It’s so helpful for me to hear the psalmist describe the simultaneous reality of his darkness and his refuge. In modern Christianity, it can often feel like results are supposed to come instantaneously when we cry out to God for help. That we are in the darkness, we pray that God would take the darkness away, and the darkness is gone! But time and time again, that is not the pattern we see in the Psalms. Yes, the psalmist is praying that God will take away the darkness, but the right now prayer is that God will be his refuge, shelter, and fortress in the midst of the darkness. This is something I can hold on to. This is something that actually gives my soul peace as I deal with my own seasons of darkness.
We need to be very careful here not to try to create a perfect theology about why this is, either trying to get God off the hook or somehow explain this exception in the prayer-formula that we’ve constructed. If you haven’t noticed yet, the Psalms don’t abide by any prayer-formula. We need to not look away and act like these parts of prayer aren’t in Scripture, as if we can sing our favorite worship song loud enough and God will be right there as our waiter holding a silver platter. We need to look toward these deep and sometimes disturbing parts of the Psalms. We will certainly need them. Jesus did.
It is okay to feel small sometimes. We always need to remember we are significant, have value, and are incredibly loved by God. But we can experience those truths while also meditating on how small we truly all in this universe. As already mentioned, this turns us toward God in worship. But it also helps with our daily stressors and anxiety. It’s helpful to zoom out. It helps to know I am part of something way bigger than me. It helps to know that this whole operation doesn’t rise and fall on my shoulders. It helps to know God was on the throne before I was born and he will be on the throne after I am gone. It helps to know that when something feels like the end of the world… it isn’t.
Noah interviews Tyler St. Clair on his church planting journey in the inner city of Detroit, MI. Tyler is the lead pastor of Cornerstone Church Detroit in Detroit, Michigan. He also serves as the network lead for Church in Hard Places in Acts 29’s S. Midwest Network. Tyler talks about dealing with the grind of pastoring and church planting, and the insecurity that most pastors deal with in wanting larger ministries or more recognition. This insecurity is similar to what every person faces in that we all look for something to give us our value, approval, and acceptance…all the things Jesus offers to us in the gospel when we know we our identity as the Father’s beloved sons and daughters.
Episode 22 dives into all the many ways we try to feel whole, valuable, accepted, and loved. Noah leads the way with opening up about some current struggles he is dealing with. This leads to a conversation about what to do with our brokenness and the amazing way God’s love can be experienced in the midst of not knowing how to fix ourselves.
Ep. 21 talks about depression, and depression within the Church specifically. Why we don’t talk about it enough and why we need to talk about it more. And in general, the Church’s hesitation to talk about anything that is vulnerable or deals with our struggles.