Song 6

sad girl
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/2592180803/">D Sharon Pruitt</a>

Psalm 6

God, don’t take your anger out on me,
Or punish me out of rage.

Take it easy on me,
Can’t you see, I’m dying here!
God, help me get better.
I am sick to the bone,
And I’m totally terrified.
God, how long will this go on?

Save my life, God!
Save me because you love me!
Dead people can’t remember you,
Or give you any commendation.

I’m tired of moaning.
Every night I flood my bed with tears.
Every night I soak my mattress.
I can’t see through the tears,
And I’m weak from stress.

Get away from me, you bastards!
God has heard my crying.
God has heard my prayers.
Now all my enemies will be embarrassed,
And they’ll know what it is to be afraid.
They lose!
Their fortunes turn to ruin on a dime.

Some Bibles add a heading about this being prayer of recovery from illness. But if it’s illness, it’s what in the modern world we have come to identify with severe depression and anxiety.

All of the moaning and crying, and even sickness to the bone, is brought on from worry. Worry about the actions of someone else, about things that are beyond our control – enemies. In the end, it turns to bitterness.

Truly, worry is one of the most paralyzing emotions. Little by little it draws the circle of vision inward and constricts the soul, until there is nothing left but bitterness. The psalmist is right in identifying death as being the ultimate result. If not physical death, spiritual and emotional death. Even God seems far off when we are reduced to worry, and everyone becomes an enemy.

What’s the value of a psalm like this?

Hold it up as a picture of where you don’t want to go. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t let yourself become so obsessed with someone else that you cry yourself to sleep every night, night after night, and waste away day after day. Or if you see yourself in this picture now, get help. Depression is treatable.

Nobody should have to live in this Psalm’s world.

How Rich Is Too Rich?

hummer H2
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tony_axelrod/2814312054/">Anatoli Axelrod</a>

Mark 10:23-27

Looking around to his students, Jesus said, “It will be awfully hard for rich folk to get to the goal.” And this puzzled his students, so he tried again, saying, “Kids, getting to the goal is hard! It’s easier to drive a Hummer through a pinhole that for rich folk to make it to the goal.”

At this they were even more stupefied, and they asked each other, “Will anyone make it?”

And Jesus, looking them over again, said, “For humans it’s impossible. But God can do anything.”

While Jesus admits that it’s possible for the rich to live well, he’s fairly explicit about the difficulty involved. It’ll take a miracle.

But how rich? Where is the cut-off? Isn’t wealth relative? If I’m not Bill Gates, I’m not really rich. But compared to a mother of 8 working in a sweatshop in Taiwan, I am.

I’m guessing the line gets drawn wherever wealth begins to cut you off from caring about and doing for people outside the circle of people who can afford to care about the things you care about. And not just doing for in order to satisfy some minimum qualification for salvation. Not doing for in a patronizing way. Not just a handout.

You’ll know you’ve hit the line when you find yourself making excuses to yourself about why you couldn’t help someone when you know that you could have. You just didn’t want to because it would cost too much.

Harsh.

But Jesus never said it would be easy. It might even take a miracle.