I pen this post from a hotel room in Austin, Texas after two and a half days of leading an anti-racism training. The weight of the topic of racism is heavy, yet I leave the training feeling hopeful and encouraged by people’s willingness to be courageous and transparent.
On Thursday I left New Orleans in the middle of a physically and emotionally difficult week. It was one of those times when the weight of my own personal pain felt more cumbersome than normal. When I’m feeling overwhelmed in that way Psalm 25 gives me comfort. In the opening lines David declares that his trust is in God. Having that type of confidence in God is what rescues my heart from self-pity and despair.
I am lead to a place of surrender and submission and service to God - to Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel. I rest in the fact that when God makes a promise or covenant he is faithful to keep His promise. Therefore, I can trust Him. God defeated hell, death and the grave for me. I will not be put to shame or left in the hands of my enemy. I shall live and not die.
Three lessons I have learned from Psalm 25
1. It is quite appropriate to cry out to God when we feel distressed. Sometimes the myth of the super Christian women or the strong Black woman eclipses the reality that I can cast my cares on Him. He will not cast me away. I can acknowledge my own will in a given situation. “Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.” “This bitter cup, let it pass from me.”
2. Even strong women and men must learn to voluntarily bend our wills to the Father's will. Not because God’s some kind of control freak. But because God’s will is perfect, our wills are not. God has our best interest at heart. In all honesty, there are times I don’t even know what is in my own best interest. I have made many poor decisions in my life. I have engaged in destructive behaviors that cause pain for me and those I love. What a comfort it is to know that I can submit my will and intentions to the One who knows the end from the beginning.
3. It ain’t about me. When I put my trust in God and experience His peace, then I gain the capacity to look beyond myself and my circumstances and pray for others. David closes Psalm 25 with prayer for Israel, "Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!" A self-absorbed intercessor is an oxymoron. Both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission require the capacity to see beyond ourselves. I get chills when i think about what would happen if every believer in the US would pray for our nation. Scriptures tells me that God is willing to "heal the land" at the humble request of His people. He is the same God yesterday, today, and forever.
What do you need to surrender to God so that you can receive His peace and increase your capacity to pray for others? Who or what is God leading you to pray for today?