Had an interesting weekend. A new symptom appeared which was quite debilitating and uncomfortable, indeed painful. It meant not being able to go to something I felt God wanted Morag and I to be at on Saturday Morning. However on Saturday Evening I was prayed for in my absence at Struthers Church in Glasgow, unbeknown to me. On Saturday evening the added symptom started to decrease and sometime on the Sunday it left me completely. I was able to go and fellowship with God’s people on Sunday Evening, which had looked beyond the realm of possibility in the 48 hours before. I was still battling with ill health and tiredness as indeed I am today, but made it and was glad that I did, as I heard worship and a sermon that renewed me in faith and hope. I know many of you pray and believe me when I say every prayer genuinely offered matters. From time to time there comes a prayer which tips the balance in a way it would not do if the other prayers had not been prayed.
However none of the above is what I want you not to worry about! This is the thought that may worry you about my spiritual state. Not everything in the psalms is there because it is sound in doctrine or righteous. Everything is there because it is real. It is a book of real worship: all of me to all of God at all moments. The psalms reflect the authentic heart cries of God’s people. Sometimes the cries are godly. Other times the cries reflect attitudes and requests and sentiments that are there in the hearts of God’s people even if they should not be. Sometimes there is a cry of unshakeable faith and assurance, sometimes a description of how that place was reached, and sometimes there are cries which seem to suggest a pilgrimage in another direction, deeper into confusion and pain.
I have a plea to make. Don’t base all your theology or belief in God on one psalm, otherwise by one track theology you will rob many people, including yourself, of finding a voice for this moment, whatever this moment may be. Let me give you an example. To put too much stress say on “He heals me of all my diseases (Psalm 103)” is to ignore the cry of the psalmist when incredible suffering unto death is the living experience, a cry which ends with not much if anything in the way of light. By the way even the author of Psalm 103 died of something. His spirit is with God awaiting the day of “The Kingdom come” in all its fullness along with myriads of waiting saints and watching and wondering angels, that moment when sick unto death bodies will be healed and raised incorruptible. “Oh but Kenny, you cannot base your theology on experience, you must base it on what God’s Word says.” Exactly my point! There are so many helpful voices in the psalms that tell me and you we are not alone, whether on the mountain top or in the valley. One track, one voice theology is by its nature exclusive and tends to invalidate both inconvenient verses and inconvenient experience and fact, and can even label a genuine strong faith in someone as wanting in some way; indeed faith can quite dismissively and disparagingly labelled as unbelief.
I hope you may find your voice in the psalms often, and help others to find theirs.