When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Ps. 73:21-26

Dear heavenly Father, the older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate the diversity of voices you’ve included in the Scriptures. There’s no jolt or joy, disappointment or delight, melancholy or mania we’ll experience in life not reflected in the Bible. Today I praise you for writing into Israel’s hymnal a song for those struggling with self-pity and bitterness.

There are times when I forget that I’m living as a fallen man in a fallen world populated exclusively with fallen people. My expectations of others, and you, get hijacked and held hostage by my self-centeredness. When this happens, I become like the psalmist, Asaph—envious, ungrateful, and prickly.

That you tolerate me, in those times of disconnect, is extraordinary. That you still treasure me, when I lose touch with gospel sanity, is astonishing. When I shake my fist at you, your grasp of grace is all the tighter. When it feels like you’ve forgotten about me, you’re actively, quietly guiding my every footstep.

When I act like a spiritual orphan—like you’re not really my caring Father, you remain joyfully resolved to bring me into the full presence of your glory, one day. Such tenacious love melts my icy, pouty heart. Continue to thaw my heart. I’m not just the biggest loser when I pitch my tent in the land of disconnected heart; I’m also a thief—robbing a lot of people who are dear to me.

Refresh my joy, by the riches of grace and work of your Spirit. Don’t let me find any pleasure in licking my wounds, or rehearsing other’s failures, or relishing revenge. By the gospel, render me a gentle, grace-full, grateful man. Life in this world is just too short to waste on being petty and grumpy. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ loving name.

 

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Scotty Smith


Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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