Friday, January 4, 2019

Serving in Leanness of Soul

Occasionally along our pilgrimage of service in sport we find ourselves with very lean souls. Whether due to losing streaks, a rash of injuries, personal failures, fundraising difficulties, strained relationships, or other factors, our souls are dried up and our spirits are numb. The writer of Psalm 130 knew this season of life and wrote about it. It is included in the psalms of ascent to be recited during pilgrimage to Jerusalem for festivals.

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
In this opening stanza the writer directly expresses his heart, “Out of the depths I have cried to you, O LORD.” He feels as if he’s crying out from a bottomless pit of grief and appeals for the Lord to simply hear him.

3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
The writer knows he is unworthy of the Lord’s attention, but appeals to His unfailing love for forgiveness and the privilege of being heard. The Lord’s holiness and forgiveness both inspire a reverential attitude in those who love Him.

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
The psalmist moves immediately to what we in the 21st century find to be the most difficult part of our lives in Christ, waiting. Notice how he waits. His soul waits, that is all of his being. In His word he hopes, as he waits. His soul waits for the Lord, not for a sign or a message, but for the Lord. As watchmen in the final hours before dawn wait for sunrise, so does the psalmist’s soul wait. This hopeful waiting with expectation is giving emphasis by repetition. 

7 O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.
In this last stanza the psalmist turns his introspective heart outward toward his brothers, and he calls them to hope. Hope is found in the Lord’s lovingkindness and abundant redemption. He is confident that the Lord has not abandoned them, that he will restore their freedom and will forgive their shortcomings.

When you find yourself serving with a rather lean soul, please follow the psalmist’s pattern:
·        Cry out to the Lord, appeal to his attentive ears.
·        Acknowledge your brokenness and the Lord’s abundant mercy.
·        Wait. Wait for the Lord. Wait with an expectant soul.

·        Turn your attention to those around you to encourage.

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