While in God's Grip!
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power,
your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you;
they sing praises to you,
sing praises to your name.
~ Psalm 66:1 - 4
While the Psalmist tells us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, singing God's name, and giving glory, I am reminded that some days it is just difficult to utter our own name.
Let's face it, there is nothing really written about the hours following Jesus' death, or for the next 48 hours really. That's the thing about scripture, it has been written over many years, by many people, and by many circumstances.
While we are asked to make a joyful noise, there are some days when all we can do is cry.
Sometimes I wish the church talked more about depression, death, and general sadness. I say that because these can be very real circumstances for nearly every person. So often hallways of a church building are filled with, "How are you's?" met by the "I am fine's." How different would these hallways sound if the real truth was being shared?
I wish that scripture recorded just how the Disciples felt after watching Jesus being placed in the tomb. If only the words, "Jesus wept," were met by, "Peter cried out," or "John pounded his fist against his chest, and asked God, 'Why?'"
These would be very real responses, and clearly the reactions we would expect because that's what we would do! It's impossible to really know what the responses were, because we weren't present, but look at your own experiences, and I have a sense that the real emotions and expressions will begin to take shape.
Our ability to make a joyful noise unto the Lord is just sometimes difficult. Does that make us any less a child of God? Not at all. It is probably a clearer understanding of just who God is. Jesus was not always joyful. He did get angry. He did cry. And he did get disappointed, like the time he asked the Disciples to remain awake while he went off to pray, only to return that they had fallen asleep. Imagine the joy he had when awakened in the boat as the waves began to rise, and the Disciples were all afraid they might drown? I don't see the joy of the Lord in those moments!
While I recognize that making a joyful noise may not always be possible, what we do share is important. In the dark times of our life, God wants to hear us. In the heat of the noon day when there isn't a breeze or shade, God wants to hear us. In the emergency room when our loved one has just been told that there is no cure, God wants to hear us. When a 15 year old child is shot for no reason, God wants to hear us.
When we can't make a joyful noise, let us make the noise of what our heart is feeling. Even God wants to hear that!
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, today I want to share the sound of my heart
with You. Thank You for listening. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.