Christ's Glory, Not Mine

by science fiction author Andrea J. Graham

Humans Make Unsafe Toxic Waste Dumps

You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you. Reproaches have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none,  and for comforters, but I found none.(Psalm 69:19-20 ESV)

God declared King David a man after his own heart. We might expect to find a man full of the fruits of the spirit. Instead we find a man who suffered much hardship, made huge mistakes (Bathsheba, murder .  .  . ) and who left testimony that he suffered great mental anguish, too.

Not only was this epitome of what God is looking for in a man one who struggled with a nasty temper’s lust for vengeance, he admits to being broken to the point of despair, not only to God, but allowed these words out in public so we can be reading text that give us an intimate look into the heart of an imperfect, flawed man who earnestly desired and sought the heart of God.

David’s writings are full of his pain and anger and all the other things men seek to hide. Most of his actual actions and life choices recorded in the scripture are courageous, true to his convictions, merciful, loyal, and he is known for his exuberant and joyful worship before the Lord.

Today, we often fall into the opposite: hiding our “inappropriate” feelings and unpleasant wounds and forcing ourselves to go through the motions of the godly Christian life, with an increasingly fake smile and increasingly justifying acting out in ways that release the internal pressure by making our problem someone else’s also. We may then wonder what is wrong with us, beat ourselves up, stuff that pain down as well, and repeat the cycle.

If this is you today, you can get victory. Take off the mask. Be honest, starting with God, about who you really are and what you really struggle with. Confess the shame, reproach. Perhaps, like David, you won’t find anyone on this Earth who will or can comfort you, but God already knows what the real deal is. He knows the chains restraining you and where you are needy.

After David had finally poured out before the Lord his bag of toxic garbage, God in his grace then granted David a song of praise and a grateful heart that desired to exalt the Lord by giving thanks. He encourages us then in Psalm 69:32-33, “You who seek God, let your hearts revive. For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.”

Forgive us, Father, for the times we’ve struggled to follow you in our own flesh while holding onto toxins that inevitably will spill over onto others. We recognize that we are not fooling you, that you already know the truth of who we are in our hearts better than we. Give us courage to stop simply going through the motions, to be honest before you about how we really feel, and to confess our struggles with sin. We thank you that you will not despise your people for being captive, and we thank you for where you have freed us and will free us. Revive our hearts, oh Lord. Grant us the grace you gave King David, to truly manifest the fruits of the spirit and live victoriously.  In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.