When I lack strength, self will and control. The urge to do right has left me and desire to love doesn’t come easily. Once the stuffing has been squeezed from my seams and I’m flat on the floor, does God still care?
It is really easy too feel passionate and enthusiastic in youth. Read a book that makes you think you can change the world. Go to a concert and feel like the country could be different. Throw the bottle away and never leap to the bottom again. For a few weeks it will last. Be assured, boycotting and writing letters can be fun and lobbying parlament is a rush. One can even change the parts which sit in shadowed shame. For a season. Yet the endeavours began in faith fall short. Passion burns to apathy and anger. Goodness is suffocated by sickening sins. As for righteousness? Robbed by so many defeats.
The summer time is usually a significant time for Christian young people. Summer camps and events ignite these kid’s hearts to the things of the Lord, to transform reality. Conferences that say there is no Trans-National so big that it can’t be reached by the cries of the poor. Speakers who like to stand on platforms and say that a life lived in the light of God will count for something.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.So even to old age and gray hairs,O God, do not forsake me,until I proclaim your might to another generation,your power to all those to come.(Psalm 71:17-18)
I’m in Psalms about a month later than I should be. But that’s ok. I’m taking my time to enjoy them. Bible in a year might be done by next Easter.
Psalm 71 is written from the perspective of age. One who has walked with the Lord for many years and has believed and seen God deliver him and protect him. It is the story of a life lived, depending upon the goodness of God’s love. I love the section above, how this man lives to tell the next generation of the power of God.
This Psalm reminds me that faith is not easy. It’s a long and difficult journey over years, each day a fresh cry out to God. Though this old man has seen God’s power and believed in his saving care he still calls out for it.
Your righteousness, O God,
reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you?
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.
Faith is rooted in the memory of all that God has done, yet it’s not enough. It should be. I remember that my chair has supported me thus far and would be shocked if the chair suddenly collapsed under me. Somehow knowing what God has done isn’t enough to secure our trust – otherwise these songs would not have been written. I think we are fragile creatures with souls easily bruised. The baggage of our brokenness comes with us before God.
So, old men write songs of doubt and faith because they don’t know if God will come to the rescue this time. Age recounts the things of God because we must constantly remember, lest we forget the Lord.
It’s funny how even songs of questionable belief can carry the story of God. I know one thing that builds my faith is this: Seeing the successful and great and aged and wise amongst God’s people, kneel before the throne and plead only God. Those who could reasonably trust their success, yet who’s trust and treasure is in God: They are like the writer of this Psalm, who in asking God demonstrate something of his wonder, power and grace.
The strength and passion of youth will one day pass. One day I too hope to kneel before God and still say:
My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long,
for they have been put to shame and disappointed
who sought to do me hurt.