Friday, December 3

breakfast blend and the expositor's commentary

"Hope despairs and yet despair hopes," is how Martin Luther summed up Psalm 13. 

I awoke with this question before the Lord, "How long will i have sorrow in my heart?" Not quite remembering it's biblical address, I went searching through my ESV, and found Psalm 13.

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? 
How long will You hide Your face from me? 
How long must I take counsel in my soul 
and have sorrow in my heart all the day? 
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; 
light up my eyes, lest I  sleep the sleep of death, 
lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him," 
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. 

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, 
because He has dealt bountifully with me.

This sums me up perfectly. How long shall I wear this heavy spirit as a garment? How long will I wake up every day, missing Gwen? How long will it take until I am whole, and quietly resting in Your presence with joy? How long will it take before life seems like life again? How long will it take until I can have children again? Light up my eyes, Lord, lest I despair unceasingly and lose hope, and lose myself in depression. Look upon me and answer, O God. I don't want the devil to delight in this, to rejoice over me and say that Death has won. You are greater! Do not allow me to put You to shame by being shaken. "I know whom I have believed," and i trust in You. You will not fail me, or allow Your name to be dishonored. Because I hope in YOU, not in my circumstances or in potential future blessings You may give me, I will rejoice and sing. 

I have many thoughts bouncing around in my brain, but I can't figure out how to organize them neatly, so i will just write them out in no particular sequence:

Random thought #1:
I think that all too often, well meaning Christians give Satan more power than the Lord has allowed him. I've never been one to say that "the devil is tempting/discouraging me," because I usually think that the majority of the time, it's my own sinful nature and desires that do those things (James 1:14). But I do believe that Satan wields death ("The last enemy to be destroyed is death." I Cor. 15:26). But I don't believe Satan can harm believers without God's allowance (Job 1:6, Luke 22:31). I KNOW that God allowed and determined the day of Gwen's death. So i will not say that satan had victory.

And now that you know my foundational beliefs, I will say that I have recognized Satan, Death, and Disbelief as my enemies during this time. And I can pray along with the Psalmist, "Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life;" 

I earnestly desire for God to have an ABOUNDING, undoubtable victory in my and Blair's faith and life. I desire that satan and his minions be put to shame, and disappointed altogether as they wished for us to lose heart, to doubt God's goodness to us, and to abandon the faith. (Praise be to God that He always wins!)

 Random thought #2:
I have more hope than I think people think I have. I just feel the freedom to fully mourn and lament. The Expositor's Commentary says this of Psalm 13:5: 

"Though he has experienced deep despair, the psalmist does not give up. His feet did not slip. He held on to the promise of God's covenant love. He is not overwhelmed by his troubles, but in his depression he says, 'But I trust.' The emphatic 'But I' is a surprising response from the heart of a depressed person. Because life may be so bitter for some, it is only by God's grace that the heart of faith may groan, 'But I.'  "

Random thought #3:
I've felt guilty for being consumed by the loss of Gwendolyn. "Surely I should be giving thanks... I still have a husband who loves me, family, my health, friends, my home and job... I should probably feel a little more grateful. And i'm saved from an eternity in hell." And I've felt guilty for not being as enamored with salvation as I think I should be. 

And I truly am grateful, and in some of my most disheartened moments I've had sweet times of prayer, choosing to list my blessings and thanking Him for them. 

The Expositor's had something to say of this too, speaking of the word "salvation" in verse 5: "The effect of God's love for which the psalmist longs is the experience of salvation. 'Salvation' signifies the whole well-being of God's child. He needs the assurance that God cares, as well as the experience of victory over enemy and adverse circumstances. He also needs the healing in his thoughts of anguish and self-pity. God's 'salvation' takes care of all his needs. He will rejoice in the Lord when God shows his fatherly care. The verb gamal ('deal bountifully with') is fraught with meaning. Yahweh bestows his benefits, not in small measure, but in fullness, so as to give his children the experience of complete and free deliverance." 

And so I will now pray, with freedom from guilt, of God's complete deliverance for us. 

I guess that's all my thoughts for now... that was kindof long.  


  1. I love that Psalm. It's been a close companion of mine as well, through the years. thanks for your thoughts. i'm going to call you today.

  2. That was wonderful! I loved this, "Because I hope in YOU, not in my circumstances or in potential future blessings You may give me, I will rejoice and sing." Am so thankful for how God is truly meeting you where you are. Comforting you in a way that only He can do. Praise God.

  3. Oh, Psalm 13 is one of my favorites!! Well, I guess that shows how I've felt at times during certain trials. BUT, as usual, the psalm shows the distress of the heart and the Heart of Peace.

    Thank for sharing.

    Know you continue to be prayed for soooo often.

  4. This was my favorite post you have written. I see hope and wisdom in these words. God is healing you!! I am so glad I got to hug you yesterday, it's been too long! Come by for an adjustment know since we're right down the street and all :P

  5. Feelings just come. We do not ask for them, and we have no control over their character. We also, often have no control over why they come.

    Your random thought #3,"I've felt guilty for being consumed by the loss of Gwendolyn. "Surely I should be giving thanks... I still have a husband who loves me, family, my health, friends, my home and job... I should probably feel a little more grateful. And i'm saved from an eternity in hell." brought to mind what God has taught me about feelings over time.

    It is not wrong to feel her loss. Feeling the loss is not the same as thanklessness.

    Giving thanks will not eradicate the feelings. Eradicating the feelings cannot be our goal, as much as I am guessing you would like to expunge some of them as they seem to be suffocating. Eradicating feelings is not in my power. But looking at the feelings and seeing them for what they are I can do.

    Feelings are an effect of an event on my life. If I fall down I bleed, if my emotions take a hit, they will respond.

    Feelings also reflect what my operating system still believes. So, I look at them and see if what this belief is is true or not. If not I expose the lie to the truth.

    Being consumed by the loss of Gwendolyn seems a natural result of your loss of her. Your faith is not less because you feel this loss so deeply. She was a good gift and the loss of her is huge! And it hurts.

    Choosing to be thankful in the face of this consuming grief....that is faith. And that Erin is what I read in your blog day in and day out.

    Your loss brings to mind the picture of a burn victim. The body overwhelmed by burns the patient cries out and the healing takes an enormous amount of time and energy to heal. The healing process is exhausting. So too, your heart has been burned and it needs the salve of the love of God, rest and time. God is healing your heart. It is ok to acknowledge how much it hurts for then God can pour out healing oil on you.

    Over time the severe bleeding of the emotions will lessen as God keeps breathing life into you and Blair. The scar of the loss will remain but the all consuming nature of it will dissipate. You are doing just as the Psalmist and patriarchs have done. In the midst of pain you cry out and you cry out and you cry out. That is faith. God will heal and over time new feelings will come.