anything that COULD be shaken, WOULD be shaken. It’s the day Our Story began.
As I am meditating on those events, I remember. Holding my Bible close to me, taking it everywhere. Screaming and crying in prayer on cold dirty hospital floors. Endless “Why God?!? Why him?!?” Endless nights with zero sleep……but endless days and nights of reading my Bible. Getting comfort from God. Getting questions answered that only a merciful God would give……
And so, I flash forward to today. To my life. To the distractions. To the days I once agreed with the Psalmist’s observations. To the days when “trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet your commandments are my delight.” And then the tears start again. Only this time they are tears of regret. Wasted time. Wasted energy…..and missing who I once was in that mess. Wondering if the Psalmist felt the same if/when he was delivered from his oppression?