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Deeper Roots + Wider Branches

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Category Archives: Perseverance

To you, O Lord I lift up my soul.

O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.

Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

[Psalm 25:1-3]

Why do I lug around this soul so full of doubt, worry, fear, and rebellion when you invite me to come to you and find rest?

If your yoke is easy and your burden is light, why do I feel so lost tonight?

To you, O Lord I lift up my soul.

Enemies surround me from the outside, and I hate to say it, but they are inside me too.

Trust. I can’t trust myself. But you…My only hope. Trust in you. Though I sit in darkness, I do…

I’ve learned this much. That I can’t do this on my own.

Let me not be put to shame. Complete this work you’ve started in me.

I will wait. Wait for you.

Slowly but surely, you will lead.

Shame will crumble, piece by piece.

Joy has taken root.



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Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. [Psalm 42:5]

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. [Psalm 34:1]

Woke up this morning feeling down about some things, and reminded myself of a few passages that have become anchors for my soul in the past several months. I find the contrast between Psalm 42:5 and Psalm 34:1 to be really helpful.

Psalm 42:5 teaches me that it’s ok to feel down sometimes, and just to acknowledge it. There are days when I just don’t feel happy. There are things I’m sad or anxious about. And that’s ok. I can be honest about these feelings: “Why are you cast down, O my soul,  and why are you in turmoil within me?” This verse also teaches me to preach to myself in these moments: “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him…” This verse speaks to the times when it feels nearly impossible to praise God, while at the same time recognizing that God will bring me through. He is my “salvation and my God”.

Psalm 42:5 seems to address emotions we feel like we can’t control, and pushes us to hope when all hope seems lost. I’ve had times when this is all I can cling to. Psalm 34:1 on the other hand calls me to make a choice to praise God regardless of my circumstances. We have a great example of this in Habbakuk 3:

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. [Habakkuk 3:17-19]

There are times of dissapointment and depression that are like walking on the most miserable winter day with the wind blowing in your face. And God can give us the grace and strength to hold our heads high, to face the chilling winds, and to walk with confidence that God is good, that he will provide for us, and that he will bring us through.

While these 2 truths that I’m talking about might seem sort of contradictory, I’ve come to treasure both of them. I have a God who is my refuge and shelter when all I can do is barely keep my head above water. And this same God is a God who nurtures and sustains me, who little by little nurses me back to health, who actually brings to a point where there are days when I really hurt or am really confused, yet somehow almost take joy in pressing on because I know that God is somehow working for my good and his glory.

 

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[1:1] Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;  [2] but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.  [3] He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3 ESV)

These verses lay out a simple contrast, yet in my mind you probably couldn’t find a better New Year’s Resolution. Plant yourself by the stream this year…come daily to the living water…the Word of God. Drink it in. Savor it. Swish it around. Swallow it. Let it become part of you. Fruit is sure to follow- and not only the kind of fruit that is delicious on great days and sustains you on normal days…but fruit that will help you to survive the worst days. The drought may come, but your “leaf [will] not wither.”

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