Psalm 73, Christ and You – part 2

Posted on December 22, 2008 · Posted in Godward Orientation, Holidays, Parenting

Yet I am always with you;
       you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
       and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
       And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
       but God is the strength of my heart
       and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;
       you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
       I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
       I will tell of all your deeds. Psalm 73:23-28

Being a faithful parent is a consuming vocation. Parenting tends to absorb each part of your day. Even when your children are gone for school or church or to a friend’s house, your mind’s eye pursues them and seeks after them. At night, your ears have an open channel that never turns off, as you listen for signs of sickness or upset, even as you sleep. Add this to the other ongoing aspects of life – work, housekeeping, schedules, etc., and it is easy to be sucked into a swirling vortex of events. In the center of this vortex, having a clear, sharp and intimate view of Christ is not only desirable, it is essential. As we noted in the last post, the psalmist had been distracted and then discouraged by a world that cared little for God and holiness. He had become overwhelmed with the seeming futility of following God. Then he regained his focus, his clarity and his joy as he considered the faithfulness of his God. Today we continue by examining some thoughts from the end of this psalm that point us to the ultimate reality of Christ.

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

Really.

Parents, this is a hard one. Many times parental desires can be summed up under the heading of survival. As in, let me survive today and I’ll think about Christ tomorrow. Right now I would settle for just thirty minutes of quiet, so I can just have time to think. This was the trap the psalmist had fallen into. In the first part of the psalm, Asaph considered everything else but God and his ways. He was weighed down by the arrogance of the world. He caved in to the pressure. He lost sight of his God. But here is the reality that the crush of daily life can take from you—Jesus is right there with you in the middle of the clutter of your life. Desiring Christ in the mess of life is what gives stability to your soul. He has brought together all of the events, frustrations and demands of your life at any particular moment to point you to him. Desiring to know God in these times of turmoil is the saving grace that we all need. Jesus is not like some distant bystander. He is there with you. He is not passively watching, waiting for you to do the next wrong thing. No, he is actively interceding for you and providing ways of escape so that you can endure the temptations you face. Hebrews 2 tells you that these same temptations you struggle with were also experienced by Christ so that he can help you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

You see! Christ does know your struggles as a parent. How kind the Holy Spirit is to include these words of truth in this psalm. How many times have you said or thought these words? Scripture is about reality. These words are not words of condemnation or scorn. The Holy Spirit is not chiding you. Rather he is using the real life experiences of the psalmist to encourage you—to give you hope that God is there to be known and loved right now, in the middle of your life.

 

… but God is the strength of my heart

This is reality, even more so than the sense of exhaustion you have when your role as a parent seems more than you can bear. Jesus is with you to give you strength to do what you cannot accomplish on your own. For example, if you hear your voice beginning to rise in exasperation and frustration, Christ is there to give you strength to speak with pleasant words instead of harsh words. In the last portion of the psalm, God’s reality again becomes clear. God is the strength of your heart.

We will finish this series in the next post. As the 25th of December rushes upon you, remember the words of reality from this psalm. Don’t be overwhelmed by all that you can’t do or would like to do or give or clean. Instead, be overcome by the reality of the presence of Christ who is caring for you—even when he is the last person you are thinking about. Thanks to Heather for sharing her thoughts on these things. We want to hear what you are thinking as well.

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