The Shaping Power Of The Psalms

Your testimonies are righteous forever; Give me understanding that I may live.  Psalm 119:144

When are the Psalms normally read?  When someone is hurting.  Whether sickness, betrayal, danger, or the pain of being falsely accused, we can be sure there will be a Psalm that correlates.  But if a Psalm is read-only to gain comfort and validation, we are missing out on a goldmine. 

The honesty of the Psalms has intimidated me.  I have historically been afraid of extreme complaints.  I’m shy of being called a drama queen if I join David in exclaiming that ‘my tears have been my food day and night,’ even if it’s been true.    But I would do well to read the Psalms out loud when I’m in distress to train myself to speak with gut honesty to God.  The Psalms show me how to well order the expressions of travail. 

The Psalms not only encourage me to own my feelings, but they also instruct me on how to think in the midst of them.  They unveil the kinds of things I should praise God for when I need to worship yet don’t feel like it.  

The Psalms challenge me to be balanced.  If I lean toward reading them for intellectual enjoyment, they will challenge me also to have a heart response.  If I lean toward a cathartic release of my heart, they will challenge me to espouse theology and to risk faith beyond tears.  Ever balanced, they instruct me on how to think and how to feel like Jesus. 

Shape my thoughts and free my heart to beat like Yours.  Amen

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