Loneliness / Hope
Scripture: Psalm 22
Family Resources: Each week our team creates great church at home resources for children and youth. You can find this week’s resources here.
Take it Further: “When Knowing Becomes Enough” by Terre Lucas
“What has changed is the psalmist’s experience of suffering, and perhaps that has changed only because he has dared to break the isolation of silence and knows that God has heard.”
—Ellen Davis, Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament
Pastor Wes spoke of the parallels between David’s and Christ’s individual conversations with God and how both men “dared to break the isolation of silence.” At times, in my conversations with God, I have found myself asking him to explain why he refused to honor my prayer and bestowed it to someone in my circle. Those situations left me smiling politely and praising him for that which I so desperately longed. Though I didn’t begrudge their blessing, inside, I was broken. Sometimes worse than the unanswered prayer was the pity from people who knew of my desire. With no ill will, they attempted to soothe my hurt. In those moments, I didn’t want to be seen by man. I wanted to know that God had heard from and would deliver for me.
Sometimes, I’d make my way home and have a gospel dance party. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t that I wanted to praise God. I just didn’t know what else to do; he is, after all, still my God. I would sing, dance, and allow the tears to flow until I was exhausted. In one such instance, I found peace in reading Isaiah 6:1. I curled up on the sofa and imagined myself snuggling onto the train of his robe that fills the temple. There, I released thoughts of what I hadn’t received and rested in his Shekinah glory. Over the years, I’ve done it so often that when I need to, I can mentally escape to some semblance of his temple and my place on his train.
Today, I found another touchstone. Once explained, Anneke Kaai’s painting brought me great comfort. The weight of my questions should take me to my knees; however, sometimes in my humanity I insist on carrying the weight of my burdens, so I only bend. Those times are my loss. Yet even then, through my questions and cries of “Lord-I-believe-but-help-my-unbelief,” I can be sure that God still hears me. The imagery of the ear reminds me of that.
When I was younger, I wore an ear cuff. Once my outfit, hair, and makeup were all on point, it was my ritual to slide the cuff from the tip of my left lobe midway up my ear. That action signaled my readiness to face the day. I think I will look for a new cuff, but not to mark my preparedness. Some situations will occur that will fill me with angst; both God and I know that. Instead, my cuff will be a physical reminder that God, nonetheless, does hear (and love) me—questions and all—and that he is working things out for my good.
Think of a public situation in which you’ve been uncomfortable and received a supportive glance. Now think of a comparable situation in which someone took you aside and offered words of comfort. Which did you prefer? Why?
Just as we all have different love languages, how we want to be affirmed varies. How might you discern whether to offer a supportive glance or words of comfort?
What might your ritual or touchstone be to assure yourself that God hears you?
We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.
*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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