To you, O Lord, I lift my soul. To you O God, I place my trust. Do not let me be put to shame! Do not let my enemies triumph over me!
Today seems too much for my narrow shoulders. I cannot bear the weight of shame, of guilt and despair. My responses to those whom I love flare out of my despair and cast ugly shadows.
But your brilliance cannot be overwhelmed, this, I know. And yet, even though I know this to be true, I cannot help myself—I dive into the bitterness so easy to access, so readily available and fed by the bent culture in which I live. It encourages me to focus on, me. It tells me to consume and possess all that I can, all my greedy eyes think will satisfy.
It instructs me in the ways of the sensual, and profane. It convinces me of their benefits and cloaks them in cultural snobbery—persisting in the lie that they will make me feel better, look better, talk better—be better. To be versed in the culturally acceptable will make me feel better about my despair. It will keep the disappointment at bay, and wash over the gauge left by betrayal.
Let it not be!
Take the lies far from me and dump them into the icy northern sea. Your truth eclipses the shadowy rhetoric of culture, and engulfs the lies, the profane and sensual. These, to you, are bent images of what you created. And it is the bent things, offered by The Enemy, that I run to so often to feel better. But refreshment, I know, can only come in the cool peace of your salvation.
In my salvation I have hope. For in salvation you give unlimited peace. You giveyourself, unlimited and free. You lift me up and fill my soul with this goodness—a goodness no disappointment can overwhelm. For light pushes the shadows. The dawn brings the new day and I find your compassions new, again. I am flooded in your faithfulness.
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26, November 2013
Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.